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Quick Takes: New at the Huntington

May 16, 2012

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino announced Tuesday that it had acquired a 16th century sculpture titled "St. George and the Dragon," which it was attributing to the Renaissance artist Giovan Angelo del Maino.

The sculpture, which depicts the armored Christian hero on horseback as he attempts to slay a dragon, was acquired earlier this month from a dealer in Paris, according to Catherine Hess, the Huntington's chief curator of European art. The Huntington declined to say how much it paid for the work.

The Huntington said the only other work by Del Maino known to be in the U.S. is a panel depicting the "Massacre of the Innocents" in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

"St. George and the Dragon" is expected to be available for public viewing at the Huntington by the end of June.

—David Ng

A stern rebuke by viewers?

Ratings for Monday's season premiere of "America's Got Talent" plunged compared with last year's, according to Nielsen. The first episode with shock-jock Howard Stern — who took over as a judge for Piers Morgan — slipped by one-third, to 10.3 million total viewers in the early data. Howie Mandel and Sharon Osbourne returned to the judges' table.

That doesn't look great, especially after NBC tirelessly promoted Stern's arrival with ads and more.

But in fairness, NBC decided to open "America's Got Talent" early this year, rather than after the season was officially over. That meant that "AGT" had to slug it out against tough competition, rather than the mix of repeats and weak reality shows it usually has no trouble gliding past. It's likely that "AGT" will build substantially once the summer slowdown occurs.

Still, it's probably not the news that long-suffering NBC — which unveiled its new fall lineup Monday — was hoping for.

—Scott Collins

Record from Joey Ramone

Punk rock has nothing if not a strong sense of the absurd, and Saturday will bring yet another example with the annual birthday bash in New York City honoring punk founding father Joey Ramone. It will include a live performance of a new album by a rocker who's been dead for 11 years.

It's no gag, though. The new album — "… ya know?," scheduled for a May 22 release — consists of tracks left incomplete when Ramone, born Jeffry Hyman, died in 2001 of lymphoma.

Ramone's brother, Mickey Leigh, used demos and other unreleased recordings his brother made and completed the tracks with assistance from various friends and admirers, including Joan Jett, E Street Band guitarist Steve Van Zandt (who wrote the liner notes) and Cheap Trick's Bun E. Carlos

—Randy Lewis

DeGeneres is in funny company

Ellen DeGeneres was named Tuesday to join Richard Pryor, Steve Martin, Whoopi Goldberg, Tina Fey, George Carlin and Will Ferrell in a very exclusive comedy club: recipients of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.

The Emmy-winning host of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" is being honored for her stand-up work, her daytime TV show, her hosting gigs, activism and books.

According to the Kennedy Center, recipients of the prize are "people who have had an impact on American society in ways similar to the distinguished 19th century novelist and essayist Samuel Clemens."

In a statement, DeGeneres said, "It's such an honor to receive the Mark Twain Prize. To get the same award that has been given to people like Bill Cosby, Tina Fey and Will Ferrell, it really makes me wonder … why didn't I get this sooner?"

DeGeneres will receive her award Oct. 22 at a ceremony at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

—Patrick Kevin Day

Ken Burns doc on tap at PBS

A Ken Burns documentary and a British historical drama highlight PBS' fall lineup, announced Tuesday.

"The Dust Bowl," a two-part, four-hour doc by Burns ("The Civil War," "Baseball") on Nov. 18 and 19, chronicles the environmental disaster that devastated the farmlands of the Great Plains and unleashed deadly dust storms in 1930s America.

The season will launch Sept. 30 with the premiere of "Call the Midwife," which depicts midwifery in 1950s London. The six-part series is already a hit in Britain.

Also coming is "Broadway or Bust," a three-part documentary premiering Sept. 9 that tracks competition for the National High School Musical Theatre Awards.

The second season of "Upstairs Downstairs" will launch Oct. 7.

—Greg Braxton

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