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Quick Takes: 'Smash' flops in opener

February 07, 2013

It looks like the biggest bombshell to come out of NBC's "Smash" is its ratings.

The behind-the-scenes Broadway drama returned for its sophomore season with a two-hour premiere Tuesday night — and its reception fell way short of a standing ovation, attracting 4.5 million viewers.

That was a 71% dive from its opening last year (when it enjoyed a strong lead-in from "The Voice"). The dip was less drastic — but still significant — when compared with its May season finale, down 39%.

The series underwent a major overhaul following a shaky first season filled with over-the-top side plots and odd singing breaks. Show runner Theresa Rebeck exited and a number of characters were dropped.

—Yvonne Villarreal

$45 million for Picasso portrait

A bidder paid $45 million for a Picasso portrait of his mistress and muse, Marie-Therese Walter, at the opening sale of a series of auctions at Sotheby's in London.

The artwork, "Femme assise pres d'une fenetre," painted in 1932, is of Walter sitting in a black armchair. The painting was last sold in 1997 for $6.8 million.

In 2010, Picasso's "Nude, Green Leaves and Bust," also of the young woman, set a record for the artist by selling for $106.5 million at Christie's in New York.

—David Ng

Earth saved, now on to the Oscars

Members of "The Avengers" cast — including Robert Downey Jr., Samuel L. Jackson, Chris Evans, Jeremy Renner and Mark Ruffalo — will reunite as presenters at the Academy Awards on Feb. 24, the show's producers said Wednesday.

But the super group of actors from last summer's hit film will not be complete. Missing will be Scarlett Johansson, who is busy with her Broadway show "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," and Chris Hemsworth, who stars in the film "Thor: The Dark World," set to come out in November.

—Deborah Netburn

Visual Effects Society likes 'Pi'

"Life of Pi" was the big winner at the 11th Visual Effects Society Awards on Tuesday night at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

"Life of Pi" — which is nominated for 11 Academy Awards, including best film and director — was honored for its overall visual effects, for its animation work with the tiger, and twice for the work that went into the "Storm of God" sequence.

And the film's director, Ang Lee, received the visionary award.

The Disney/Pixar animated film "Brave" also earned four VES honors. Other movie winners included "The Impossible," "The Avengers" and "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey."

—Susan King

CBS eyes third 'NCIS' series

John Corbett is getting into the CBS procedural game. The actor will star in the network's potential "NCIS: Los Angeles" spinoff.

In "NCIS: Red," a team of agents is forced to live and work together as they solve crimes around the country. Corbett's character is the unit's most experienced investigator.

The pilot will air as an episode of "NCIS: Los Angeles" this spring. Should it perform well and get a series order, it would be the third series in the "NCIS" universe.

Corbett, whose recent TV gigs include "Parenthood" and "Unites States of Tara," is best known for his roles in "Northern Exposure," "Sex and the City" and the film "My Big Fat Greek Wedding."

Should "NCIS: Red" get picked up, "NCIS: Los Angeles'" Miguel Ferrer would make the jump and reprise his role as NCIS Assistant Director Owen Granger.

—Yvonne Villarreal

Boy band seeks fame, goes to E!

In its search for hit programming beyond the omnipresent Kardashian clan, E! network continues to poach from the music community — this time with across-the-pond boy band the Wanted.

"The Wanted Life" will document the lives of the English-Irish fivesome as they shack up in the Hollywood Hills.

They're the latest music folk to get a reality series: British pop girl group the Saturdays made their stateside presence known in "Chasing the Saturdays," which premiered last month, and last year's "Married to Jonas" chronicled newlywed life for Kevin Jonas, one-third of the Jonas Brothers.

The half-hour "The Wanted Life," with Ryan Seacrest as an executive producer, is set to open in the U.S. in June.

—Yvonne Villarreal

For iTunes, it's 25 billion sold

The answer to the trivia question will be: "'Monkey Drums (Goskel Vancin Remix)' by Chase Buch."

That's the 25 billionth song purchased on iTunes.

Apple announced the sales milestone in a news release Wednesday.

The company says Phillip Lupke of Germany purchased and downloaded Buch's song and will receive an iTunes gift card worth about $13,500.

—Associated Press

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