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Quick Takes: 65.6 million watch debate

October 18, 2012

If the TV ratings are any indication, Americans are staying keenly interested in the White House race as election day draws near.

Tuesday night's town-hall debate between President Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney drew a total of 65.6 million viewers, according to Nielsen.

The figure was down only slightly from the 67.2 million who tuned in to the first faceoff between the two candidates this month. And it was higher than the 63.2 million who watched the second debate between Obama and Sen. John McCain four years ago.

Fox News Channel's coverage scored especially high, with 11.1 million viewers, which matched its record numbers for the Joe Biden-Sarah Palin debate in 2008.

The numbers include coverage that aired live on 10 networks as well as delayed telecasts on Spanish-language networks Univision and Telemundo.

—Scott Collins

Puppeteers marshal forces

More than 1,000 puppeteers and public broadcasting supporters have signed on for a march on the National Mall in Washington three days before the election.

The so-called Million Puppet March being planned online is scheduled for Nov. 3. It comes after Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's remarks during a presidential debate calling for the elimination of funding for PBS, which airs the popular children's show "Sesame Street."

Organizers originally called the event a Million Muppet March. But they note that they've changed the name to include sock puppets, hand puppets, marionettes, shadow puppets and mascots.

—Associated Press

No suspects in large art theft

Dutch police said Wednesday they had no suspects in the art heist from the Kunsthal museum in Rotterdam in which thieves made off with seven paintings by Picasso, Matisse and Monet worth millions.

An appeal to witnesses had produced more than a dozen tips for investigators to follow up.

Museum director Emily Ansenk rejected criticism of the museum's safeguards. She defended Kunsthal's security as "state of the art" and noted that insurance companies had agreed to insure the exhibition.

But a museum spokeswoman confirmed Wednesday that stone planter boxes were being installed outside that would prevent cars from driving right up to the emergency exit doors in back, as the thieves apparently did.

—Associated Press

Kutcher tops TV actors in pay

Ashton Kutcher may have stepped into the starring role on "Two and a Half Men" just last year, but his spot on the top-rated CBS sitcom has made him TV's highest-paid actor, according to Forbes magazine, which released its annual list of the highest-paid performers on TV.

Kutcher replaces Charlie Sheen, the previous star

of "Two and a Half Men," who topped Forbes' list last year. The magazine estimates that Kutcher earned $24 million from May 2011 to May 2012.

"House" star Hugh Laurie hung up his stethoscope last year, but he still managed to land at No. 2 on the list with $18 million.

Ray Romano was third at $18 million, followed by Alec Baldwin and Mark Harmon with $15 million apiece.

—Patrick Kevin Day

Lichtenstein work recovered

A Roy Lichtenstein painting has been returned after having gone missing more than 40 years ago.

"Electric Cord," which the American artist created in 1961, mysteriously reappeared in a New York warehouse this summer.

The painting was returned this week to Barbara Bertozzi, the widow of American art dealer Leo Castelli, who reportedly sent the painting out for cleaning in 1970 and never saw it again.

In July, the New York Post and the New York Daily News reported that the painting had been shipped to an Upper East Side warehouse from a gallery in Bogotá, Colombia, apparently for a sale.

—David Ng

Flavor Flav is arrested in Vegas

Entertainer Flavor Flav was arrested Wednesday on felony and misdemeanor charges after arguing with his fiancée and allegedly threatening to attack her teenage son with a knife, Las Vegas police said.

The 53-year-old former rapper, hip-hop and reality television star, whose legal name is William Jonathan Drayton Jr., was taken into custody about 3:30 a.m. at a home several miles southwest of the Las Vegas Strip, Las Vegas police Officer Bill Cassell said.

Patrol officers did not report that anyone was injured.

—Associated Press

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