Quick Takes: Zac Brown Band is No. 1

Zac Brown Band is No. 1

Country good ol' boys Zac Brown Band and slick pop band Maroon 5 battled for the top spot on this week's pop chart, a bout between two former best new artist Grammy winners. The trophy, in this case, signifies each act's crossover appeal.

With "You Get What You Give," the Zac Brown Band followed its major label breakthrough, 2008's "The Foundation," with a No. 1 album. The Atlantic Records album sold 153,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan, giving the fast-rising country stars their first chart-topper on the pop tally.

For Maroon 5, the news wasn't quite as good. The act's "Hands All Over" landed with significantly less pop than its 2007 effort, "It Won't Be Soon Before Long." The latter bowed with 429,000 copies sold, according to the Billboard archives. By comparison, "Hands All Over" sold 142,000 copies in its first week.

—Todd Martens

TV has more gay characters

With shout-outs to "Modern Family" and "Glee," the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation reports that there are more lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender characters on prime-time television this fall than at the same time last year.

The increase "not only reflects the shift in American culture towards greater awareness and understanding of our community, but also a new industry standard that a growing number of creators and networks are adopting," GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios said in a statement accompanying the group's 15th annual "Where We Are on TV" report.

The report said that LGBT characters will account for 3.9% of 587 characters in 84 scripted series on the broadcast networks this fall, up from 3% last year. For the fifth straight year, ABC had the highest percentage of LGBT characters among the broadcast networks, with 7.2%.

For the first time, the researchers also counted the number of characters with disabilities and found that there were only six.

—From a Los Angeles Times staff writer

Snooki is writing a book — really

Snooki, one of the stars of the MTV reality series "Jersey Shore," will publish a novel, Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Shuster, said Wednesday. In a not-at-all-shocking coincidence of titling and brand recognition, the novel will be called "A Shore Thing."

Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi is not known for her literariness. "She told me she has read only two books in her life, 'Twilight' and 'Dear John,'" Cathy Horyn wrote in the New York Times in July.

"A Shore Thing" is due on shelves in January.

—Carolyn Kellogg

Britney Spears is a draw on 'Glee'

The Britney Spears episode of "Glee" drew 13.1 million viewers and triggered a stream of Twitter congratulations on Wednesday from the former pop princess herself.

Fox said Tuesday night's episode, which featured cover versions of five of Spears' biggest hits and a cameo appearance by the singer, drew the second largest audience in the show's brief history.

"I loved it! Thank you guys SO much for making this happen," Spears, 28, said in a series of tweets to her fans.

By Wednesday, four of the five "Glee" cover versions of Spears music were among the top 10 songs on the iTunes charts.

—Reuters

Keeping Brueghel in public eye

An appeal to keep one of Pieter Brueghel the Younger's finest paintings on public display in Britain was launched on Wednesday, with the Art Fund donating about $790,000 and seeking millions more.

"The Procession to Calvary," painted in 1602, is one of the star attractions at Nostell Priory in Yorkshire, owned by the National Trust since 1954, where it has hung for more than 200 years. But it has been put up for sale, meaning that it may no longer be accessible to the public.

The National Trust and the Art Fund have launched a campaign to raise the $4.3 million needed by Christmas to keep the work off the market.

—Reuters

'The Exorcist' will scare again

"The Exorcist," referred to by many film pundits as the scariest movie ever made, will screen at more than 450 theaters nationwide Thursday night as part of a promotion for next week's Blu-ray release of "The Exorcist Extended Director's Cut."

The in-theater programming, presented by Warner Bros. Home Video and Fathom Productions, will also feature rare on-set footage and interviews with director William Friedkin, writer William Peter Blatty and actress Linda Blair.

Adapted from Blatty's 1971 novel, "The Exorcist" also starred Max von Sydow, Ellen Burstyn and Jason Miller. It earned 10 Academy Award nominations.

Check http://www.FathomEvents.com to find participating theaters.

—Geoff Boucher

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