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Quick Takes: Games Vie with Debate

October 24, 2012

Americans are still interested in the White House race, but maybe a little less so if it interrupts their favorite sports.

Monday's third and final debate between President Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney drew a total of 59.2 million viewers across 11 networks, according to Nielsen.

That was down sharply from the 65.6 million who tuned in for the second debate on Oct. 16, and the 67.2 million who watched the first meet-up back on Oct. 3.

But this week the debate faced competition from two popular sports telecasts. ESPN's "Monday Night Football," featuring the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions, averaged 10.7 million viewers, deeply cutting into the debate's audience. And Game 7 of the National League Championship Series, with the San Francisco Giants moving past the St. Louis Cardinals to grab a World Series spot, drew 8.1 million.

The most-watched network for the debate was NBC, with 12.4 million viewers. Fox News, which came in third with 11.5 million, hit a record for its most-watched scheduled telecast ever.

—Scott Collins

'Mormon's' big week at Pantages

Mormons in Africa apparently have elbowed aside witches in Oz to achieve what the Pantages Theatre says is the highest one-week box-office gross in Los Angeles theater history.

"The Book of Mormon" raked in $2,246,093 for the week ending Sunday, the Pantages said Tuesday, but a theater spokesman declined to say what the previous record had been, citing a policy against doing so.

A Web search turned up an announcement by the producers of "Wicked" that it had taken in a Pantages record of $1,949,068 during the final week of 2008 to wrap up its nearly two-year run at the 2,703-seat Hollywood theater. That would come to $2.18 million in today's dollars, so "The Book of Mormon" appears to be the new house champ even with the playing field leveled.

—Mike Boehm

'Informationist' rights to director

James Cameron has begun to think about life after his two "Avatar" sequels — and it includes making a movie from a female-driven novel called "The Informationist."

Cameron's production company, Lightstorm Entertainment, has optioned the rights to the debut book by Taylor Stevens, with plans for Cameron to direct it for 20th Century Fox, Lightstorm said Tuesday.

A thriller set in Africa, "The Informationist" follows Vanessa Munroe, a researcher hired to help find the missing daughter of a Texas oil billionaire. The book is the first in a planned seven-part series, and critics have compared its lead character with another hyper-capable heroine, Lisbeth Salander of Stieg Larsson's "Millennium" series.

—Rebecca Keegan

Prince at Bond film premiere

The latest James Bond movie got its world premiere in London on Tuesday, with Prince Charles on hand to give it a royal seal of approval.

Daniel Craig was the first of the film's stars to arrive at the screening at the Royal Albert Hall in central London, where he was joined by costars Judi Dench, Javier Bardem and Naomie Harris.

"Skyfall" is the 23rd official Bond film, and Craig's third outing as the suave superspy. It opens in Britain on Friday and in the U.S. on Nov. 9.

—Associated Press

L.A. playwrights among winners

Four playwrights are among this year's 10 winners of the Whiting Writers' Awards, which honor writers in various fields.

The playwrights are Danai Gurira and Meg Miroshnik, who live in Los Angeles, and Samuel D. Hunter and Mona Mansour, who reside in New York.

Each recipient receives $50,000. The awards are organized by the Whiting Foundation and are intended to recognize writers who have yet to achieve prominence in their fields.

This year's winners include poets Ciaran Berry and Atsuro Riley; fiction writers Alan Heathcock, Hanna Pylväinen and Anthony Marra; and nonfiction writer Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts.

—David Ng

Hollywood High salutes Burnett

Carol Burnett is being honored by her alma mater.

Hollywood High School's Performing Arts Center announced Tuesday that it is naming an annual award after Burnett and said that the 79-year-old entertainer will be its first recipient.

She will receive the Carol Burnett Honor of Distinction Award on Jan. 10.

Burnett graduated in 1951. Other famous alumni of the Sunset Boulevard campus include Judy Garland, Cher, Laurence Fishburne, John Ritter and Mickey Rooney.

—Associated Press


Pickups: CBS has given full season orders to two of its freshman series, "Vegas" and "Elementary."

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