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Whoa, mama! First day of 'Simpsons' marathon sets FXX ratings record

Homer Simpson may not be much of an athlete, but he and his family are running one heck of an ultramarathon for FXX.

In Day 1 of the longest programming marathon in TV history, 34 reruns of old episodes of "The Simpsons" shattered ratings records Thursday for the cable network started last year.

During prime time, the animated classic delivered a fivefold increase in FXX's ratings, with just over 1 million total viewers, according to Nielsen.

"We knew that 'The Simpsons' could be transformative for FXX and its performance yesterday truly exceeded our wildest expectations," FXX president of program strategy Chuck Saftler wrote in a statement.

FXX obtained the syndicated rights to "The Simpsons" and is running every episode -- all 552 of them so far -- in a 12-day marathon.

What do you think of "The Simpsons" marathon?

Twitter: @scottcollinsLAT

 

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A 'Mythbusters' farewell to Kari Byron, Tory Belleci and Grant Imahara

"Mythbusters" hosts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman closed out their most recent season on Thursday with a special farewell to "Mythbusters" co-hosts Kari Byron, Tory Belleci and Grant Imahara.

The trio, who have been with the show for 10 years, are not returning for the new season.

As Hyneman stoicly put it, "This next season we're going back to our origins with just Adam and me."

The Discovery Channel show's "Build Team" joined "Mythbusters" in its second season and worked independently of Savage and Hyneman to explore its own myths -- 375 of them, to be exact. 

The three now-former busters all tweeted their farewells to the fans, but made no mention of what they were planning to do next.

Savage also tweeted, "@KariByron, @grantimahara & @ToryBelleci, it's been a pleasure to not only work with you but call you our friends."

Follow me on Twitter: @patrickkevinday

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Saturday's TV Highlights: 'Hell On Wheels' on AMC

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

Click here to download TV listings for the week of Aug. 24 - 30, 2014 in PDF format

This week's TV Movies


SERIES

Cedar Cove In this new episode Justine (Sarah Smyth) tries to keep her involvement with the Luke (Jesse Hutch) a secret from her mother, while Jack (Dylan Neal) worries that his displeasure over Eric's (Tom Stevens) new job may put a strain on their newly improved bond. Sebastian Spence and Teryl Rothery also star. 8 p.m. Hallmark

Doctor Who Seen only briefly in a couple of earlier episodes, Peter Capaldi makes his proper series debut as the 12th Doctor in the season 8 premiere. Jenna Coleman returns as his companion. 8:15 p.m. BBC America. ("Doctor Who: Live Preshow" precedes the episode at 8, and "Doctor Who: After Who Live" follows at 11).

Hell on Wheels Campbell (Jake Weber) makes a move against Mickey and Durant (Phil Burke, Colm Meaney) in this new episode. 9 p.m. AMC

Intruders In this creepy new...

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TV Picks: Communitychannel, 'Doctor Who,' 'Poirot: Curtain'

Communitychannel (YouTube) I have been meaning to write for some time about comical Australian vlogger -- is that still a word? -- Natalie Tran. (She uses it, so I guess it is.) Now 28, Tran has been regularly posting videos since 2006 (or, as she describes it, "far too long"), when hardly anyone had even heard of the Internet; and in that time she has gathered more than a million and a half subscribers to her YouTube-based, misleadingly named Communitychannel. (Apart from her fans, she is pretty much a community of one.) Production values have steadily increased over the years -- early videos, which tend to be chattier, have the feel of a precocious, clever girl reaching out to the world from the room she grew up in; the current shorts are slicker, faster and more formatted. Older and newer, they are consistently funny.

They usually begin with a "Hi," followed by some observational proposition; then proceed from some variation on "Which got me thinking" to a series of sketches, in...

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Bob Barker to re-create 'Happy Gilmore' fight on 'Bold and Beautiful'

Bob Barker is 90 years old, but he's still got some fight left in him. And he'll prove it next week when he returns for a guest spot on the CBS daytime soap "The Bold and the Beautiful."

His appearance Thursday will be the former "Price is Right" host's third on the soap opera and his second this year. He last appeared on the show in April and his first appearance was back in 2002 when he was still a game show host. He retired from that gig in 2007.

But, most excitingly, Barker will use this appearance to make his personal homage to "Happy Gilmore."

Barker, playing himself, will get into a physical altercation with Wyatt Spencer (Darin Brooks), when Spencer insults animal lovers. That's a subject near and dear to Barker's heart, both in fiction and in real life, so Barker proceeds to unleash "a flurry of punches," according to CBS' description, leaving Spencer face-down in a puddle of mud.

It's been almost 20 years since Barker last delivered an on-screen beating in the 1996 Adam...

