Ari Graynor  stars on "Bad Teacher."

Review: 'Bad Teacher' pleasantly softens as a CBS sitcom

Based on the 2011 Cameron Diaz film of the same name, "Bad Teacher" is something of a novelty on CBS, a single-camera comedy in a sea of old-fashioned multicamera, feel-the-hilarity sitcoms like "The Big Bang Theory," "Two Broke Girls" and "Mike

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Vanessa Redgrave, left, and Kelly Reilly star in "Black Box."

Review: 'Black Box' stumbles through a dark dance with reality

"House" meets "Homeland" and goes dancing with "Grey's Anatomy" on the new ABC "medical" drama, "Black Box," a show so deeply flawed and absurdly derivative you will wonder if you, like the main character, are experiencing a manic episode.

Kelly Reilly stars as Dr. Catherine Black, a predictably brilliant and beautiful neurosurgeon who is also bipolar and prone to go off her meds. Like "Homeland's" Carrie Mathison and Dr. Gregory House, Black believes there is a direct relationship between her abilities and her disorder. Why would she constrict the brilliant rocket ride of her chemically challenged brain?

Or so she asks her therapist, played, in an absolutely unforgivable bit of casting by Vanessa Redgrave, whose exquisite gravity offers "Black Box" its few heart-breaking glimmers of hope. Then Catherine opens her mouth and the loony tunes show cranks up again, complete with a sax-heavy soundtrack and many scenes of Dr. Black dancing to the tune of her own madness.

FULL COVERAGE:...

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Rhys Ifans, left, as Mycroft Holmes and Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes in "Elementary."

CBS' 'Elementary' deduces the painful truth at the heart of sobriety

Very few shows could pull off a homage to the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman without seeming exploitative, sensational or culturally carnivorous. Only one could do it in the middle of an episode dealing with a bunch of missing anthrax and Garret Dillahunt as a dairy farmer.

Two years ago, when CBS premiered the crime-procedural "Elementary," the decision to make Sherlock Holmes (played by Jonny Lee Miller) a modern-day recovering addict seemed equally canny and risky. Holmes is indeed literature's most famous and enduring druggie — in Nicholas Meyer's "Seven-Percent Solution" none other than Sigmund Freud helped him kick the coke habit.

And amid the frantic Holmesian renaissance (the "Sherlock Holmes" movie franchise, the BBC's "Sherlock," Fox's loosely based "House), putting the detective into recovery with a female Watson (Lucy Liu) as sober companion offered the show a quick and easy distinguishing characteristic.

PHOTOS: At home with Sherlock Holmes in 'Elementary'

It's...

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KGB spy Philip Jennings (Matthew Rhys) infiltrates a secret military camp on "The Americans."

'The Americans' recap: Spy life takes toll on Philip

Wracked with guilt over murders he commits as a KGB agent, Philip Jennings (Matthew Rhys) falls into a deep, angry depression on “Martial Eagle,” Episode 9 of “The Americans” on FX.

His latest killings occur at a camp where Navy SEALs covertly train Contra field commanders intent on overthrowing Nicaragua’s Sandinista government. Philip and spy wife Elizabeth (Keri Russell) assassinate the Contras, but innocent lives are lost.

“You didn’t have a choice,” Elizabeth says, trying to ease her husband’s pain. “This is war.”

“I know it’s war,” he coldly replies. “It’s just easier for you.”

BEST TV OF 2013 Lloyd | McNamara

Philip’s pent-up emotions explode when he discovers daughter Paige (Holly Taylor) took $600 she saved for a European trip and donated it to her church.

“You respect Jesus but not us?” he yells, ripping pages out of her Bible.

Later, Philip confronts Pastor...

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Morty and his grandfather Rick, both voiced by creator Justin Roiland, go on epic adventures in "Rick and Morty."

Cartoon Network aims to turn prime-time tide with its Adult Swim

When he takes command of CBS' "Late Show" next year, Stephen Colbert will have to battle the two Jimmys, Fallon and Kimmel. But he'll also square off against a robot chicken, a mad scientist and a talking hamburger.

From the humblest of beginnings 13 years ago — one early offering was made with microphones purchased at Radio Shack — Adult Swim, Cartoon Network's nighttime block, has a powerful hold on one of the most highly sought-after populations around: young men.

Adult Swim's mostly animated shows — among them hits such as "Robot Chicken," "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" spinoffs and the new "Rick and Morty" — rely on absurdist, often surreal humor, and they're making it harder than ever for the growing crowd of chat shows featuring celebrities hawking their latest movie.

The dorm-room-type nonsense fits the digital age.

PHOTOS: Creating Nickelodeon's animated comedy 'Breadwinners'

"I always fondly call them the Internet of television," said Rob Corddry, a former...

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Chris Schauble's search for his birth family concludes on KTLA Morning News.

Thursday's TV Highlights: 'KTLA Morning News'

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

Click here to download TV listings for the week of April 20 - 26, 2014 in PDF format

This week's TV Movies



SERIES

KTLA Morning News In segments airing Thurday and Friday starting at 5 a.m. and repeating throughout the morning newscasts, anchor Chris Schauble concludes his six-month search for his birth family. 5 a.m. KTLA

Chicagoland In the unscripted series' finale, Mayor Rahm Emanuel lays out his vision of the city. 7 and 10 p.m. CNN

Parks and Recreation Leslie (Amy Poehler) makes a major decision about her future and Ron (Nick Offerman) has another encounter with Tammy 2 (Megan Mullally) in the season finale. 8 p.m. NBC

Bad Teacher Inspired by the movie starring Cameron Diaz, this new sitcom stars Ari Graynor as a former trophy wife who gets hired as a middle-school teacher despite a total lack of qualifications. 9:30 p.m. CBS

Black BoxIn this new drama, a neuroscientist (Kelly Reilly) who has mental illness...

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Meg Ryan will narrate "How I Met Your Dad."

Meg Ryan will be narrator of 'How I Met Your Mother' spinoff

If CBS decides to order the pilot of "How I Met Your Dad" to series, fans will be hearing the voice of Meg Ryan narrating the adventures of her younger self, played by Greta Gerwig.

Sources say Ryan, America's onetime rom-com sweetheart, will have the Bob Saget role in the spinoff of "How I Met Your Mother," the nine-season hit on CBS that recently concluded its run.

In the original series, Saget voiced the future version of main character Ted, played by Josh Radnor, telling his children the long and meandering tale of how he met their mother. Saget and his children were never seen on camera in the show.

PHOTOS: 'HIMYM' - The women in Ted's journey

In the spinoff, Ryan will do the same, looking back on her younger years before she met the father of her children. Though since the series hasn't even been picked up yet, there's no telling if she will ever appear on camera or not.

CBS and 20th Century Fox TV, which is producing the pilot, had no comment.

Ryan most recently appeared in...

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Barbara Walters receives her mayoral proclamation from Bill de Blasio on "The View."

New York mayor declares May 16 'Barbara Walters Day'

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio stopped by "The View" on Monday and told departing host Barbara Walters that he was declaring May 16 "Barbara Walters Day."

May 16 is Walters' final day on "The View" and her last day as TV personality. The 84-year-old broadcaster is planning to retire when her time on the show she co-created ends.

