Quick Takes

Comic-Con on the run

The costume party that is Comic-Con International just got a major new photo op.

Fans and celebrities will participate in a 136-mile Olympics-style torch run in the days leading to massive San Diego pop-culture expo in July — but of course, instead of torches they'll be holding aloft their lightsabers.

The Course of the Force will begin in Santa Monica and every quarter-mile the ceremonial lightsaber — the trademark weapon for the Jedi Knights of "Star Wars" fame — will be handed off to a new runner who, considering Comic-Con obsessions, may be dressed as a Wookiee, Klingon, Time Lord or Justice League member.

Through sponsorships, the event will raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

—Geoff Boucher

Sold: All Taylor auction items

Paintings, jewelry and fashions belonging to the late Elizabeth Taylor have sold for more than $180 million, with all of the more than 1,800 items on offer snapped up, Christie's auction house said Thursday.

Christie's said 1,817 lots were sold at a series of auctions in New York and London, some at 50 times their pre-sale estimates.

Taylor — whose films included "Cleopatra," "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" and "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" — died in March at 79, and Christie's has been selling her belongings on behalf of the Elizabeth Taylor Trust.

New York sales of jewelry, fashion and memorabilia in December raised more than $156 million, and a sale of 38 paintings in London this week brought in an additional $24.6 million.

"The global outpouring of affection and admiration for Elizabeth Taylor from fans and collectors alike has been amazing for us to witness," said Marc Porter, chairman of Christie's Americas.

—Associated Press

'House' to close doors on Fox

The doctor is out: The long-running drama "House" will end after this season, at least on Fox.

The medical drama, which stars Hugh Laurie, is averaging 9.8 million viewers a week in its eighth season.

In a statement, the producers left open the possibility of the show finding another home, saying they "can never sufficiently express their gratitude to the hundreds of dedicated artists and technicians who have given so generously of their energy and talent to make 'House' the show it has been — and perhaps will continue to be for some time, on one cable network or another."

—Yvonne Villarreal

Broadway star heads to cable

Television giveth and television taketh.

Just as NBC is putting a spotlight on Broadway by making it the setting for the new series "Smash," ABC Family is luring one of theater's brightest musical stars, Sutton Foster.

The Tony Award winner for "Thoroughly Modern Millie" and the current revival of "Anything Goes" will take the leading role in a series for the cable channel that starts filming in spring.

In "Bunheads," Foster will play a Las Vegas showgirl who moves to her new husband's hometown and goes to work in her mother-in-law's dance school.

The executive producer is Amy Sherman-Palladino, the creator of the late "Gilmore Girls."

—Lee Margulies

Springsteen adds two sax men

It takes two men to replace the Big Man.

Bruce Springsteen announced Thursday that two musicians — Jersey Shore sidekick Eddie Manion and Clarence Clemons' nephew Jake — will "share the saxophone role" during the E Street Band's Wrecking Ball world tour, which begins March 18 in Atlanta.

The new "Wrecking Ball" album, which will be released March 6, is Springsteen's 17th and the first since the sudden death of the E Street Band's saxophonist last summer.

Jake Clemons, son of a former Marine Corps band director, began performing with his family as a child. Manion is a saxophonist with Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes and was with the horn section during Springsteen's "Tunnel of Love" tour in 1988.

—Associated Press

Haggard ready to hit the road

Country music veteran Merle Haggard has recovered from his bout with pneumonia and other medical issues and is heading back out on tour.

A string of shows begins Feb. 28 in Tucson and

continues with stops in Southern California the following night at the Grove in Anaheim and March 1 at the Balboa Theatre in San Diego.

The 74-year-old Country Music Hall of Fame member was hospitalized last month in Macon, Ga., where he was treated for double pneumonia as well as for stomach ulcers, esophageal diverticulitis and the removal of eight polyps from his colon. He postponed seven shows.

—Randy Lewis

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