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Friday's TV Highlights: 'Kill Your Darlings' on Starz

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

Click here to download TV listings for the week of Aug. 17 - 23, 2014 in PDF format

This week's TV Movies


SERIES

Masters of Illusion The showcased illusionists in this new episode include Jan Rouven, Jonathon Pendragon, Ed Alonzo, Christopher Hart, David Zirbel and Michael Grandinetti. Dean Cain hosts. 8 p.m. KTLA

Bering Sea Gold The dangerous profession series returns for a new season. 9 p.m. Discovery

The Knick In this new episode Thackery (Clive Owen) is asked to perform surgery on an old flame and assigns Chickering and Gallinger (Michael Angarano, Eric Johnson) to try new experimental techniques on pigs. Jeremy Bobb, Andre Holland and Juliet Rylance also star. 10 p.m. Cinemax

The Almighty Johnsons In a new episode Axl (Emmett Skilton) can't understand why Mike (Tim Balme) is so reluctant to use his supernatural powers and Mike is risking bankruptcy and a marital meltdown with Valerie (Roz Turnbull) as he...

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Talking TV: 'Doctor Who' is coming back

Time may not mean much to a Time Lord like The Doctor, but to the rest of us, it's been what feels like an eternity since we got our first glimpse of Peter Capaldi in "Doctor Who."

Now fans will get a chance to see Capaldi in action for real this Saturday when the series returns for a new season.

"Deep Breath" puts the Doctor and his companion Clara (Jenna Coleman) on familiar ground in Victorian England, fighting the usual alien menace.

What are we hoping for? What are we afraid of? And how did we manage to make it through the past eight months without a new "Who?"

On Friday at noon Pacific join Times TV critic Mary McNamara, TV reporter Patrick Kevin Day, a pair of "Doctor Who" superfans and social media editor Stacey Leasca for a look ahead to what Saturday night holds for us. Then come back here again on Monday at noon Pacific for a discussion of the episode with Eric Deggans of NPR and Drew Siragusa of Fanboy Comics.

Questions and comments to #asklatimes.

...

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TLC's Michelle Duggar fights ordinance protecting transgender rights

Reality star Michelle Duggar, matriarch of the ever-expanding family featured in the TLC series, "19 Kids and Counting," recorded a robocall urging citizens of the Fayetteville, Ark., area to speak out against an antidiscrimination ordinance that would protect the rights of transgender men and women. 

According to the Fayetteville Flyer, the ordinance, which passed Wednesday morning in a 6-2 vote despite Duggar's efforts to defeat it, will establish a civil rights administrator to handle complaints from residents who feel they've been victims of discrimination based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic background, marital status or veteran status in situations regarding housing, employment or public accommodations. 

It will also make it illegal for business owners and landlords to evict or terminate someone based on any of these factors. (Residents are already protected by state and federal law against discrimination based on race, religion, gender, age and...

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David Letterman's retirement plans: A Ken Burns doc?

David Letterman seemed to be considering his post-retirement plans out loud when he interviewed documentary filmmaker Ken Burns on Wednesday's "Late Show."

Burns was promoting his upcoming seven-part, 14-hour PBS documentary "The Roosevelts." Letterman seemed totally engaged by the material, to the point that he wasn't even attempting to liven up the discussion with jokes. It was question after question, observation after observation about Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt. 

So what was Letterman's interest?

"Is Peter Coyote still doing the voices?" Letterman inquired. "I'll do it for half the money."

Burns then touted the celebrities he had recruited to provide narration for the film, including Paul Giamatti as Teddy Roosevelt, Edward Herrmann as Franklin Roosevelt and Meryl Streep as Eleanor Roosevelt.

"I could do that!" Letterman repeated.

Could the late-night host follow in the footsteps of David McCullough, John Chancellor and Tom Hanks? We, as a nation,...

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TV Picks: 'Doctor Who' and the Emmy Awards

"Doctor Who." Out with the old, in with the … old? There's a new Doctor in the house and he's a doozy. Having survived more than 900 years, countless battles and a 25th anniversary that got a little crazy, our gallant Time Lord has regenerated for the 12th time (or 13th, or 14th if you count that bad movie), shifting from the impish visage of Matt Smith ("Fezzes are cool!") to the more clenched and furrowed mien of Peter Capaldi, whose tag line might turn out to be "I don't think I'm a hugging kind of person."

Whether you see Capaldi's inaugural episode at home, or in a movie theater, courtesy of Fathom Events, it's a big change, and, as the first episode makes very clear, an intentional one.

Not to diminish Capaldi's physical attractions, but by casting him, current "Who" runner Steven Moffat seems to be steering the story away from Romance back to Adventure and Possibly Instruction. Which is where the show began, after all, conjured way back in the way back as a madcap but...

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Julianne Hough returns to 'Dancing With the Stars' as a judge

Two-time "Dancing With the Stars" champion Julianne Hough is returning to the long-running ABC reality competition series, but breathe easier fellow dancers, she's not looking to win again. This season, she'll be a fourth judge.

Hough will join returning judges Len Goodman, Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli as a permanent fourth judge for the show's upcoming 19th season.

Hough has been a guest judge on the series before, most recently in April.

The professional dancers for the new season have already been announced. They are Mark Ballas, Cheryl Burke, Witney Carson, Artem Chigvintsev, Valentin Chmerkovskiy, Tony Dovolani, Allison Holker, Keo Motsepe, Peta Murgatroyd, Emma Slater, Karina Smirnoff and Derek Hough (Julianne's brother).

Hough has used her dancing fame to leap into motion pictures, however she hasn't had the best of luck with projects. Her filmography includes the Christina Aguiler-Cher fiasco "Burlesque" and the "Rock of Ages" adaptation. However, her first starring role...

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