The mayor called Walters a "living legend" for over 50 years.

Walters, ever the master of the subtle dig, told De Blasio, "It's very kind. Mayor Bloomberg never did this for me."

PHOTOS: Talk show hosts who didn't make the cut

De Blasio replied, "Times are changing."

Walters got a standing ovation, something she didn't seem comfortable with, and was eager to turn the conversation back to De Blasio.

Walters' last broadcast will come one day after all 11 current and former "View" co-hosts will assemble on the stage for the very first time. 

ALSO:

USA Network unveils summer premiere dates

Stephen Colbert visits David Letterman on 'Late Show'

John Oliver got mocked...

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Producer Ryan Lewis.

Ryan Lewis talks mother's battle with HIV on 'CBS This Morning'

Grammy-winning rap duo Macklemore
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John Oliver got mocked by friends for crying on 'The Daily Show'

When John Oliver left "The Daily Show" in December to launch a new weekly show on HBO, host Jon Stewart surprised him with a video tribute to his 7-1/2 years on the Comedy Central show. Overcome with emotion, Oliver broke down in tears and gave Stewart a very heartfelt hug by way of departure. Many fans at the time were charmed by this genuine display of emotion.

But Oliver's friends back in England hated it.

In advance of the premiere of his new HBO show, "Last Week Tonight With John Oliver," the comedian appeared on "The Tonight Show," where host Jimmy Fallon quizzed him about his on-air sobbing.

"I thought I was OK until [Stewart] said, 'Are you all right?'," Oliver said. "And that's when I burst into tears."

PHOTOS: TV shows and their spinoffs

But 24 hours later, when the show aired in the UK, the text messages began.

"I knew the minute it went out because I started getting abusive texts from my friends back home," Oliver said. "'Oh you are not crying on American TV. Tell me this...

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T.J. Wilkins, Dani Moz and Tess Boyer await their fate on "The Voice."

'The Voice' recap: T.J. Wilkins and Dani Moz head home

Watchers of "The Voice" sent two singers home — turning the Top 12 into the Top 10 — in this season's first live elimination show Tuesday night: South Los Angeles music student T.J. Wilkins, of Team Usher, and Team Shakira's Dani Moz, who left a career in PR to pursue one in music.

"Voice" fans also saved one vocalist — Team Shakira's Tess Boyer — via Twitter and, also on social media, exploded with indignant speculation that Shakira had lip-synced at least part of her song, "Empire," which she performed in a sizzling outfit on a flaming stage.

"You should not be allowed to lip sync on a singing show. Even if you're a coach! Disappointed," tsk-tsked one tweeter. Another wondered, "What kind of example is that to the contestants?"

PHOTOS: Ryan Seacrest's media empire

Others carefully refrained from jumping to conclusions: "Not sure what to think. ... Did @shakira just lip sync on @NBCTheVoice?"

Shakira herself has yet to address the speculation on Twitter, though...

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Tom Ellis stars in USA Network's newest drama, "Rush," as a rebellious doctor.

USA Network unveils summer premiere dates

USA Network has its eye on summer, unveiling its summer slate of premieres -- including the launch of two new dramas.

June is to be the month of returns, with "Royal Pains" making its sixth-season rollout on Tuesday, June 10. The following night will see the return of "Suits" and "Graceland." "Covert Affairs" will be waiting a bit longer, getting its start on June 24.

Once the veterans warm things up, USA plans to unveil a pair of new dramas on July 17. "Rush," a medical drama with a hard-partying, bad-boy doc (Tom Ellis) at its center, is set to begin its 10-episode turn at 9 p.m. ET/PT.  It's to be followed by the marriage drama "Satisfaction,"  the network's attempt to play outside the blue-skies line. The drama, previewed below, stars Matt Passmore ("The Glades") and Stephanie Szostak as a married couple at their midpoint.

PHOTOS: Behind the scenes of movies and TV

The cable network is also looking at a late-2014 debut for its event series "Dig," from executive producers Tim Kring...

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Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert, left, takes a selfie with host David Letterman on the set of the "Late Show with David Letterman" on Tuesday.

Stephen Colbert visits David Letterman on 'Late Show'

The passing of the "Late Show" torch has officially begun. On Tuesday, Stephen Colbert paid his first visit to the Ed Sullivan Theater following the news that he will be taking over for David Letterman next year. 

To answer your first question: No, Colbert was not in character, as evidenced by the stylish black glasses he wore, rather than the conservative wire-rim frames his blustery character prefers and, of course, by his modest and affable persona. Colbert plans to abandon his alter-ego when he assumes the "Late Show" throne, and Tuesday's visit provided a sneak peek of someone we're likely to see much more of very soon. 

Colbert, known for his quick wit, wasted no time delivering his first punchline. "Obviously, I'm thrilled," he said of his new job. 

WATCH: Stephen Colbert out of character

"Well, I'm thrilled as well," Letterman replied. "Paul and I have been doing this a long, long time. They could have just as easily hired a boob like me, but they didn't." 

"They hired a boob...

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James Spader, left, as Raymond "Red" Reddington, and Megan Boone as Elizabeth Keen, in "The Blacklist."

Episode of NBC's 'The Blacklist' pulled from Chinese websites

BEIJING -- The latest installment of NBC’s hit drama “The Blacklist” was deleted Wednesday from all major Chinese video-streaming websites that carry the popular TV show, marking the second time an episode of the program has been pulled from mainland portals after featuring Chinese plot elements.

Chinese video websites such as Youku, Tencent and Sohu all carry American TV shows as part of their regular licensed streaming offerings. “The Blacklist” has been among the most-watched shows on such websites recently, attracting millions of views.

But a plot line that portrays the Chinese government in a negative light -- such as conducting germ warfare research -- seems to have touched a nerve with Chinese censors.

PHOTOS: Violent TV shows

In Episode 19, titled “The Pavlovich Brothers,” a Chinese immunologist named Li Xiaoping had agreed to tell the U.S. about a secret weapons project and was jailed by the Chinese government for treason. She was...

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A Down Under vacation on "Modern Family." With Ty Burrell.

Wednesday's TV Highlights: 'Modern Family' on ABC

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

Click here to download TV listings for the week of April 20 - 26, 2014 in PDF format

This week's TV Movies


 

SERIES

Arrow After Roy (Colton Haynes) goes into a rage and engages in a deadly battle with a police officer, Oliver (Stephen Amell) realizes the mirakuru has taken him over completely and tries to figure out how to stop him in this new episode. 8 p.m. KTLA

American Idol The six finalists each perform a country song and a rock 'n' roll song. 8 p.m. Fox

Nature This new episode document Snow monkeys in Japan as they prepare and cope with changing seasons. 8 p.m. KOCE

Melissa & Joey Joe (Joey Lawrence) is delighted to inherit a chair from his grandmother but Mel (Melissa Joan Hart) finds the chair hideous. 8 p.m. ABC Family

Baby Daddy When Bonnie (Melissa Peterman) is feeling underappreciated and goes on strike, Ben (Jean-Luc Bilodeau) sees how much the boys need her in this new episode. 8:30 p.m. ABC Family

Th...
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Granddad and Riley appear in a scene from "The Boondocks."

