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Kenan Thompson leaving 'Saturday Night Live'? Not so fast

Is "Saturday Night Live" about to lose Kenan Thompson? 

TMZ is reporting that Thompson will be leaving the long-running late-night show at the end of this season to pursue other opportunities in television. 

A repertory player since 2003, Thompson is the most senior of the four African American cast members currently at "SNL," which has weathered criticism for its lack of diversity. Before that, he was best known as one of the stars of the Nickelodeon show "Kenan & Kel."

But a spokesperson for the show called the TMZ reports inaccurate, noting that "the season hasn’t even started and cast decisions aren’t made until the end of the season."

"Saturday Night Live" will return with host Chris Pratt and musical guest Ariana Grande for its 40th season this Saturday. 

Twitter: @MeredithBlake

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Talking TV: Is 'Gotham' a "Bang!' or 'Bloop!' for Fox?

Fox is at last beaming its Bat-signal Monday night with the premiere of "Gotham" -- and we want to talk about it.

The live-action story of the city and its characters' origins made popular in DC Comics' Batman franchise will finally meet the eyes of the franchise's built-in loyal (and analytical) audience. But executive producer Bruno Heller said precautions were taken against making this a fanboy-only experience.

"To do the show that we're doing, it was important to have someone running it who has the perspective of the general audience as well," Heller told Times staff writer Meredith Blake on the set earlier this summer. "The danger of being too deep into the universe is you're only addressing the connoisseurs."

The drama is less about the Caped Crusader (Bruce Wayne hasn't even hit puberty in this version of the tale), and more about a young James Gordon (who later becomes Commissioner Gordon) and the beginnings of the supervillains and vigilantes, including the Riddler, Catwoman...

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Stephen King's '11/22/63' becoming Hulu original series

Stephen King's JFK assassination and time travel thriller "11/22/63" is getting the event series treatment on Hulu.

The hefty novel (849 pages in hardcover) will become a nine-hour series on the online streaming TV service with J.J. Abrams and King himself serving as executive producers. Bridget Carpenter, who has previously written for "Friday Night Lights," "Parenthood" and "The Red Road" will write the adaptation.

King's novel follows Maine high school teacher Jake Epping, who discovers a way to travel backward in time. And what better way to begin to right the wrongs of the past than trying to stop the assassination of JFK? As he discovers, Lee Harvey Oswald isn't going to go quietly.

The series will be a collaboration between Hulu and Warner Bros. TV, which will handle distribution of the series overseas.

Both Abrams and Carpenter are admitted fans of King. And in a statement, King said, "If I ever wrote a book that cries out for long-form, event TV programming, '11/22/63' is it."...

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Colin Farrell says he will star in 'True Detective' Season 2

Colin Farrell will star in the second season of HBO's "True Detective" -- according to Colin Farrell. 

The roguish Irish actor is apparently not one for keeping secrets. He leaked the news this weekend to Dublin's Sunday World newspaper, saying  “I’m doing the second series. I’m so excited," but as of Monday afternoon HBO has yet to officially confirm or otherwise comment on Farrell's unsanctioned announcement.

Farrell was reportedly deep in negotiations to star in the series as of July, when his name surfaced along with that of "Friday Night Lights" star Taylor Kitsch. Farrell most recently starred in the romance "Winter's Tale" and the biopic "Saving Mr. Banks," and will be seen opposite Jessica Chastain in Liv Ullmann's adaptation of the August Strindberg play "Miss Julie," which had its premiere this month at the Toronto International Film Festival. 

The first season of "True Detective" premiered in January with Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson playing the lead roles as a...

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Alaska reporter quits on air after reporting on her own marijuana club

Who says local TV news is boring and predictable?

On Sunday night, Charlo Greene, a reporter for CBS affiliate KTVA in Anchorage, Alaska, gave the ultimate sign off after reporting on efforts to legalize marijuana and regulate it like alcohol in the state.

The story involved the debate over Alaska's Ballot Measure 2 and touched on the medical marijuana business the Alaska Cannabis Club. At the end of the report, Greene revealed herself to be the owner.

"Everything you heard is why I, the actual owner of the Alaska Cannabis Club, will be dedicating all of my energy to fighting for freedom and fairness, which begins with legalizing marijuana here in Alaska," Greene said.

But that wasn't the real shocker. She saved the best for last.

"And as for this job... well, not like I have a choice, but," then she dropped an expletive on the audience and concluded with, "I quit."

Who wants to wager that bit will end up on the station's blooper reel at the Christmas party this year?

Weekend anchor...

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'Downton Abbey' ratings down in British Season 5 premiere

Goodness gracious! It looks like "Downton Abbey" may be losing its luster. 

The popular 1920s-set costume drama had its fifth season premiere Sunday night in the United Kingdom, attracting an audience of 8.4 million viewers to British broadcaster ITV. 

Perhaps "Downton Abbey" fans are growing weary of Lady Mary's romantic indecision, or maybe Lord Grantham squandered a million or so viewers in a bungled Canadian rail investment, but either way the figure is down significantly from the Season 4 premiere, which generated 9.5 million viewers.

While still impressive, Sunday night's tally also marks the lowest ratings for an opening episode since the series, created by Julian Fellowes, debuted to 7.6 million viewers in the United Kingdom in 2010. 

Stateside, ratings for "Downton Abbey" also ebbed somewhat last season, dropping from a PBS record of 10.2 million viewers for the January opener to 8.5 million viewers for the late-February finale. 

But we'll have to wait until Jan. 4, when...

