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Quick Takes: 'X Factor's ratings fall

September 14, 2012

Simon Cowell's "The X Factor" has a problem, and it has nothing to do with new judges Britney Spears or Demi Lovato. It's those ratings.

The singing show on Fox premiered its second season on Wednesday to shockingly low numbers compared with last year — which was itself considered a ratings disappointment.

The two-hour extravaganza averaged 8.5 million viewers, swooning 32% compared with last fall's series premiere.

And that's not all. In head-to-head competition during the 8 p.m. hour, Fox lost — in both total viewers and the key 18-to-49 demographic — to NBC's rival singing contest "The Voice" (10.7 million).

—Scott Collins

'60 Minutes' to add sports show

"60 Minutes" is headed to Showtime.

CBS News said the team behind the venerable newsmagazine is teaming up with Showtime to produce a monthly program that will go behind the headlines to probe the big stories of the sports world. Called "60 Minutes of Sports," it will premiere in November.

CBS said each episode will have two original pieces and one updated "60 Minutes" story that is sports-related. The show will also feature an interview with a sports newsmaker, either from the field or the executive suite. Showtime is a unit of CBS Corp.

—Joe Flint

Juilliard plans to honor Hamlisch

The Juilliard School in New York is planning a star-filled private musical tribute to Marvin Hamlisch that will include Barbra Streisand, Aretha Franklin and Liza Minnelli.

The composer, who became the youngest person accepted by Juilliard at age 7, died Aug. 6 in Los Angeles. The memorial will be held Tuesday night at the school's Peter Jay Sharp Theater.

Hamlisch composed or arranged hundreds of scores for musicals and movies, including "A Chorus Line" on Broadway and the films "The Sting," "Sophie's Choice" and "The Way We Were."

Others slated to perform include Itzhak Perlman, Michael Feinstein, Chris Botti, Maria Friedman, Brian d'Arcy James and Carter Brey.

—Associated Press

Banging conga for Sánchez

Poncho Sánchez, the master conguero, band leader and salsa singer from Southern California, will be among those honored with lifetime achievement awards by the Latin Recording Academy during the week leading up to the Latin Grammy Awards in November.

Sánchez, a beloved and ubiquitous figure on the L.A. jazz and Latin music scene for decades, will be joined at the Nov. 14 ceremony at the Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas by Luz Casal, the Spanish singer-songwriter; Argentine singer-songwriter Leo Dan; Rita Moreno, the legendary Puerto Rican-born singer, dancer and actor; Milton Nascimento, one of the founding fathers of contemporary Brazilian popular music; Daniela Romo, the Mexico-born singer-actress; and Brazilian composer-singer-guitarist Toquinho.

Two other artists will receive the Latin academy's Trustees Award: Spanish flamenco guitarist Juan Carmona "Habichuela" and Yomo Toro, the Puerto Rican-born "King of the Cuatro."

—Reed Johnson

Washington Opera hire

The Washington National Opera has named Francesca Zambello as its permanent artistic director beginning in 2013, as the company continues to shift to new leadership following 15 years under famed tenor Plácido Domingo.

Zambello's new role was announced Thursday. Last year, she was appointed artistic advisor as Domingo was stepping down as director.

Zambello, 56, also is director of the Glimmerglass Festival in New York and is a respected director in musical theater.

—Associated Press


On the air: The opening night of Los Angeles Opera's 2012-13 season, a production of "The Two Foscari" starring Plácido Domingo, will be broadcast live on KUSC-FM (91.5) Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Renewed: Showtime has ordered a third season of "Episodes," the satire about the inner workings of Hollywood, featuring Matt LeBlanc playing a parody of himself.

Book deal: Grammy-winning musician Carlos Santana is writing a memoir that Little, Brown & Co. plans to publish in 2014.

Cameras roll: Production is scheduled to begin Saturday on "RoboCop," a remake of the 1987 film, with Joel Kinnaman starring. It's due for release next summer.

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