Quick Takes: World Cup match between U.S. and Ghana was the most-watched soccer game in U.S. history

Saturday’s nerve-racking match between the United States and Ghana was the most-watched soccer game in U.S. history, the Nielsen Co. reported Monday.

The game, viewed by 19.4 million viewers on ABC and Univision, topped the Italy vs. Brazil World Cup final in 1994 that was viewed by 18.1 million people on those two networks.

By contrast, Nielsen said, the 2010 NBA Finals averaged 18.1 million viewers per game, and the 2009 World Series averaged 19.1 million per game.

Of the 19.4 million who tuned in to ultimately see the U.S.’ soccer dreams slip away last weekend, 4.5 million watched on Univision — which is on fire during this soccer tournament. Sunday’s Argentina-Mexico match attracted 9.4 million viewers to Univision, making it the most-watched program on Spanish-language television in U.S. history, according to Univision.


—Maria Elena Fernandez

Nicktoons to draw on NFL

The NFL is getting animated.

The league’s players and coaches will lend their voices to a series of short cartoons for Nickelodeon’s Nicktoons channel. The 22 episodes, which will run two to five minutes, will air weekly during the NFL season from September to February.


“Rush Zone: Guardians of the Core” is based on the league’s website for kids. Among the stars set to do voice-overs as themselves are New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning and New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton.

The show is about a 10-year-old boy whose superpowers include the skills of an NFL player. The series will end with a one-hour movie to air the day before the Super Bowl.

—associated press

Carell talks of exiting ‘Office’

Adios, Michael Scott? Could it be true?

Steve Carell, who recently told BBC Radio that he’s leaving “The Office” after next season, confirmed the “decision” to E! News on Sunday night while he made the red-carpet rounds at the premiere of “Despicable Me.”

“I just think it’s time,” the star of the NBC hit told E! Online. “I want to fulfill my contract. When I first signed on I had a contract for seven seasons, and this coming year is my seventh. I just thought it was time for my character to go.”

Of course, this could be a bargaining ploy. (Charlie Sheen, anyone?)


—Maria Elena


Meyer scores a bestseller again

Stephenie Meyer, author of the “Twilight Saga,” has yet another smash hit on her hands.

“The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse Novella” has scored sales of more than 1 million copies in the U.S. since its June 5 release. Publisher Little, Brown Books for Young Readers said Monday it now ranks as the year’s bestselling book so far.

The novella follows the adventures of Bree Tanner, a newborn

vampire introduced in the “Twilight” volume “Eclipse.”

In less than five years, nearly 100 million copies of the “Twilight Saga” books have been sold in nearly 50 countries, said Little, Brown.


—associated press

Mexican singer Vega shot dead

Only hours after denying rumors that he’d been killed, Mexican singer Sergio Vega was fatally shot as he drove to a concert last weekend, the BBC reported.

The 40-year-old singer, known as El Shaka, appeared to be the latest in a string of shootings of musicians who perform narcocorridos, songs celebrating the lives of drug barons, the BBC said, explaining that they often become the targets of rival drug gangs.

Hours before the shooting, Vega told the website La Oreja that reports of his death were incorrect.

“It’s happened to me for years now, someone tells a radio station or a newspaper I’ve been killed, or suffered an accident,” the singer said.

—from a times staff writer


Recovered: A 16th century Caravaggio painting stolen from a museum in Ukraine two years ago was recovered by police as four men tried to sell it in Berlin, German officials said.