'The Boondocks' kicks off final season with record ratings

The fourth season of "The Boondocks" had a lot of things going against it: The series had been off the air since the last season ended in 2010, and it was produced without the involvement of the series' creator, Aaron McGruder. But the season premiere on Monday night drew the show's highest ratings ever.

The first airing of the Adult Swim program grabbed 1.4 million viewers in the demo of adults 18-34. The show was the No. 1 show on all of broadcast and cable in that same demo, up 50% from viewers in the key demos last season and the highest rated Adult Swim prime-time program in five years. It even beat out NBC's "The Voice" and the NBA playoffs on TNT.

Though McGruder hasn't gone too far -- he's developing a new series called "Black Jesus" for Adult Swim -- his split with the show created from his popular newspaper strip appears complete. His name has been removed completely from the show's opening credits.

RELATED: 'The Boondocks' is back — without creative voice Aaron...

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Actions taken by the Jaime character played by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau in "Game of Thrones" are at the center of an online debate.

George R.R. Martin weighs in on 'Game of Thrones' rape controversy

Lately, every week seems to bring a new "Game of Thrones" controversy, and true to form Sunday's episode, "Breaker of Chains," included a plot twist that has ignited a firestorm of debate online. (Those not yet caught up on their DVRs are advised to tread carefully. Here be spoilers.) 

In the scene in question, Cersei is grieving over the dead body of her son, King Joffrey, when Jaime, her brother/former lover/Joffrey's father, brutally forces himself on her. "You're a hateful woman," he says, as she repeatedly begs him to stop. "Why have the gods made me love a hateful woman?" The scene stands out as perhaps the most shocking, taboo-breaking ever on a series that has already depicted a pregnant woman being stabbed to death in the stomach.  

Not surprisingly, it has sparked a furious backlash online, with many critics taking issue with showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff for making fundamental changes to the event as it originally occurs in George R.R. Martin's book " A Storm of...

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Aaron Sorkin, right, with Jon Favreau, former speechwriter for President Obama, who interviewed Sorkin at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Aaron Sorkin apologizes for 'The Newsroom'

Aaron Sorkin's HBO drama "The Newsroom" has one more season, but before it leaves the air, the show's creator wanted to clear the air with his fans. And he took a moment during an event at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York on Monday to do just that.

"I think you and I got off on the wrong foot with 'The Newsroom' and I apologize and I'd like to start over," told his fans, according to Buzzfeed. At the time, Sorkin was on stage being interviewed by Jon Favreau, former speechwriter for President Obama (not the "Iron Man" director).

The series, set at the fictional cable news outlet ACN, follows a hard-charging anchor, played by Jeff Daniels, and his squad of producers who seek to uncover the hard news underneath the media noise that the series suggests many news organizations fall victim to.

PHOTOS: Behind the scenes of movies and TV

While many fans hoped "The Newsroom" would return Sorkin to his glory days of "The West Wing," with smart people saying smart things in clever ways, the...

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Courteney Cox to Letterman: 'Friends' reunion 'not gonna happen'

People, people, a "Friends" reunion is "not gonna happen," an amused Courteney Cox told David Letterman during an appearance on "Late Show" on Monday night.

It doesn't matter that the 1990s sitcom, which ran for 10 seasons, went off the air 10 years ago. "Friends" fans are of the fervent variety, and they just can't let go of the idea of seeing their beloved cast all together again.

That won't happen, said Cox, because she can't even get a reunion dinner party together with all six friends at her own home. (In case you've been living in a closet for the last two decades, that's Cox, Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, Matthew Perry, Matt LeBlanc and David Schwimmer.)

PHOTOS: Behind the scenes of movies and TV

"I've been trying to put together a cast dinner for 10 years," she said. "I can get the girls to come, maybe Matthew Perry, Matt Le Blanc canceled last time, right at the last minute, Schwimmer lives here."

Also, she can't say she'd like it to happen because then everybody will say,...

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Team Usher's Josh Kaufman performs live on "The Voice."

'The Voice' recap: The Top 12 take it live

The first live show of the season on "The Voice" on Monday night was not without glitches. There was the usual minor stuff: the coaches talking over one another or having to rush through their notes because of time constraints. And then there was one whopper. 

While Team Shakira country vocalist Kristen Merlin was singing a super-impassioned rendition of "Stay" by Sugarland, on which she hoped to showcase her vulnerability, her mic suddenly went silent. Just completely cut out. There she was, singing her heart out — or so it appeared — but we could hear none of it. Eventually, as the song ended, someone ran out to hand Merlin another mic, but the snafu was heartbreaking. So much practice, so much at stake — if the audience who would vote to determine her fate couldn't hear Merlin sing, would it all be for naught.

But the coaches — all four of them — stood to give Merlin a standing ovation, and their response nearly moved her to tears. Adam Levine marveled...

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Brian Williams 'raps' 'Gin and Juice' on 'The Tonight Show'

NBC News anchor Brian Williams was a guest on "The Tonight Show" on Monday, and to celebrate, Jimmy Fallon introduced yet another montage of Williams "rapping" a classic song. This time, the straight-laced newsman tackled Snoop Dogg's 1994 hit, "Gin and Juice."

The songs are actually hundreds of clips of the "NBC Nightly News" edited together with Swiss watch precision. Previous installments in this ongoing survey of the history of hip-hop through the "Nightly News" have included Williams performing "Rapper's Delight" and N.W.A.'s "Straight Outta Compton."

However, unlike previous installments, Williams himself was on-hand to discuss his unwitting second career with Fallon. And Williams seemed to have mixed feelings about the whole endeavor.

"I just don't know how to thank you," he said sarcastically.

"People somehow think I have colluded into the making of these videos," Williams said. "Let's be clear... I've never said hippity."

PHOTOS: Behind the scenes of movies and TV

He also took...

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Amy Poehler is not Pitbull in new web gag

It's one of the more silly web gags to hit the Internet lately, and even its star, Amy Poehler, seems to know it.

In a new "Billy on the Street," which is hosted by comedian Billy Eichner for the Funny or Die website, Poehler dons a paper mask of the rapper Pitbull while Eichner drags her around the streets of New York City screaming at random passersby.

"That's not Pitbull! It's Amy Poehler!" shouts Eichner as Poehler pulls up her mask grinning from ear to ear and sometimes jumping up and down.

PHOTOS: Our favorite funny women and why we love them

Reactions range from genuinely excited to totally blase.

"Oh hi," one guy in a suit says nonchalantly to the impish "Parks and Recreation" star as she laughs giddily. (Eichner also co-stars on the show.)

The video lasts for just over two minutes, which is about all you need to giggle and then feel slightly ashamed for finding the gag funny.

But, hey, what else are you going to do for a little harmless Tuesday morning comedy relief?

ALSO:

A&...

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Matthew Rhys stars as a Russian spy on "The Americans."

Matthew Rhys is as intriguing as his character on 'The Americans'

In person, Welsh actor Matthew Rhys is charmingly evasive. Rather than offering long-winded answers about himself, Rhys is just as likely to respond to a question with another question, a tendency which makes it easier to understand how he effortlessly slips into so many disparate identities on FX's Cold War drama "The Americans."

