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Quick Takes

March 01, 2013

Spielberg on Cannes jury

Steven Spielberg will head the jury at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, slated for May 15-26.

In announcing the selection, festival President Gilles Jacob said the 66-year-old filmmaker is a "Cannes regular," noting that several of his 27 films, including "E.T.," "Sugarland Express" and "The Color Purple," screened at the festival.

Said Spielberg: "For over six decades, Cannes has served as a platform for extraordinary films to be discovered and introduced to the world for the first time. It is an honor and a privilege to preside over the jury of a festival that proves, again and again, that cinema is the language of the world."

A number of Americans have presided over the jury in recent years, including Robert De Niro (2011), Tim Burton (2010) and Sean Penn (2008). Last year's president was Italian director Nanni Moretti.

—Julie Makinen

Talented? Go online, prove it

Simon Cowell has taken over television screens and radio airwaves around the world. Now he's taking aim at the Internet.

Cowell's Syco Entertainment empire and YouTube announced Thursday that they are launching "The You Generation," a global online talent contest that is seeking entries from people with "unconventional and original talents" — including musicians, photographers, makeup artists, magicians and chefs.

Syco says the contest, which starts next month and is due to run for a year, will seek auditions in a different category of talent every two weeks. Entrants can upload their pieces on a dedicated YouTube channel, to be viewed by the public and judged by professionals associated with Syco.

There will be prizes — exactly what they are has yet to be announced — every fortnight and a grand prize at the end of the year.

—Associated Press

A new show runner on 'Dead'

There will, indeed, be a new governor in town on the set of "The Walking Dead." AMC finally confirmed that Scott M. Gimple will take over as show runner and executive producer for the series' fourth season.

Gimple, who has been on the show's writing staff since the second season, replaces Glen Mazzara — and marks the show's third show runner in its four-season run. Mazzara had replaced Frank Darabont after he left early in the second season.

Despite the turnover, fervor for the zombie drama has not died down. It's midseason finale in December brought in more than 10.5 million viewers. And its return last month brought in 12.3 million viewers.

Production on the new season will begin May 6, with the 16-episode season set to roll out in October.

—Yvonne Villarreal

'Wicked' actress in new show

Idina Menzel, who won a Tony Award as the green witch in "Wicked," is planning a return to Broadway.

Producers of a new musical by the creators of the Pulitzer Prize-winning "Next to Normal" announced Thursday that Menzel will star in their "I/Then," a Broadway-bound musical that first makes a stop in November at the National Theatre in Washington.

Producers said the show is about "how choice and chance collide and how we learn to love the fallout."

—Associated Press

'Duck' sitting on A&E top perch

The Season 3 premiere of "Duck Dynasty," A&E's reality-comedy series about an offbeat Louisiana bayou family that runs a duck-calling business, scored 8.6 million viewers, making it the top-rated broadcast in the cable network's history.

The back-to-back episodes airing Wednesday made "Duck Dynasty" the top-rated nonfiction series on cable this year.

Some of the attention surrounding the series' return could be attributed to the family's appearance this week on "Jimmy Kimmel Live."

Rock singer Morrissey, who is a vegetarian, canceled his appearance on the same show, saying he could not appear alongside people he considers "animal serial killers."

—Greg Braxton

A gay-marriage book deal

The bipartisan legal team leading the fight for gay marriage has a book deal.

Democrat David Boies and Republican Theodore B. Olson have signed with Viking for "A Just Cause: Law, Love, and the Case for Marriage Equality."

The book is scheduled for mid-2014.

Boies and Olson represent the challengers to Proposition 8, approved by California voters in 2008. The ballot initiative overturned a state Supreme Court decision allowing gay marriage. The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in the California case on March 26.

—Associated Press

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