Quick Takes: An ‘Extreme Makeover’ salute to military families


“Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” will honor military families in a Veterans Day fundraising special featuring stars who include Jewel, Whoopi Goldberg and Robin Williams. The hourlong ABC special, airing at 8 p.m. on Nov. 11, will focus on issues faced by veterans and highlight the skills they can bring to the workforce and their communities, ABC and the charitable Entertainment Industry Foundation said Wednesday.

Jewel, who is cohosting the special with Ty Pennington of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” also will sing.

Celebrities scheduled to take part include George Lopez, J.R. Martinez, Rachael Ray, Sherri Shepherd and Major League Baseball players Daniel Murphy, Shane Victorino and Clay Buchholz.


—Associated Press

A second season for ‘X Factor’

Mike Darnell, president of alternative entertainment for Fox, called the decision a “no-brainer”: The network has picked up “The X Factor” for a second season.

Although not the ratings goliath that many expected — and that Simon Cowell, the show’s creator, predicted — the singing contest has emerged as the top reality show this fall and has transformed Fox’s pros-

pects during the early season, when it has usually had trouble getting started. It’s also managed to hold on to its audience despite numerous interruptions for post-season baseball.

—Scott Collins

NPR’s Cornish gets ‘Things’ gig

“Weekend Edition Sunday” host Audie Cornish has been assigned to cohost the popular weekday show “All Things Considered” when Michele Norris temporarily steps down, National Public Radio said Wednesday.

Cornish will join the weekday show for one year beginning in January. Norris recently stepped down because her husband has joined President Obama’s reelection campaign as a senior advisor.

Cornish was named host of “Weekend Edition Sunday” this year. Previously she covered Capitol Hill and the 2008 presidential campaign. She will cohost “All Things Considered” with Melissa Block and Robert Siegel.


—Associated Press

Lady Gaga steps up anti-bullying

Pop star Lady Gaga stepped up her battle against bullying Wednesday, announcing the creation of a new foundation aimed at empowering youth.

In a statement, Lady Gaga called the Born This Way Foundation a “passion project” that she will direct with her mother, Cynthia Germanotta.

The nonprofit charity — named for a hit Lady Gaga song — will support programs and initiatives that empower youth “by addressing issues like self-confidence, well-being, anti-bullying, mentoring and career development and will utilize digital mobilization as one of the means to create positive change,” the statement said.

The John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the California Endowment and the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University are also part of the effort, which officially will launch next year.


An art slump at Christie’s event

Christie’s International posted its lowest sales total in two years for Impressionist and modern art in New York as buyers shunned works by Degas and Picasso amid tumbling financial markets.

Christie’s sold $140.8 million worth of works Tuesday night. The auction house had estimated the evening would fetch between $211.9 million and $304.4 million.

The biggest casualty was Edgar Degas’ bronze sculpture of a teenage ballerina, “Petite danseuse de quatorze ans,” which was estimated to bring as much as $35 million but didn’t sell. A 1935 portrait of Pablo Picasso’s lover Marie-Therese Walter, estimated to fetch $12 million to $18 million, drew no bids. An Henri Matisse painting of a woman in a purple robe from the estate of Hollywood talent agent Lew Wasserman and his wife, Edie, also failed to sell.

The most expensive sale of the evening was “The Stolen Mirror,” a Surrealist 1941 painting by Max Ernst that fetched $16.3 million, more than double its presale high estimate of $6 million.

—Bloomberg News

Teacher’s novel a French winner

A high school teacher won France’s top literary prize Wednesday for his first novel, which deals with France’s colonial wars in Algeria and Southeast Asia.

The Prix Goncourt was awarded to Alexis Jenni for “L’Art francais de la Guerre” ( “The French Art of War”). Jenni teaches biology at a high school in the French city of Lyon.

The prize comes with only a $13 purse but guarantees acclaim and significant sales. Past recipients have included Marcel Proust and Simone de Beauvoir.

—Associated Press