Each week, Rhys plays a Soviet spy posing as a suburban American dad named "Philip Jennings." In the line of duty, he assumes numerous other personas, relying on an impressive array of wigs, facial hair and eyewear to maintain his cover.

Though the gloriously authentic 1980s hair and makeup certainly come in handy, it's Rhys who deserves the credit for pulling off such remarkable dramatic contortions.

PHOTOS: TV shows and their spinoffs

"I'm always trying to find what's the truth in this moment," says Rhys, clad in a chambray shirt and cargo pants, an inconspicuously cool ensemble that would be a great disguise for a spy hiding out in Brooklyn — though...

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Drew Carey and Cheryl Burke were the latest couple to be eliminated.

'Dancing With the Stars' recap: Who got pimped out on Party Anthems Night?

Get out those glow sticks and confetti guns, because “Dancing With the Stars” went full-on rager for its Party Anthems Night. And the glitterverse was even more sparkly and festive than usual in Week 6, with the remaining eight stars moving and shaking to some of music’s most bumpin' dance hits.

To go along with the party vibe, the producers brought in Red Foo from LMFAO as guest judge. And while he may not know anything about ballroom dancing, Foo's rampant woooos!, appropriately sparkly attire, and infectious enthusiasm were a welcome addition to the judges’ table and helped to turn the glitterverse’s excitement factor up to 11. Loved how Foo had his own animal print party-style set of paddles and enthusiastically announced each score (“NINE!”). Red Foo judged. He performed. He made everyone wear his ridiculously big bedazzled glasses and entreated the audience to get ridiculous. And everyone gladly did.

Though the Mirrorball party had to end...

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TV doctors are recalled in "Pioneers of Television." Anthony Edwards, left, and George Clooney in "ER."

Tuesday's TV Highlights: 'Pioneers of Television' on KOCE

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

Click here to download TV listings for the week of April 20 - 26, 2014 in PDF format

This week's TV Movies



SERIES

30 for 30 The sports-centered series opens "Soccer Stories" with two documentaries: "Maradona '86" which looks back at the 1986 World Cup heroics of Diego Maradona as he led Argentina to the title, and "The Opposition" recalling Chile in the 1974 World Cup. 4 p.m. ESPN and 6 p.m. ESPN2

Glee It's Rachel's (Lea Michele) Broadway debut in the opening night of "Funny Girl." 8 p.m. Fox

Pioneers of Television Noah Wyle, Anthony Edwards, Gloria Reuben, Eriq LaSalle, Howie Mandel, Ed Begley Jr. and Christina Pickles discuss their medical dramas in the new episode "Doctors and Nurses." 8 p.m. KOCE

SupernaturalSheriff Mills (Kim Rhodes) kills a vampire who attacked one of her prisoners (Katherine Ramdeen), then calls the Winchester brothers (Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki) for help in this new episode. 9 p.m....

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Actress Keke Palmer attends a film screening at the White House in Washington, D.C., of "The Trip to Bountiful." The 20-year-old is set to host a new talk show on BET.

Keke Palmer becomes TV's youngest talk show host with new BET program

Keke Palmer legally cannot buy beer. But she can host a daily talk show.

The 20-year-old actress who has appeared in "Akeelah and the Bee," "The Longshots" and was featured in the title role of Nickelodeon's "True Jackson, VP," has been signed to host a new daily talk show being produced by BET Networks and Telepictures that is scheduled to debut in July.

The series establishes Palmer as the youngest TV talk show host ever.

The show, which has the working title of "The Keke Palmer Project," will "target millennials by covering a variety of topics, including fashion, social media, pop culture, sex and more," according to a news release.

PHOTOS: Talk show hosts who didn't make the cut

Celebrity interviews, "on the street" bits and undercover segments will be part of the mix for the series, which is being touted as a natural progression from Palmer's deep identification with fans via social media.

"I like to read quotes that touch on how I am feeling," Palmer said in a statement. "If I am...

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Producer Rick Hall, right, shown with singer Clarence Carter, is a central figure in Greg Camalier's documentary "Muscle Shoals," airing Monday on PBS' "Independent Lens."

Review: 'Muscle Shoals' on PBS' 'Independent Lens'

Coming to PBS on Monday via "Independent Lens," Greg Camalier's documentary film "Muscle Shoals" tells the story of the artists behind the artists whose names went on the label -- musicians such as David Hood, Roger Hawkins, Jimmy Johnson, Barry Beckett and Spooner Oldham, little known to most, but already legend to readers of album credits.

Set among the studios and players that turned an "undescript little town" (as local girl and Grateful Dead backup singer Donna Jean Godchaux calls it) into a recording capital, it begins, unfortunately, with a voice-over from Bono ("It's about alchemy, it's about turning metal, the iron in the ground, the rust, into gold"), who has surely exceeded the statutory limit on documentary appearances and is about the thousandth person you'd think of in connection with Alabama-made soul music. But Wilson Pickett's "Land of 1000 Dances" promptly arrives to clear the palate.

In its celebration of the unsung, "Muscle Shoals" resembles "Twenty Feet From...

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The avalanche on Mt. Everest on Friday was the deadliest recorded in the mountain's history.

Discovery's Mt. Everest jump stunt canceled after avalanche disaster

The massive avalanche on Mt. Everest that killed 16 Nepalese mountain guides has caused Discovery to have second thoughts about its planned stunt in which jumper Joby Ogwyn was to leap off the mountain in a specially made wing suit.

In a statement released Sunday, the cable channel said, "In light of the overwhelming tragedy at Mt. Everest and respect for the families of the fallen, Discovery Channel will not be going forward with Everest Jump Live. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the whole Sherpa community."

The original plan had been to air the jump as a live broadcast May 11, hoping to re-create the media and ratings success of tightrope walker Nik Wallenda's high wire walk across a portion of the Grand Canyon.

PHOTOS: Stories that leapt from big to small screen (and vice versa)

"Skywire Live" aired last summer in 200 countries and was Discovery's highest-rated live event, drawing an average of 10.7 million viewers during the two-hour, 20-minute special. 

Ogwyn was on Everest at...

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A scene from "Mad Men."

'Mad Men' recap: The Valentine's Day massacre

“Mad Men” is almost always more successful when it approaches Important Social Issues obliquely rather than head-on. Last year’s “The Flood” was widely panned for its awkward and heavy-handed depiction of Martin Luther’s King’s assassination and its aftermath. In contrast, “A Day’s Work” may be the smartest, most sensitive this show has ever been on the subject of race, mostly because on the surface it’s not about race at all, but rather an almost farcical chain of events set off by a bouquet of flowers. Both as drama and as history lesson, seeing how white people treat African Americans on an average workday is far more instructive than listening to them ruminate about race relations in the wake of a national tragedy.

The entire episode takes place on Valentine’s Day, 1969. Whether it’s Christmas, Thanksgiving or New Year’s Eve, holidays are always an interesting time on “Mad Men,” and in...

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From left are "Silicon Valley" cast members Kumail Nanjiani, Martin Starr, Thomas Middleditch, Zach Woods and T.J. Miller.

