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POSTED January 7, 2013 9:48 p.m.

OSCAR HOST SETH MACFARLANE TO ANNOUNCE NOMINATIONS: LOS ANGELES (AP) — For the first time in 40 years, the host of the Academy Awards will help announce the Oscar nominations.

Academy officials say Oscar host Seth MacFarlane will join actress Emma Stone Thursday to reveal the nominees for the 85th annual Academy Awards. This is the first time since 1972 that an Oscar host has participated in the nominations announcement. Charlton Heston was the only other show host to announce Oscar nominees.

MacFarlane and Stone will reveal the contenders early Thursday morning from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' headquarters in Beverly Hills. The Academy Awards will be presented Feb. 24 at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

'DOWNTON' DRAWS RICH AUDIENCE FOR SEASON PREMIERE: NEW YORK (AP) — "Downton Abbey" drew nearly 8 million viewers for Sunday's much-anticipated season premiere.

PBS and WGBH announced Monday that the third-season premiere of the lush British miniseries attracted 7.9 million viewers, according to Nielsen Fast National data.

This audience doubled the viewership of the series' second-season premiere, and it quadrupled PBS' average prime-time audience.

"Downton Abbey" airs on the "Masterpiece Classic" anthology, which is presented on PBS by WGBH Boston. The third season picks up the story of the Crawley family at the end of World War I.

NETFLIX, WARNER BROS. IN LICENSING AGREEMENT: BURBANK  (AP) — Online video company Netflix and Warner Bros. Television Group have signed a licensing deal that gives Netflix members access to prior seasons of certain television shows produced by Warner Bros.

The shows include "Revolution," ''Longmire" and "The Following." The deal includes eight Warner Bros. shows and potential future shows.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

"This unprecedented agreement brings to Netflix members earlier and more exclusively than ever before complete previous seasons of some of the most prominent and successful shows on network and cable television," Ted Sarandos, Netflix Chief Content Officer, said in a statement on Monday.

Last month Netflix Inc. landed the U.S. rights to show Disney movies shortly after they leave theaters. Netflix, based in Los Gatos., has more than 30 million members in 40 countries.

HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL LAUNCHES SERIES OF E-BOOKS: NEW YORK (AP) — The publishing arm of the Harvard Medical School is planning a series of short, original e-books on work, parenting, yoga and how to be a surgeon.

The eight books launched Monday by Harvard Health Publications are part of a new series, "A Harvard Medical School Guide." They will be distributed by RosettaBooks, a digital publisher. The books have a list price of $5.99.

Titles include "Your Brain on Yoga" and "Taming Your Child's Temper Tantrums." Rosetta also publishes books by Kurt Vonnegut, Ray Bradbury and Arthur C. Clarke.


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