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Wednesday's TV Highlights: 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit'

Customized TV Listings are available here: www.latimes.com/tvtimes

Click here to download

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

This week's TV Movies


SERIES

Survivor The reality competition hosted by Jeff Probst returns for its 29th go-round. 8 p.m. CBS

The Middle The family sitcom starring Patricia Heaton is back with new episodes. 8 p.m. ABC

Penguins: Spy in the Huddle, A Nature Special Presentation This limited series gets cozy with several species of the flightless aquatic birds. 8 p.m. KOCE

The Goldbergs "SNL's" David Spade guest stars in the sitcom's season premiere. 8:30 p.m. ABC

Law

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Colin Farrell and Vince Vaughn confirmed for 'True Detective' Season 2

Colin Farrell and Vince Vaughn will star in the second season of "True Detective," HBO confirmed Tuesday.

The new season, written solely by creator Nic Pizzolatto, will center on "three police officers and a career criminal [who] must navigate a web of conspiracy in the aftermath of a murder."

Farrell, who let the cat out of the bag this week in an interview with the Irish newspaper Sunday World, will play Ray Velcoro, described as "a compromised detective whose allegiances are torn between his masters in a corrupt police department and the mobster who owns him."

Vaughn, who was among the many names rumored to be circling the project, will star opposite Farrell as Frank Semyon, described as "a career criminal in danger of losing his empire when his move into legitimate enterprise is upended by the murder of a business partner."

For those keeping track, this leaves at least two major roles to be cast.

Justin Lin, of "Fast & Furious" fame, is set to direct the first two episodes, a...

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'The Voice' recap: Season 7 starts with new coaches, new possibilities

Is it me, or does it feel like Pharrell Williams and Gwen Stefani have been coaches on "The Voice" forever?

The two music industry mega-talents made their debuts as the singing-competition show kicked off its seventh season Monday night, joining veteran coaches Blake Shelton and Adam Levine. And although Williams and Stefani were new at the game, they played it as if they'd been at it all their lives. Each seemed right at home in his or her big red spinning chair.

I guess it must not have been just me, because partway through, after finally landing a coveted singer, having been beaten for others, Levine said, "Gwen and Pharrell are getting a little comfortable. I adore those two, but I need to make them understand that this is my house."

Oh, Adam. Competitive, competitive, Adam. What would "The Voice" be without you?

Shelton, for his part, came armed with material to use on the new coaches. "Don't speak," he told the No Doubt frontwoman as they vied for a vocalist, hushing her with her...

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'Sleepy Hollow' recap: Is love ahead for Abbie and Ichabod?

It’s been a year since the thoroughly whack day when Ichabod Crane was buried alive and Abbie Mills was trapped in purgatory in the season finale of Fox’s supernatural cop drama, “Sleepy Hollow.”

These freedom fighters, whose job is beating back an all-out apocalypse and tamping down any sexual tension between them, take a moment for a small yet significant celebration. Don’t they deserve it?

It’s Crane’s 251st birthday, after all, so they should make merry. Abbie schools Crane in the art of the surprise party, and Crane gamely considers himself punk’d.

The red, white and blue cupcake surely is a nice touch, Leftenant.

The two beautiful people, at ease with each other, as always, exchange witty and warm banter. But underneath, there’s sadness. Her sister, Jenny, is dead. That’s bad. His wife, Katrina, has been killed, too.

“Squeeeee,” says every single ‘shipper among the series’ dedicated fan base.

Admit it, viewers, that’s the moment you’ve been waiting for since first realizing that...

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'Dancing With the Stars' recap: Pump up the Jam

My Jam Monday made its debut on Week 2 of “Dancing With the Stars” Season 19. The stars got to choose their favorite songs to jam to. On a Monday!

Before the celebs trotted out their choices, the judges stepped out to their favorite tunes. Classic Len Goodman trotted out to “Come Dance With Me.” Fly Carrie Ann Inaba put herself in the middle of a manwich with Rihanna’s “Only Girl (in the World).” Bruno Tonioli thrusted to Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” (but of course), and Julianne Hough came out sweeping to Coldplay’s “A Sky Full of Stars.”

Though the resulting routines in the second performance show were a mixed bag -- the stars were forced to adjust to the pressure of only having a week to prepare their dances, stress ran high, wardrobes and props threatened to malfunction, and we ended up with jams both tart and sweet.

Taking the lead away from Alfonso Ribeiro was fellow 1980s star Lea Thompson, who was a bit shaken after “the shock” of being in jeopardy last week with Artem...

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Tuesday's TV Highlights: 'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' and more

Customized TV Listings are available here: www.latimes.com/tvtimes

Click here to download

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

This week's TV Movies


SERIES

NCIS Gibbs and McGee (Mark Harmon, Sean Murray) are on a mission in Russia in the season premiere. 8 p.m. CBS

Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates Jr. Stephen King explores his genealogy in the season premiere. 8 p.m. KOCE

NCIS: New Orleans Scott Bakula heads the cast of this second "NCIS" spinoff series. 9 p.m. CBS

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Lucy Lawless ("Xena") joins the cast in the second season premiere. Patton Oswalt, Hayley Atwell and George Stephanopoulos guest star. 9 p.m. ABC

The Mindy Project Rhea Perlman ("Cheers") guest stars as Danny's (Chris Messina) mother. 9:30 p.m. Fox

Person of Interest A new season begins with Reese (Jim Caviezel) and the other team members adopting new identities. 10:01 p.m. CBS

SPECIALS

Forgotten Four: The Integration of Pro Football This documentary...

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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 beaming its Bat-signals on Monday nights with the new series "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 is finally meeting 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.

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FOR THE RECORD
Sept: 23, 1:19 p.m.:
An earlier version of this post said the chat was being held on Tuesday, Sept. 23. The chat was canceled due to technical difficulties and is being rescheduled for next Tuesday, Sept. 30.

This story was originally published at 12:27 p.m., Sept. 22.

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"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...

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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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