HBO renews 'Silicon Valley' and 'Veep'

Good news for Mike Judge fans. The writer-director's new HBO series "Silicon Valley" has been renewed for a second season. HBO announced the renewal on Monday, along with the fourth-season renewal of its Julia Louis-Dreyfus comedy "Veep." 

Both comedies, which air after HBO's massive hit "Game of Thrones," have done well by critics this season. "Silicon Valley" is Judge's return to series TV after his hit "King of the Hill" ended in 2010 and "The Goode Family" was canceled after 13 episodes on ABC in 2009.  

The series has aired three episodes of its eight-episode first season. Though fans will be thrilled to continue to follow the tech world satire starring Thomas Middleditch and T.J. Miller, the second season will be without the brilliant Christopher Evan Welch, whose portrayal of venture capitalist Peter Gregory has attracted much attention. Welch died during filming of the first season, though his death will not be addressed until Season 2.

PHOTOS: TV shows and their spinoffs

"...

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A casket carrying the body of British celebrity Peaches Geldof arrives at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene and St. Lawrence in Faversham in southern England.

Peaches Geldof funeral: British TV personality is mourned by fans

Family and friends mourned British TV personality, journalist and socialite Peaches Honeyblossom Geldof at a private funeral in a 12th century church in southern England on Monday.

Geldof, 25, was the daughter of Irish musician and political activist Bob Geldof and the late British TV host and model Paula Yates. She was found dead in the home she shared with her husband, rocker Thomas Cohen and their two sons, Astala and Phaedra, on April 7.

The death is being treated as "sudden and unexplained," pending the results of a toxicology report.

Monday's funeral saw a parade of somber mourners including celebrity friends Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, as well as former Rolling Stones' bassist Bill Wyman, model Jo Wood, British television presenter Mariella Frostrup and actress Trudie Styler.

PHOTOS: Daughters of rock stars

Fans lined the road leading to the Church of St. Mary Magdalene and St. Lawrence. Thanks to her outsized personality and often wild life, Geldof had been an object...

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'Orphan Black' is back! Co-creator Graeme Manson tells us about it

"Orphan Black," BBC America's surprise sci-fi hit, returned for its second season on Saturday night, and it's bigger, bolder and better than ever.

Tatiana Maslany's coterie of clones is battling for survival, sanity and answers, with Sarah desperately seeking daughter Kira, Cosima digging deeper into the neolutionists' labs, Alison vacillating between craft-room-neatening super mom and gun-toting vigilante -- and Rachael, apparently, running the whole she-bang.

Oh and that wacky Ukrainian Helena is still alive! How on Earth...?

PHOTOS: Behind the scenes of movies and TV

Need to talk about it? We sure do.  And this week, we're going directly to the source -- co-creator Graeme Manson. He'll be joining TV reporter Yvonne Villarreal and TV critic Mary McNamara at noon Monday to talk all things clones, except, of course, spoilers.

Tweet questions and comments using the hashtag #askLATimes.

ALSO:

Tatiana Maslany is no longer just faces in a crowd

Who knew a show about clones could be this...

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Michael Vartan and Vera Farmiga in a scene from "Bates Motel."

A&E, History and Lifetime join Apple TV

Are you psycho for "Bates Motel" but lost without cable? Cheer up, lil' Internet TV viewer. A&E Networks announced on Monday that it has launched A&E, History and Lifetime content on Apple TV.

That means more than just "Bates Motel"; it includes popular shows like "Storage Wars," "Project Runway," "Devious Maids" and "Pawn Stars."

Apple TV launched in early 2007 and offered a novel way to watch content from the Internet on a regular HDTV. The latest third-generation model was released in 2013.

PHOTOS: Behind the scenes of movies and TV

By joining Apple TV, A&E becomes part of Apple TV offerings, including content from the iTunes Store, NetFlix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, Vevo and more.

“We’re excited to deliver our hit programming from A&E, History and Lifetime to Apple TV users,” said Dan Suratt, executive vice president of digital media and business development for A&E Networks in a news release. “With the response we've seen from our content on iOS devices and on...

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Rumpelstiltskin and Zelena share a kiss.

'Once Upon a Time' recap: The many lives of Cora

On this week's episode of "Once Upon a Time", our fearless heroes learned Zelena's evil plan when Belle puts together why Zelena is collecting certain things and Snow gets possessed, Whoopi-Goldberg-in-"Ghost" style by Cora. A recap:

This week's parallel stories featured Regina, Snow, Charming, Hook and Emma trying to contact Cora (Regina's mother, killed by Snow ... awkward!), a look back at young Cora, and Rumpelstiltskin trying to charm the dagger away from Zelena. A lot of ground was covered.

Back in medieval times, a young Cora falls for Prince Jonathan, who proposes to her with a simple ring made of straw, which he promises to turn into a gold ring (Hey, straw into gold, sound familiar?) in two weeks when he returns to her to whisk her away from her life as a bar waitress. She decides to spend the night with him to consummate their true love. When she goes to the designated rendezvous in two weeks, he is nowhere to be found.

PHOTOS: The funny, the spooky and the ugly of TV...

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Riley, left, Granddad and Huey  in season four of animated TV series "The Boondocks."

'Boondocks' is back — but without creative voice Aaron McGruder

Clouded by a stunning creative split and a hiatus that stretched close to four years, "The Boondocks," the edgy animated comedy about two young African American boys from the inner city grappling with life in the suburbs, is finally returning Monday to Cartoon Network's Adult Swim block — a relaunch being greeted by the show's legion of fans with both celebration and concern.

Propelling the cautious reception is reaction to the absence of Aaron McGruder, who created the series as well as the groundbreaking comic strip that sparked the show about 10-year-old black militant Huey Freeman, his gangsta-wanna-be younger brother, Riley, and their guardian, the gruff Granddad.

McGruder, who has always been fiercely protective of "The Boondocks," has been underground and all but silent since Adult Swim announced last month that the coming fourth and final season had been produced without his participation, "when a mutually agreeable production schedule could not be reached."

PHOTOS: TV...

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Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) and her army of warrior-eunuchs stand ready to liberate the slave city of Meereen on "Game of Thrones."

'Game of Thrones' recap: Another slave city about to fall?

After liberating the strongholds of Astapor and Yunkai with astounding speed, Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) sets her sights on Meereen – the mother of all slave cities – in “Breaker of Chains,” Episode 33 of HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”

Daenerys gained the city’s attention with her eunuch army and three fearsome dragons. Next she gains the city’s respect by pitting her champion Daario Naharis (Michiel Huisman) against Meereen’s mightiest warrior.

Not much of a fight, turns out. Daario topples the warrior’s charging horse with a well-aimed knife throw and kills the stunned rider seconds later.

PHOTOS: Meet the 'Game of Thrones' cast without their costumes

Then Daenerys reaches out to Meereen’s massive slave population.

“I am not your enemy,” she promises. “Your enemy is beside you.”

Underscoring her call for rebellion, wooden barrels are catapulted over the city walls. The barrels shatter to...

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Host Neil deGrasse Tyson in the latest episode of "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey."

'Cosmos' recap: Getting a fix on Earth's age, and the danger of lead

It’s often said that science can be a double-edged sword, used for good or ill. The same can be said for a material like lead, as we learn in this week’s "Cosmos."

