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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,' 'Breathless' 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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'The View' gets new logo, set and studio as part of creative makeover

Call it "Extreme Makeover: Talk Show Edition." 

When "The View" returns to the air on Sept. 15, it will have a new logo, set and studio, ABC announced Thursday. 

The long-running ABC talk show is moving from the Manhattan studio where it's been produced for the last 17 years into a space around the corner at the ABC Broadcast Center that most recently housed Katie Couric's daytime talk show. The new set, which is currently under construction, has been designed in the round. It will also include an "on-camera social media station allowing the hosts to interact in real time with viewers," a feature that has practically become a requirement in the morning-show universe. 

"The View" will also get a new logo and color scheme, "the first time in the show’s history that it has changed significantly," according to an ABC release.  

The superficial tweaks are part of a larger creative overhaul at "The View," which has seen increased ratings competition from CBS' rival gabfest "The Talk" and...

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Emmys 2014: Red carpet rollout, and a Governors Ball sneak peek

With the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards set for Monday, preparations have begun for the television industry's biggest night -- and for the dinner party after television's biggest night.

The rolling out of the red carpet took place this week outside the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, and Bruce Rosenblum, chairman and CEO of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, was on hand to act out his "childhood dream."

"You always want to be the first guy to roll out a red carpet, so it was a fun morning," Rosenblum said. The executive kicked off the event -- literally, as you can see in the video above -- with host Seth Meyers and executive producer Don Mischer.

Also preparing for a rush of stars are Cheryl Cecchetto and her company Sequoia Productions, the group that produces the Governors Ball festivities that occur after the Emmys are handed out. With the theme of the evening being "Kaleidescope of Color," the company will present an interactive event to highlight both color and movement.

"It's...

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Hallmark Channel creates Feline Football League for Kitten Bowl II

These are dark days for professional football. There's the NFL's concussion crisis, the rising popularity of soccer (the other football) after the World Cup and now the ascendancy of a new kind of American football that's a lot more cuddly, much more pleasant to look at and whose only real dark side is the risk of flea bites: Feline Football.

Building off the success of the first-ever Kitten Bowl in January, Hallmark Channel is planning Kitten Bowl II on Su-Purr Bowl Sunday in February 2015. The first Kitten Bowl was hosted by Beth Stern and saw the furry sports stars leaping, pouncing, snuggling and cleaning around a miniature football field.

We saw such sports stars as Mr. Whiskers, Crazy Legs (an all-pro out of "Neuter Dame"), Midnight and Hairy Rice strut their stuff to glory. Final score saw the North Shore Bengals top the Cedar Cove Cougars 24-20.

But the cuteness isn't ending there!

In the run-up to Kitten Bowl II, Hallmark Channel is mounting the Feline Football League, which...

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Thursday's TV Highlights: 'Working the Engels' on NBC

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

Inside the Actors Studio Host James Lipton sat down with Robin Williams in 2001, an appearance that, years later, fans of the show voted their favorite. 8 p.m. Bravo

Defiance In the first of two new episodes Nolan and Rafe (Grant Bowler, Graham Greene) race against time to rescue Amanda and Pottinger (Julie Benz, James Murray) who have been trapped in a mine. 8 and 9 p.m. Syfy

Welcome to Sweden In this new episode, Bruce's (Greg Poehler), parents (Patrick Duffy, Illeana Douglas) visit Sweden and have an unsettling encounter with Emma's (Josephine Bornebusch) folks (Lena Olin, Claes Mansson). 9 p.m. NBC

Rookie Blue The police drama ends its summer run with a two-hour telecast. Matthew Owen Murray, Missy Peregrym, Gregory Smith and Ben Bass star. 9 p.m. ABC

Project Runway The designers create the look...

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'American Horror Story: Freak Show' gets premiere date

Ladies and gentleman, boys and girls, FX has set the premiere date for "American Horror Story: Freak Show."

The fourth installment of the FX anthology series will roll out on Oct. 8 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

As the name implies, this season will set its horror sights on one of the last remaining freak shows, operating circa 1950 in Jupiter, Fla. Playing in the AHS repertory are Jessica Lange as a German expatriate who manages the consortium and Sarah Paulson as conjoined sisters, as well as Michael Chiklis as a strongman of the freak show -- among others.