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'Boardwalk Empire' recap: Chalky's on the run; Margaret's in trouble

After escaping prison with a half-crazy partner, Chalky White (Michael Kenneth Williams) becomes a reluctant hostage-taker on “What Jesus Said,” Episode 51 of HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire.”

Chalky and fellow fugitive Milton (Warner Miller) break into a house to rob a safe. But the scheme goes awry when they’re discovered by a schoolgirl, Fern (Olivia Nikkanen); and her terrified mother, Marie (Mary Bacon).

Wanting no part of this, Chalky urges an immediate exit. Milton controls the gun, however, and refuses to leave without the money.

Fern is about the same age as Chalky’s daughter Maybelle (Christina Jackson) when she was killed during an assassination attempt on drug kingpin Dr. Valentin Narcisse (Jeffrey Wright). Chalky blames himself for the tragedy and believes there’s no chance for redemption.

“There’s forgiveness for everyone,” Fern says, trying to befriend her captor. “That’s what Jesus said.”

“Baby girl,” Chalky bitterly replies, “Jesus was wrong!”

Chalky was unable to save his...

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'Good Wife' creators talk about going behind bars for Season 6

 "The Good Wife" roller coaster, it turns out, isn't quite done with the twists.

After a full-strength fifth season — manhandled desks! Will's death! A question-ending cliffhanger! — it seemed the high-anxiety tension would ease up for Alicia Florrick and company. Then the Season 6 opener of the CBS drama premiered on Sunday and things got ... arresting.

If you haven't watched the episode yet, go cuddle with your DVR. If you have, proceed to the next paragraph.

The opening minutes of the premiere find Cary Agos, Alicia's ambitious law partner played by Matt Czuchry, getting arrested on drug charges, which is really a ruse to get closer to drug kingpin Lemond Bishop. 

We spoke with "Good Wife" husband-and-wife creators Robert and Michelle King about heading to the clink this season.

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At one point did you have an idea of where Season 6 was headed?

Robert: I would say about halfway to two-thirds of the way through Season 5, we could start to see the outline of Season...

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'Masters of Sex' recap: Bill's demons arise during TV shoot

Making his television debut forces Dr. William Masters (Michael Sheen) to confront deep-seated insecurities on “One for the Money, Two for the Show,” Episode 211 of Showtime’s “Masters of Sex.”

When a CBS News crew arrives to interview Bill and colleague Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan) about their human sexuality study, public relations expert Shep Tally (Adam Arkin) offers advice.

“You have to be personable enough to make the audience want to invite you into their home,” Shep explains. “A smile and some direct eye contact make all the difference.”

Vibrant and photogenic Virginia is a natural. Bill, on the other hand, is perspiring and aloof -- somewhat like Richard Nixon during his famous debate with John F. Kennedy.

Among Bill’s concerns is the insistence of CBS that two actors, Kyle (Johnathan Brugal) and Bernadette (Katie Parker), pretend to suffer from sexual dysfunction. But Bill and Virginia have barely begun treating such disorders.

“It’s fake,” Bill exclaims. “All of it!”

Shep...

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'The Strain' recap: Face to face with the Master

There may be at least a few good reasons why the swag-savvy folks at FX don’t rush a latex replica of the Master into every Party City and Hot Topic in America, just in time for Halloween.

The Master, the uber-villain of FX’s hit drama, “The Strain,” shows his face for the second time in this week’s episode. Though lethal and medieval as a character, he may never launch a mass-market line of King of the Undead masks.

Sorry Fox Consumer Products, but this rubbery-looking mug borders on Nosferatu lite. In fact, fans armed with silicone spray and glue guns could probably come up with their own reasonable facsimiles. DIY project for the kids!

That’s a snarky way of saying that there are a couple of genuinely terrifying moments in the hour dubbed, “The Third Rail,” but the Master’s confrontation with Dr. Ephraim Goodweather isn’t one of them. He does nearly choke out the renegade hero, and he starts and then stops unfurling his tentacle-like stinger, which clearly would’ve spelled disaster...

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Monday's TV Highlights: 'The Big Bang Theory' on CBS

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TV listings for the week of Sept. 21 - 27, 2014 in PDF format

This week's TV Movies


SERIES

Lauren Lake's Paternity Court This new unscripted series offers a glimpse into the drama surrounding establishing legal parenthood. 11 a.m. KDOC

The Big Bang Theory The popular sitcom temporarily moves back to Mondays to start its eighth season with back-to-back episodes. In the opener Sheldon (Jim Parsons) is far from home, and Leonard and Amy (Johnny Galecki, Mayim Bialik) try to get him back. 8 and 8:30 p.m. CBS

The Voice Gwen Stefani and Pharrell Williams join returning celebrity judges/musicians/coaches Adam Levine and Blake Shelton as the singing competition is back with a new season. Carson Daly continues host. 8 p.m. NBC

Gotham Detective James Gordon (Ben McKenzie), who eventually will become Gotham's police commissioner, is at the heart of this new series set in the "Batman" universe. Donal...

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'Fashion Police' plans 2015 return with Melissa Rivers' blessing

"Fashion Police" will continue without Joan Rivers.

In the wake of the recent death of Rivers, E! Entertainment has announced that "Fashion Police," the series that starred the comedian and others commenting on the fashion of celebrities, will return next year.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of Joan Rivers and, for the last two weeks, have turned our attention to honoring her memory on all our platforms," the network said in a statement. "We have also thought long and hard about what Joan would have wanted as it pertains to the future of 'Fashion Police.'

"We decided, with Melissa Rivers' blessing, that Joan would have wanted the franchise to continue. Fashion Police will return in 2015, commencing with Golden Globe coverage on Monday, Jan. 12. No further details will be announced at this time."

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