The time: 1966. The place: Pasadena, where a Caltech geochemist named Clair Patterson (“Pat” to his friends) is walking down a city street, clearly anxious as he sees “danger from an invisible menace” everywhere — which the animated teaser portrays as purple splotches contaminating surfaces everywhere. Patterson’s research on determining the true age of the Earth had revealed a grave threat to human health — and over the course of the episode, we’ll find out just what that threat is, and why Patterson fought so passionately all his life to get the powers that be to address it.

But first, a mini crash course in the foundation for Patterson’s work is in order. Many scholars over the centuries had pondered just how old our Earth might be, including an Irish...

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The season finale of "Archer" delivers, on FX. Voices of Judy Greer, Aisha Tyler and H. Jon Bejnamin.

Monday's TV Highlights: 'Archer' on FX

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

Click here to download TV listings for the week of April 20 - 26, 2014 in PDF format

This week's TV Movies


SERIES

2 Broke Girls Hal Linden ("Barney Miller") guest stars in this new episode as the original tenant of Max and Caroline's (Kat Dennings, Beth Behrs) apartment. 8 p.m. CBS

Dancing With the Stars The couples dance to party anthems and Redfoo takes a turn as a guest judge. 8 p.m. ABC

Rewrapped In this spinoff of "Unwrapped," contestants try to re-create iconic snack foods such as Goldfish crackers. Joey Fatone hosts and Marc Summers is head judge. 8 p.m. Food

Friends With Better Lives Will (James Van Der Beek) decides he needs to be more adventurous, and he starts by sending racy texts to the woman he's started dating in this new episode. 8:30 p.m. CBS

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey This new episode goes back to a time long before the Earth was formed. 9 p.m. Nat Geo

Independent LensWhat do the songs "Brown...

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Veteran producer George Schlatter.

The finger of fate was never fickle to George Schlatter

Award-winning producer-writer-director George Schlatter is a kind of P.T. Barnum of the small screen.

An innovative showman, the 81-year-old Schlatter turned the comedy genre on its head with the hip, groundbreaking series "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In" (1968-73) and helped usher in the reality show format with "Real People" (1979-84)

But that's not all, folks. He also created the "American Comedy Awards," produced countless TV specials, including "A Party for Richard Pryor" and "Sinatra: 80 Years My Way," and earned more than a few honors for his work, including Emmys and Golden Globes.

PHOTOS: Behind-the-scenes Classic Hollywood

He was buds with the Rat Pack. He made stars out of unknowns Goldie Hawn and Lily Tomlin and was fired from "The Judy Garland Show" after five episodes because he and CBS disagreed about his vision for the variety series.

He broke down color barriers. In fact, Schlatter, who was once a white greeter at an African American club in Los Angeles, insisted in the...

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Whoopi Goldberg and Ving Rhames star in "A Day Late and a Dollar Short."

Review: 'A Day Late and a Dollar Short' gets short shrift on Lifetime

In this age of try-anything television, it's difficult to understand why Lifetime chose to cram the Terry McMillan novel "A Day Late and a Dollar Short" into a single made-for-TV movie.

Rich with plot and pathos that address difficult issues, including addiction and sexual abuse, the story could easily have sustained an abbreviated miniseries or two-part "special event."

As a movie, however, it just wastes the considerable talents of its cast by force-feeding the audience a hard-to-swallow meal that is by turns bitter and treacly.

PHOTOS: Behind the scenes of movies and TV

When longtime smoker Viola Price (Whoopi Goldberg) is told her next asthma attack may be her last, she takes a hard look at her contentious and troubled family and decides to do what she can to fix things. Heaven knows, she has her work cut out for her. Her husband Cecil (Ving Rhames) has left her and her son Lewis (Mekhi Phifer) is homeless, out of work and owes back child support. One daughter, Paris (Anika Noni...

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Janet Montgomery, left, and Ashley Madekwe star in WGN America's new series, "Salem."

Review: The witches of 'Salem' can't cast a spell

It seems strange to recall that just a few years ago, the scripted drama was on a death watch. Threatened by premium cable, falling ratings, reality television and the omnipotent menace of "the Internet," the hourlong nighttime drama seemed on the way of the variety show.

Now, of course, everyone with a network is seeking to rebrand itself with some highly produced historical drama or another.

"Salem," which debuts Sunday, is Tribune-owned WGN America's maiden voyage into the roiling waters of scripted drama. (Tribune also owns the Los Angeles Times.) Although there is some beauty in the brightwork (fabulous sets, ditto costumes), it is a motley vessel. She may stay afloat, but she is not yar. Revisiting the Salem witch trials, "Salem" is a hybrid of period detail and horror that seems overinfluenced by trendwatching and faith in the power and elasticity of Comic-Con.

PHOTOS: Faces to watch 2014 | TV

Return with us, if you will, to a time when dour Puritans belched threats of brimstone...

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Tatiana Maslany, as Sarah, top, and as her clone Rachel in BBC America's "Orphan Black."

Review: 'Orphan Black' turns out to be many times better than expected

"Orphan Black," which returns for its second season on BBC America on Saturday, is proof positive that you can't judge a show by its concept.

Before it debuted last year, it was easily dismissed. It was a show about clones, for heaven's sake. Not suspended in high-tech perpetual pre-harvest animation, or sequestered on an island with Michael Bay or conjured by the master of High Brit mournfulness Kazo Ishiguro.

These clones were a bunch of ordinary women running around modern-day Toronto (Toronto!) discovering each other and their origins even as forces evil and manipulative attempted to capture and/or kill them. And they were all played by a single actress who, quite frankly, no one had ever heard of.

Well, we've heard of her now.

RELATED: 'Orphan Black's' Tatiana Maslany is no longer just faces in the crowd

Tatiana Maslany, the star of "Orphan Black," may have an even bigger and more devoted fan following than her show, and that's saying something. Though many critics, including...

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Charlton Heston stars in the 1956 biblical epic "The Ten Commandments" on ABC. With Anne Baxter.

Saturday TV Highlights and Weekend Talk: 'The Ten Commandments'

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

Click here to download TV listings for the week of April 20 - 26, 2014 in PDF format

This week's TV Movies



SERIES

Orphan Black Tatiana Maslany stars as Sarah Manning, and her numerous clones in this science-fiction series returning for a new season. Kristian Bruun and Jordan Gavaris also star. 9 p.m. BBC America

The Real History of Science Fiction This new series delves into our fascination with sci-fi. Participants include William Shatner, Nathan Fillion, Richard Dreyfuss Chris Carter ("The X-Files") and more. 10 p.m. BBC America

SPECIALS

Billy Crystal 700 Sundays In his Broadway show, the comic discusses childhood memories, the unexpected death of his father, and becoming a comedian. 9 p.m. HBO

MOVIES

The Ten CommandmentsMoses (Charlton Heston) discovers his Hebrew heritage, hears God's call, and engages in a bitter battle with the Pharaoh Ramses (Yul Brynner) to free the Jews from slavery, leading them to the...

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A couple in love have never met in ABC's "In My Dreams." With Katharine McPhee.

