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Quick Takes: Inauguration ratings drop

January 23, 2013

TV viewers had a message for President Obama and his second inauguration: Been there, seen that.

Ratings on the three cable news networks Monday plunged compared with four years ago, when Obama was swept into office on a message of hope and change.

A combined total of 6.7 million viewers watched CNN, Fox News and MSNBC during the half-hour starting at 8:45 a.m. Pacific time, when a reelected Obama took the oath of office and gave his address.

That was a 61% drop compared with the same period in 2009.

But reelected presidents always get fewer people to come out for their second go-round. When George W. Bush was sworn in again in 2005, his TV ratings fell 46% compared with his first inauguration.

—Scott Collins

Dutch art-theft suspects arrested

Romanian authorities have arrested three suspects in last year's multimillion-dollar art heist from a Netherlands art gallery, Dutch police said Tuesday. But the paintings, by artists including Picasso, Matisse and Monet, have not been recovered.

The announcement marked the first breakthrough for police since thieves broke open an emergency exit and swiped the seven pieces on Oct. 16 in a late-night raid at the Kunsthal gallery in Rotterdam.

It was the biggest art theft in more than a decade in the Netherlands. The stolen works have an estimated value of tens of millions of dollars if they were sold at auction, but art experts said that would be impossible following the theft.

—Associated Press

Bacon drama is a ratings hit

Kevin Bacon has given Fox some of its best ratings news in months.

Bacon's gory new serial-killer drama, "The Following," slashed its way to 10.4 million viewers in its Monday premiere, according to Nielsen.

That placed "The Following" solidly among TV's highest-rated new dramas this season.

—Scott Collins

Mystery around national anthem

There's no question Beyoncé's rendition of the national anthem was a roaring success. The mystery: Was it live or lip-synced?

On Tuesday, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Marine Band told news outlets that Beyoncé had lip-synced at President Obama's inauguration. Master Sgt. Kristin duBois said the band was notified at the last minute that Beyoncé would use a pre-recorded voice track.

But by late afternoon, the Marine Corps backed off that statement.

Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Gregory Wolf said that because there was no opportunity for Beyoncé to rehearse with the Marine Band, it was determined that a live performance by the band was ill-advised. Instead they used a pre-recorded track for the band's portion of the song.

"Regarding Ms. Knowles-Carter's vocal performance," Wolf's statement continued, "no one in the Marine Band is in a position to assess whether it was live or pre-recorded."

A representative for Beyoncé did not respond to requests for comment.

All inaugural music is pre-recorded in case weather conditions or other circumstances could interrupt the program.

—Associated Press

'90s pop groups to tour together

Fans of the sweet, R&B-inflected harmonies of '90s boy bands should prepare themselves for a meltdown. New Kids on the Block, Boyz II Men and the newly reunited 98 Degrees announced Tuesday that they were prepping a North American arena tour.

Set to kick off May 31 in Uncasville, Conn., the 28-city trek includes a stop at Staples Center on July 5.

Tickets go on sale Feb. 2.

—Gerrick D. Kennedy

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