Quick Takes: Little Mermaid ride in Anaheim

The idea for a “Little Mermaid” dark ride has been in the so-called blue-sky stages of creative brainstorming at Walt Disney Imagineering since the movie premiered in 1989 — from rough artist sketches to scale-model mock-ups to fully realized concepts.

After 22 years, Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Undersea Adventure will officially open Friday at Disney California Adventure.

“The attraction has been worked on quite a bit since the film came out,” said Lisa Girolami, Imagineering’s senior show producer for the new ride. “We just needed to wait until the technology was able to catch up and really deliver the ride we wanted.”

Over the years, the project went through several iterations, including a version shown in the 2006 DVD release of the movie that featured an overhead ride system similar to Peter Pan’s Flight at Disneyland. Ultimately, Imagineering went with a Haunted Mansion “Doom Buggy"-style ride vehicle.


The 5½-minute ride focuses on Ariel’s journey and features music from the film.

—Brady MacDonald

CBS, ‘Idol’ again top TV ratings

Another television season is in the books for the major broadcast networks, and the results may sound familiar.

CBS finished the 2010-11 season last week as the nation’s most-watched television network for the eighth time in nine years, the Nielsen Co. said Wednesday. Fox won its seventh season in a row among the youthful 18- to 49-year-old demographic closely watched by advertisers.

The country’s favorite TV show was Fox’s “American Idol” for the eighth straight season.

Viewership was down for each of the four biggest broadcast networks, Nielsen said. CBS averaged 11.6 million viewers in prime time (down 2% from last season), Fox had 9.8 million viewers (down 2%), ABC had 8.5 million (down 1%) and NBC had 7 million (down 15%), Nielsen said. Much of NBC’s decline was because the network broadcast the Winter Olympics last season; take away sports and NBC’s prime-time decline was 3%.

—Associated Press


2 opera singers cancel Japan trip

Two of the Metropolitan Opera’s leading performers have pulled out of scheduled performances in Japan this week because of worries about radiation, the New York opera company said.

Russian-born soprano Anna Netrebko and tenor Joseph Calleja canceled their roles in performances in Nagoya and Tokyo after concerns about radiation leaks from a nuclear power plant just 150 miles from Tokyo, caused by the massive March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

But about 350 other company members are in Japan for performances of the “La Boheme,” “Don Carlo” and “Lucia di Lammermoor” beginning Saturday and running until June 19.



Stewie says: ‘Vote for us’

After scoring a surprise nomination for best comedy series in 2009, “Family Guy” continues to aim high at the Emmys.

Although it was nominated three times in the contest for best animated program (2000, 2005, 2006), it lost either to “South Park” or “The Simpsons,” which dominate that race. Because “Family Guy” producers must choose to compete in one matchup or the other, they apparently now believe it’s better to lose in the more prestigious category.


Or maybe they can even win it? The producers haven’t given up the hope of prevailing, and they’re not afraid to nudge voters with a snarky guilt trip.

On the cover of the DVD package shipped to TV academy members as they prepare to submit nominations for this year’s awards is an image of the sassy infant Stewie staring up at an empty trophy case. Underneath is this caption: “It’s been this way for eight years, and it’s starting to hurt morale.”

—Tom O’Neil

U.S. musicians to play in Cuba


In a rare cross-cultural collaboration, two classical-music groups from Cuba and the United States will engage in a multiyear partnership that will include American musicians performing in Havana.

The Florida Orchestra, based in Tampa Bay, said its collaboration with Cuba’s Music Institute of Havana will start in September and is expected to include an ensemble of its principal musicians giving a concert and leading master classes at the Amadeo Roldán Conservatory in Havana.

Organizers said one of their goals is to send the entire Florida Orchestra to Cuba to perform as early as the 2012-13 season.

—David Ng



New stage: Tony Bennett will perform in concert Sept. 18 on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera in New York, his first appearance there. The 84-year-old singer calls it “a dream come true.”