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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Paula, we hardly miss ye

Abdul
Abdul
From Wire Reports

Paula who?

Despite losing judge Paula Abdul, “American Idol” started its ninth season with an audience of nearly 30 million people.

Tuesday’s viewership of 29.9 million is about 2 percent lower than last year’s season debut audience, according to preliminary Nielsen figures.

By comparison, the 2009 debut episode saw a 10 percent drop compared to 2008.

It’s an indication that “Idol” can capitalize on cast changes like Abdul’s to resist potential viewer boredom as it ages.

That will be further tested when judge Simon Cowell leaves after this season to launch another Fox talent contest, “The X Factor,” next year.

Shaken celebrities

Oprah Winfrey, Paris Hilton and Ben Stiller are among the celebrities and artists urging support for survivors of the earthquake in Haiti.

Stiller tweeted late Tuesday that “people in Haiti need our help and attention right now.”

Similar tweets are showing up from the likes of Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and Adam Lambert.

Singer Wyclef Jean has been tweeting about the earthquake and arrived in Haiti, his native country, on Wednesday.

Winfrey began her talk show Wednesday by asking viewers to donate to the Red Cross.

Hall conquers cancer

“Dexter” star Michael C. Hall says he was diagnosed with cancer and is successfully completing treatment.

Hall, 38, said he was fortunate to be diagnosed with a “treatable and curable condition,” Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The birthday bunch

“60 Minutes” commentator Andy Rooney is 91. Singer Jack Jones is 72. Actress Faye Dunaway is 69. Actress Holland Taylor is 67. Singer-producer T-Bone Burnett is 62. Actress Emily Watson is 43. Rapper LL Cool J is 42. Actor Jason Bateman is 41. Musician Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters) is 41.

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