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Quick Takes: Author wins judgment

February 20, 2013

Patricia Cornwell, the author of the bestselling Kay Scarpetta mystery novels, won a judgment of $50.9 million against her former financial managers in federal court in Boston on Tuesday.

Cornwell accused her former money management firm, Anchin, Block & Anchin LLP, and its former principal, Evan H. Snapper, of negligence in the handling of her finances. She said the firm not only improperly invested $89 million of her money but also made illegal campaign contributions that drew the attention of the FBI, undermined her work and even traumatized her dog.

The managers claimed that it was Cornwell's own extravagance, including leasing expensive private jets, that was to blame.

Cornwell is the author of 20 mystery novels featuring tough medical examiner Kay Scarpetta.

—Carolyn Kellogg

Axelrod to be MSNBC analyst

David Axelrod, former White House advisor and senior strategist for President Obama's 2008 and 2012 election campaigns, is joining MSNBC and NBC News as a senior political analyst.

It marks a return to the world of journalism for the formerly mustachioed politico. He was the City Hall bureau chief at the Chicago Tribune for eight years before launching his own media and political consulting firm.

Axelrod will be joining his counterpart from the 2008 McCain campaign, Steve Schmidt, also an analyst at MSNBC.

—Meredith Blake

Scorsese's role: honored lecturer

Martin Scorsese, the director of such acclaimed films as "Taxi Driver," "Raging Bull" and "GoodFellas," has been named the 42nd Jefferson Lecturer in the Humanities.

The annual lecture, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities, is considered the most prestigious honor the federal government can bestow for distinguished intellectual achievement in the humanities.

Scorsese is the first filmmaker to deliver the Jefferson Lecture, which he will do on April 1 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington.

"Martin Scorsese is a scholar of, advocate for, and icon of American cinema," NEH Chairman Jim Leach said in a statement Tuesday. "He is the first filmmaker designated as a Jefferson Lecturer, but he follows in the tradition of earlier speakers like John Updike, Barbara Tuchman and Arthur Miller in revealing a profound understanding and empathy for the human condition."

—Susan King

'Downton' finale attracts a crowd

It may have been dark, but viewers didn't seem to mind: PBS' monster hit "Downton Abbey" ended its third season with another ratings surge.

An average of 8.2 million people tuned in to Sunday's season finale of the British period drama, according to Nielsen. That was up 52% compared with the Season 2 closer. The premiere earlier this season drew 7.9 million.

American fans were dreading the finale, due not only to their love for the show but also to the fact that it marked the end of Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens), the popular scion of "Downton." Crawley's departure from the show — first revealed during the telecast in the United Kingdom late last year — was one of TV's worst-kept secrets due to rampant Internet spoilers.

But Crawley's demise seems to have only deepened fascination for "Downton," which during Season 3 quadrupled the typical prime-time average for PBS.

In fact, "Downton" is more popular than many entertainment series on commercial broadcasters. The finale drew more viewers than the previous week's episodes of "Scandal" (8.1 million), "The Bachelor" (7.9 million), "Chicago Fire" (6.6 million) and "Glee" (6 million).

—Scott Collins

'Les Miz' to play on Broadway

Someone is dreaming the dream: "Les Misérables" is coming back to Broadway.

Producer Cameron Mackintosh said Tuesday that the national tour of the epic musical about life in 19th century France will make a stop on Broadway in March 2014 at a Shubert theater.

The move comes on the heels of the Oscar-nominated big-screen adaptation directed by Tom Hooper and starring Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway.

It will mark the third time the show has made it to Broadway. The original landed in 1987 and played 6,680 performances, ranking as the third-longest-running musical in Broadway history. A revival was mounted in 2006 but closed in 2008.

The national tour, which is currently in North Charleston, S.C., was launched in November 2010 and has already played 64 cities throughout North America, grossing more than $130 million.

—Associated Press

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