Quick Takes: Are the Beatles headed to iTunes?

Choruses of "Don't Let Me Download" from the Beatles may finally come to end with the Fab Four's catalog reportedly going up on iTunes shortly.

An agreement for legal downloading of the group's cherished catalog of more than 200 songs recorded from 1962 to '70 is about to be announced by Steve Jobs' Apple Inc., the Beatles' Apple Corps and EMI/Capitol Records, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday, while also cautioning that plans could change at the last minute.

Representatives for EMI/Capitol, surviving Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr and Apple Corps did not respond immediately to requests for comment.

A spokesman for Apple Inc. said the company had no comment on the report. The company is making what it claims will be an "exciting" announcement Tuesday.

A source close to the Beatles' camp told The Times that such an agreement would not be surprising given the recent posting on iTunes of the entire Apple Records catalog of recordings, excluding the Beatles' music. That consists of 15 albums by acts the Beatles signed and recorded in the late 1960s and early '70s after creating their own Apple Records label, among them Badfinger, James Taylor, Mary Hopkin and Jackie Lomax.

—Randy Lewis

Oscars to limit animated films

In what is likely a blow to the people behind this year's populist and successful feature-length animated movies, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said Monday that the animated feature film category will include only three nominees.

The academy has a strange rule when it comes to animated movies. If 16 or more films are submitted over any given year, as was the case last year, then the category will feature five nominees. If there are 15 or fewer, it will showcase only three films.

Fifteen films are eligible for consideration this year, the academy said, and therefore there will be only three nominees.

Among the films fighting for those nominations are "Toy Story 3," "How to Train Your Dragon," "Despicable Me," "Megamind," "Legends of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole" and Disney's upcoming "Tangled."

—Nicole Sperling

Strong ratings for Palin show

Sarah Palin has once again refudiated her detractors. The critics may not have loved her new TLC reality show, but the former Alaska governor proved she is ratings gold.

"Sarah Palin's Alaska" was the most-watched series launch in TLC history, with an average of 5 million viewers tuning in to Sunday's premiere, according to early data from the Nielsen Co. That's not far from the 5.2 million viewers for the Season 2 premiere of MTV's hit "Jersey Shore" this year.

The show — which featured Palin and her family engaged in such outdoorsy pursuits as salmon fishing and rock climbing — was derided by many critics as merely a campaign ad in advance of her presumed 2012 presidential bid.

—Scott Collins

Conlon to stay at L.A. Opera

Conductor James Conlon will be staying on as music director of Los Angeles Opera at least through the end of the 2012-13 season, the company said Monday. His contract was to expire at the end of the 2010-11 season.

Conlon, 60, joined L.A. Opera in fall 2006, succeeding conductor Kent Nagano. He has led 23 operas at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, according to the company.

A native New Yorker and Juilliard alumnus, Conlon spent much of his career in Europe, where he held top positions with the Cologne Opera in Germany and the Opéra National de Paris. He serves as music director of the Ravinia Festival in Chicago and the Cincinnati May Festival in addition to his duties in L.A.

—David Ng

NBC's shakeup on Thursdays

As Comcast gets closer to finalizing an executive structure for NBC, the network has decided to shake up its lineup with a three-hour comedy block Thursday nights.

On Monday, the Peacock network announced several midseason changes, including picking up "30 Rock" for another season and moving it to 10 p.m. to make room for the return of "Parks and Recreation" and the new comedy "Perfect Couples." "The Office" and "Community" will remain in their current time slots, while "Outsourced" will follow "30 Rock" at 10:30 p.m., beginning Jan. 20.

NBC also announced the January premieres of three other new shows: the superhero epic "The Cape," the David E. Kelley legal drama "Harry's Law," and the reality competition "America's Next Great Restaurant."

—Melissa Maerz


Award: Scott Rudin, producer of Oscar winner "No Country for Old Men" along with "The Social Network," "The Truman Show" and "Julie & Julia," will receive a career-achievement prize from the Producers Guild of America at its annual awards ceremony Jan. 22.

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