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Quick Takes: Standoff draws viewers

February 14, 2013

Live coverage of the Big Bear standoff on Tuesday turned into a ratings monster, with Los Angeles TV stations at least doubling their usual viewership.

A total of more than 2 million Los Angeles-area viewers were watching 5 p.m. newscasts across the five major local outlets, hours after the man believed to be former cop Christopher Dorner had traded gunfire with police at a cabin near Big Bear (the stations started their live coverage around 1 p.m.).

KABC-TV Channel 7 led the way, with 708,000 viewers, followed by KCBS-TV Channel 2 (680,000 with a KCAL-TV Channel 9 simulcast), KTLA-TV Channel 5 (259,000), KNBC-TV Channel 4 (221,000) and KTTV-TV Channel 11 (169,000). KCBS said it was the station's highest-rated 5 p.m. newscast since at least 2004 and was nearly five times the previous average so far this month.

When local outlets later cut away for live network coverage of President Obama's State of the Union address, viewership fell considerably.

—Scott Collins

New covers for Potter novels

Harry Potter is getting a makeover — no magic wand necessary.

A new cover for "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" was unveiled Wednesday, the first of seven new Harry Potter book covers on the way.

They will appear on the U.S. paperback edition beginning in September, timed to coincide with the 15th anniversary of the U.S. publication of the first in J.K. Rowling's mega-successful series.

The artist behind the new covers is Kazu Kibuishi of Alhambra, known for the graphic novel series "Amulet." Each of the seven covers will pluck a memorable moment from the book.

—Rene Lynch

Eric Church gets 7 ACM nods

Lionize your rock and country heroes in songs and good things will follow: It worked for Taylor Swift, who launched her career six years ago with her single "Tim McGraw," and it worked for Eric Church, who leads the 48th Academy of Country Music Awards nominations with seven, including his single saluting the Boss, "Springsteen."

The hit track, which recently scored Church a pair of Grammy nominations, earned Church ACM nods both as the single record and song of the year. He's also vying for album of the year with "Chief," which contains that single, as well as male vocalist, video and vocal event of the year.

Close on the Granite Falls, N.C., singer and songwriter's heels is fast-rising Louisiana-bred musician Hunter Hayes, who collected six nominations Wednesday, including song and single for his ballad "Wanted" and new male vocalist.

Miranda Lambert and Swift each got five nominations, pitting them against one another in the top category of entertainer of the year, a distinction Swift has taken home three times, including the last two years in a row. Also up for the entertainer trophy are Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton.

Other album of the year nominees are Carrie Underwood's "Blown Away," Swift's "Red," Luke Bryan's "Tailgates & Tanlines" and Little Big Town's "Tornado."

The ACM Awards will be announced April 7 in a ceremony to be held at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and broadcast on CBS.

—Randy Lewis

SXSW finalizes its film lineup

"The East," an eco-thriller from director Zal Batmanglij, will be the closing night film of the South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival, organizers announced Wednesday.

Batmanglij and star Brit Marling co-wrote the spy drama, which collected strong reviews at its Sundance Film Festival premiere last month.

SXSW, which will screen 133 features, also announced 14 more films to complete its lineup, including "In Your Dreams — Stevie Nicks," a documentary co-directed by the Fleetwood Mac singer and Dave Stewart, half of the British rock duo Eurythmics; "At Any Price," Ramin Bahrani's family drama starring Dennis Quaid and Zac Efron; and "Xmas Without China," Alicia Dwyer's documentary comedy about consumerism.

The 2013 SXSW Film Conference and Festival is set for March 8-16 in Austin, Texas.

—Rebecca Keegan


Heading west: The NPR newsmagazine "Weekend All Things Considered" will be moving its base of operations this summer from Washington, D.C., to NPR West, the radio network's studios in Culver City.

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