TV This Week April 20 -26: 'In My Dreams' on ABC

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

Click here to download TV listings for the week of April 20 - 26, 2014 in PDF format

This week's TV Movies



SUNDAY

Which witch is which? That's the tricky part in the "Salem" of 1692 in this new supernatural drama. With Xander Berkeley and Shane West. 7 p.m. WGN America

Please, Mr. Postman: "Ugly Betty's" Eric Mabius stars in "Signed, Sealed, Delivered," a new drama from the creator of "Touched By an Angel." 8 p.m. Hallmark Channel

"American Idol's" Katharine McPhee stars "In My Dreams." Well, not my dreams, per se, but rather this new made-for-TV romance. 9 p.m. ABC

The standup special "Tracy Morgan: Bona Fide" has the former "30 Rock"-er cutting up in front of a hometown crowd in Brooklyn. 10 p.m. Comedy Central

"Devious Maids" still don't do windows when this nighttime soap returns with new episodes. With Ana Ortiz, Roselyn Sánchez and Judy Reyes. 10 p.m. Lifetime

"Filthy Riches" are yours for the taking, if you...

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This May 23, 2012 file photo shows Laura Spencer on ABC's "Good Morning America" show, in New York. ABC says it has promoted Lara Spencer to co-host status on "Good Morning America."

Lara Spencer promoted to co-host on 'Good Morning America'

Friday brought some good news for "Good Morning America's" Lara Spencer: The lifestyle anchor has been promoted to co-host along with Robin Roberts and George Stephanopoulos

The announcement was made via email by newly appointed ABC News President James Goldston, who praised Spencer's "style, humor, sunny confidence, wonderful journalism and storytelling."

"Lara is clearly an essential ingredient in the success we have enjoyed," he said. 

PHOTOS: Behind the scenes of movies and TV

Spencer joined "Good Morning America" three years ago after seven seasons hosting the syndicated entertainment magazine show "The Insider." Prior to that, she was a correspondent on "GMA."

Earlier this week, Michael Strahan made his debut as a part-time co-host on "GMA." The "Live!" co-host recently signed a deal to make several visits a week to the show. 

This week is a big one for "GMA," marking two years since it overtook NBC's "Today" in the ratings, breaking what had been a 16-year winning streak. 

AL...

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Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) and Hound (Rory McCann) in "Game of Thrones."

Relationships finally get more complicated on TV

Humans are hard-wired to seek symmetry, and nowhere is that more obvious than on TV.

From the days of "The Honeymooners" onward, most everything there boils down to pairs. In recent years these have come in three basic varieties: romance, bromance and BFFs. Two people forced to work/live/parent together battle their way through their differences until they become best buddies. A man and a woman bicker and bait each other until they fall in love. Friendships of youth are tested by the twists of time and maturity but invariably prove unbreakable.

Ensembles exist, but their ranks are inevitably defined by courtship — the female bonds of "Grey's Anatomy," the Jane Austen-approved ending of "How I Met Your Mother." "Modern Family's" convention flouting did not extend to including a singleton sibling, and even the alpha-male posturing of "True Detective" ended, in "Casablanca" fashion, with love conquering all and the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

TV PREVIEW: Full coverage of...

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Joe Morton and Kerry Washington in a scene from "Scandal."

'Scandal' recap: Olivia flies off into the sunset... for now

In Thursday’s “Scandal” season finale, Olivia finally seizes the opportunity to stand in the sun, boarding a plane bound for who-knows-where with Jake at her side, if not exactly in her heart. After the death of little Jerry, the bombing at Sen. Hightower’s funeral and her own father’s stabbing, Olivia decides that she is the real scandal, the common denominator in all the misfortune around her.

What Olivia doesn’t know is that by leaving, she won’t be making things better, she’s removing the last obstacle standing in the way of the person who’s truly the problem -- dear old Dad. It’s essentially a replay of her sabotage of B613 two weeks ago, which she thought would solve all her problems but only ended up putting Fitz’s life in danger. It used to be there wasn’t a single crisis Olivia Pope didn’t know how to manage, but now it seems every step our heroine takes has unintentionally devastating consequences....

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Dexter Roberts.

'American Idol' recap: Dexter Roberts' luck runs out

Doing the tried-and-true down-home country-anthem thang week after week carried Dexter Roberts pretty far this season on "American Idol," but not, alas, all the way to the end.

The good old boy from Alabama, who may have been as passionate about duck hunting and dog training as he was about singing, finally wore out his welcome with "Idol" voters. On Thursday night's results show (which included a peculiar cameo appearance by Kevin Bacon, who for some reason kicked off the show), they sent him back to the farm, just shy of reaching the top six.

Roberts had been a steady, if unspectacular, singer all season long, performing country ballads and boot-stompers solidly, simply and sometimes with admirable heart. His performance of "Lucky Man," which he originally sang some weeks back and reprisedThursday after learning he'd be leaving the show, had been among his best turns onstage, and then, as now, he seemed to believe every word of it. Lucky he was, though not quite lucky enough to have...

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Marc Petrocci flies in "Peter Pan From the Milwaukee Ballet" on KOCE.

Friday's TV Highlights: 'Peter Pan From the Milwaukee Ballet' on KOCE

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

Click here to download TV listings for the week of April 13 - 19, 2014 in PDF format

This week's TV Movies


SERIES

Unforgettable The murder of a defense attorney sends Carrie and Al (Poppy Montgomery, Dylan Walsh) on the hunt for a recent parolee who may have more scores to settle. Jane Curtin, Dallas Roberts, Tawny Cypress and James Hiroyuki Liao also star in this new episode. 8 p.m. CBS

Hart of Dixie Lemon and Zoe (Jaime King, Rachel Bilson) turn to each other for advice, while text messages from Vivian's (Lauren Bittner) ex-husband disturb Wade (Wilson Bethel), who's planned a night out with her. Tim Matheson also stars in this new episode. 9 p.m. KTLA

The Writers' Room The series returns with a visit with the creative team behind the hit show "Scandal." 9 p.m. Sundance

Blue Bloods A famous movie star (Marc Blucas), who researched a role by shadowing Danny (Donnie Wahlberg) is a stabbing victim of a stabbing in...

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Joan Rivers says Gwyneth Paltrow was not happy with the snarky things Rivers said about her on "Fashion Police."

Joan Rivers says Gwyneth Paltrow confronted her over 'Fashion Police'

Joan Rivers can always be relied on to speak her mind on talk shows; it's one of her many charms. And her appearance on Bravo's "Watch What Happens Live" on Wednesday did not disappoint. 

Asked by a viewer to recall the "worst backlash she ever received" for her snarky E! show "Fashion Police," the 80-year-old comedian didn't miss a beat in naming names.

"The worst criticism was, ugh, Gwyneth Paltrow," Rivers said, and made a face.

"She came in and yelled at us, but she stood up," Rivers said. "She couldn't sit down because she's got a stick up her rear end."

BEST TV OF 2013 Lloyd | McNamara

Host Andy Cohen had to cover his face to disguise his reaction to Rivers' blunt comments.

"The 'world's most beautiful woman' voted on by Helen Keller and Stevie Wonder," Rivers continued.

Even that made fellow guest Tracy Morgan go "Oohhhhh."

"You love a Helen Keller joke, don't you?" Cohen said.