The news comes in the days leading up to a big night for the Ryan Murphy-Brad Falchuk drama. The third season, "American Horror Story: Coven," received 17 Emmy nominations, including best miniseries and several acting nominations.

...

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Billy Crystal will remember Robin Williams at Emmys

Robin Williams will receive a special tribute at the Emmy Awards on Monday, to be delivered by his old Comic Relief cohost Billy Crystal.

Crystal will pay tribute to Williams, who committed suicide on Aug. 11, during the In Memoriam segment of the awards, when TV performers and professionals who died over the last year are remembered through small clips of their work.

Crystal has remained silent on Williams' death since tweeting, "No words," on the day of his death.

Emmys executive producer Don Mischer announced Crystal's participation in the awards on Wednesday at the red carpet rollout. Singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles will also perform during the montage.

Williams' death came after a long struggle with depression and a diagnosis of Parkinson's disease, according to his widow, Susan Schneider.

Crystal, Williams and Whoopi Goldberg together hosted the Comic Relief series of fundraising comedy telethons that aired semi-regularly between 1986 and 2010. 

Crystal and Williams also...

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'Masters of Sex' and 'Ray Donovan' renewed for third seasons

Showtime announced it was renewing two of its most critically-acclaimed dramas on Wednesday: "Masters of Sex" and "Ray Donovan."

Both shows are currently airing their second seasons and will resume production in early 2015 for 12-episode third seasons to air late next year.

"Masters of Sex" is set in the 1950s and follows the ground-breaking sex research of Dr. William Masters (Michael Sheen) and Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan). Caplan was nominated for outstanding lead actress in a drama series at the Emmy Awards to take place Monday night. Beau Bridges and Allison Janney also received Emmy nominations for their work on the series. Janney won for her guest spot.

"Ray Donovan" stars Liev Schreiber as a fixer for a high-powered Los Angeles law firm who has family connections to the criminal side of life. Schreiber earned a Golden Globe nomination last year for his role. And Jon Voight, who plays Schreiber's father, heads to the Emmys on Monday with a nomination for supporting actor....

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AMC renews computer drama 'Halt and Catch Fire'

AMC isn't hitting the ESC button on its computer drama "Halt and Catch Fire."

The network announced Wednesday it has renewed the 1980s-set drama for a second season that will roll out next summer.

"Halt and Catch Fire" took viewers into the early days of the rise of the personal computer in Texas' Silicon Prairie, the often overlooked stepsister to Silicon Valley. It stars Lee Pace, Scoot McNairy and MacKenzie Davis as a rebel team that tries to challenge tech giant IBM with their own vision of a computer.

It was created by newcomers Chris Cantwell and Chris Rogers, with  Jonathan Lisco ("Southland") serving as showrunner.

Ahead of the drama's premiere, AMC President Charlie Collier seemed confident the show would catch on despite its muted feel, saying the series was "the most fun you'll have watching people build computers."

But not everyone saw it that way. The series premiered to 1.2 million total viewers in June, just below half of what the network's war drama "Turn" delivered...

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Jimmy Fallon learns Pierce Brosnan is terrible at 'GoldenEye'

Jimmy Fallon claimed it's been one of his longtime dreams to play the classic N64 video game "GoldenEye" with the actual (former) James Bond himself, Pierce Brosnan. And on Tuesday night's "Tonight Show," the host got his wish.

We hope he's satisfied, because from the at-home seats, one thing was astoundingly clear: Brosnan was terrible at the game.

To be fair, it's not like the actor who played 007 in four films, including "GoldenEye" in 1995, ever claimed to be a whiz at the first-person shooter. After all, he only played James Bond  -- he's not actually James Bond. But still, one hoped he was just being modest when he told Fallon, "I played it once and shot myself in the foot."

But no, sadly, when he picked up the controller to do battle against Fallon before the studio audience, Brosnan was as terrible as he claimed. In fact, he was worse, as he couldn't seem to figure out how to even pick up a gun in the game.

"When in doubt, chop," Brosnan said as he had his character karate chop...

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