Quick Takes: TV political ads hit high

Television viewers were probably exposed to more political ads last month than ever before.

The Nielsen Co. said Friday that nearly 1.48 million political ads aired on local broadcast stations in October. That's more than any other month since Nielsen began collecting that data in 2000.

Nielsen spokesman Aaron Lewis said the company is confident that there was no bigger number before that. The previous high was 1.41 million ads in October 2008, a presidential election year.

The actual number of televised ads was higher. Nielsen's count takes in 707 broadcast stations across the country, but does not include cable networks.

—Associated Press

'Spider-Man' staging delayed

In another setback for a production that has been plagued with delays and spiraling costs, the organizers of the Broadway musical "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" said that the official opening has been pushed back to Jan. 11 from a previously scheduled opening of Dec. 21.

"Spider-Man" is now set to begin preview performances at the Foxwoods Theatre in New York on Nov. 28, pushed back from Nov. 11.

The musical, whose budget is estimated to be well above $55 million, has seen opening dates come and go. At one point, it was supposed to open Feb. 18, but budgetary issues and other problems forced the production to be postponed.

—David Ng

Knight to appeal lawsuit verdict

The attorney for Marion "Suge" Knight said Friday that the rap mogul plans to appeal a judge's decision that dismissed his lawsuit against Kanye West.

Knight was shot in the leg in 2005 at a Miami Beach party hosted by West, and Knight blames West for lax security. His lawsuit is seeking more than $1 million in damages from West.

The shooter has never been identified.

Knight's attorney, Mark Brumer, said Friday his client was disappointed in the judge's decision. In Thursday's order, the judge concluded there's no evidence that a shooting at the party was foreseeable.

—Associated Press

Sony unveils clip of Jackson single

Sony Music on Friday released a brief "teaser" of a new Michael Jackson single and insisted that the vocals on an upcoming new album were genuinely those of the late "Thriller" singer.

But controversy over the December album release of "Michael" was stoked by a representative of Jackson's father, Joe, who said the perfectionist performer would never have wanted his unfinished material to be released.

"Michael" is the latest commercial venture by Jackson's official estate and the first album of new material from the singer since his "Invincible" album in 2001.

"If Michael had wanted this music released he would have done so before his death," Brian Oxman, a lawyer for Joe Jackson, said in a statement Friday. "The songs which are being released on the new Michael Jackson album were unfinished and incomplete tracks that Michael said over and over many times he never wanted released. We should honor Michael Jackson's wishes."

Earlier this week, celebrity website TMZ.com said that Jackson's mother, Katherine, and his two eldest children, Prince and Paris, believe that the voice on some of the album tracks is not Michael's.

But a spokeswoman for Sony's Epic Records said Friday that the label has "complete confidence in the results of our extensive research as well as the accounts of those who were in the studio with Michael that the vocals on the new album are his own."


Merle Haggard hits the road

After canceling a string of scheduled performances in September and October because of health issues, Merle Haggard has gone back on the road this week, his spokeswoman said.

First a chest infection forced him to bow out of a chunk of shows he was set to play in September, then last month he missed an appearance with Kris Kristofferson at Neil Young's annual Bridge School benefit in Northern California because his blood pressure needed to be stabilized.

Haggard is due in Washington, D.C., next month as one of five 2010 recipients of the annual Kennedy Center Honors.

—Randy Lewis

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