ALSO:

 Valerie Harper clarifies that she is not cancer-free

Fans will see Kobe Bryant behind the...

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In a clarification, Valerie Harper says she is not cancer-free.

Valerie Harper clarifies that she is not cancer-free

Valerie Harper is not cancer-free. The actress clarified the point Thursday while in New York City on a press junket for her Hallmark Channel show, "Signed, Sealed, Delivered."

Clarification was needed thanks to an exclusive interview published in the latest issue of Closer Weekly magazine, in which the reporter quoted Harper as saying she was "cancer-free."

The mix-up occurred when Harper tried to convey her excitement about a recent full-body scan, during which her doctor told her that in the 30 years he had been practicing medicine, Harper was the only leptomeningeal carcinomatosis ("lepto") cancer patient he had seen without other cancers already present.

"I had just had my yearly full-body scan to determine if this sneaky cancer had migrated to other parts of my body.  Therefore, in completing that part of the story, I told the reporter with excitement that I was cancer-free," Harper said in a statement. "But what I meant to say was that my full-body scan revealed that I was still...

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Jake the Dog gets to the bottom of the cheesy crackers in "Wake Up," part one of the sixth season premiere of Cartoon Network's "Adventure Time."

TV Picks: 'Adventure Time,' shows on writing, 'Muscle Shoals,' more

'Adventure Time' (Cartoon Network, Mondays).Pendleton Ward's splendiferous cartoon series begins its sixth season. (Which is not to say sixth year; it has been on the air only since 2010). By any standard of inventiveness, intelligence, imagination, ambition, care, fearlessness, boldness, openness, humor, poetry and love I'd care to live my life by, it is as good as anything on television; and better than many more ballyhooed series that only seem superior, in the cultural agora and critical Thunderdome, by virtue of being populated by fleshly beings. This is not the show's failing, but the world's. Its own world, and worlds within the worlds that world contains, represent a full spectrum of human emotion and existential whatnot. There is birth and death and transfiguration; killing and creating; love and desire; wisdom and flatulence. It is dark and life-affirming, funny and frightening; the nice can be naughty and the naughty nice. It is not a cartoon made for children, but it is...

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Kobe Bryant, shown during a Lakers game in December.

Fans will see Kobe Bryant behind the scenes in Showtime doc

Lakers star Kobe Bryant has been out for most of this season with injuries and his team has suffered, but things are already looking bright for next season with Bryant's return and an intimate look behind the scenes with the basketball superstar in a new Showtime documentary, "Kobe Bryant's Muse."

The film from director Gotham Chopra (son of Deepak Chopra), is currently in production and is described as a "deep-character portrait" of Bryant, exploring his life, inspirations and challenges. It is expected to air this fall on Showtime.

Bryant is expected to return to the Lakers next season, and not a moment too soon. The team finished its season Wednesday with the sixth-worst record in the NBA. It was so bad, Bryant took off on vacation in France with his family before the season was even over, according to a report in The Times. 

PHOTOS: Celebrities by The Times

Though Chopra, who previously directed the ESPN "30 For 30" film "The Little Master," admits being a lifelong Boston Celtics...

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Alex Preston points to his pals on "American Idol."

'American Idol' recap: The Top 7 pick one another's songs

Ryan Seacrest promised "some surprises," when he kicked off the Top 7 (finally) performance show on Wednesday night. By that he probably meant the seemingly random stew of celebrity visitors featured in the show: Demi Lovato stopped by to sit and kibitz with mentor Randy Jackson, who as a result seemed even more superfluous than usual. NFL Hall of Famer and Fox host Terry Bradshaw dropped in to hang briefly with the judges and then, for some reason, with the band. Seventeen-year-old Dutch DJ Martin Garrix and UFC women's champ Ronda Rousey popped up in the audience to spout a few platitudinous words of advice.

If the parade of visitors was an attempt to suck in new (or younger) viewers during a ratings-challenged season, it's hard to imagine how it would pay off. It did manage to fill a bit of time, as did yet another round of the contestants rattling off lists of things we didn't know about them (and in the case of Jena Irene, who described peeing in her pants during her first band...

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Tatiana Maslany in "Orphan Black."

TV Picks: 'Orphan Black,' 'The Good Wife,' David Letterman

'Orphan Black.' Clone club members, rejoice; the second season of BBC America's surprise sci-fi hit is back, with a star that continues to dazzle in her ability to inhabit multiple characters and story lines that grow more thrilling and provocative with each episode. While much of the first season was devoted to establishing the complicated premise -- a young, brash grifter named Sarah (Tatiana Maslany) discovers that she is one of a group of clones created for mysterious reasons and in danger on many fronts--the second season digs deeper into the meaning, both actual and philosophical, of the experiment. 

Newcomers to the series would be best served catching up via Amazon Prime because creators Graeme Mason and John Fawcett are not given to internal recapping; they're far too interested in pushing the plot further. The search for Sarah's young daughter Kira, who has gone missing, along with Sarah's former foster mother,  Mrs. S. (Maria Doyle Kennedy), drives the A-plot, but each clone...

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Tatiana Maslany stars in "Orphan Black."

'Orphan Black's' Tatiana Maslany is no longer just faces in the crowd

Tatiana Maslany was sure the key to multiplicity rested in a yoga mat.

As the many faces of BBC America's clone conspiracy thriller "Orphan Black," the 28-year-old actress is chameleon-like, parading around the show's every-city metropolis as seven different characters — and counting. In one form or another, she has committed suicide by train; locked tongues with a female classmate/spy; threatened a man at hot glue gun-point; rocked out to a''90s one-hit wonder in the sanctity of a minivan.

She has even stabbed her other self. It's the sort of gig, on paper, that is characteristic of the multi-tasking abilities of her generation.

Then there's reality as creators Graeme Manson and John Fawcett saw it when they cast her for the part(s) in late 2012.

TV PREVIEW: Full coverage of the season's shows

"They said, 'This is going to be insane,'" said Maslany in a recent interview at her Los Angeles hotel room. "I said, 'Yeah, yeah, sure.' They were like, 'No, listen to us. It's going to...

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Nostalgic, sentimental, funny and four-hankie sad, "700 Sundays" is a valentine to Billy Crystal's past.

Billy Crystal revives '700 Sundays' for posterity's sake

When he turned 65, Billy Crystal decided to reprise "700 Sundays," his Tony Award-winning 2004 one-man show. The title refers to the number of Sundays he had with his father, Jack, before he died of a heart attack when Crystal was just 15.

"I never felt that I was done with the show," said Crystal, now 66, relaxing in one of the overstuffed white sofas in his Beverly Hills office, decorated with posters and pictures from his films such as "When Harry Met Sally," "City Slickers" and "Mr. Saturday Night," as well as photos of him with such friends as Muhammad Ali.

"Then I turned 65 and realized I had been 50 years without a father," said Crystal, serious and contemplative. "That is a long time. It felt like I wanted to do it one more time. So I said let's do a limited run."

PHOTOS: Behind the scenes of movies and TV

Last November he opened a run on Broadway. "The ticket sales were unbelievable," Crystal said. But about three weeks in, he realized "maybe it is time to stop" and that the...

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Henry Jennings (Keidrich Sellati) and his father, Philip Jennings (Matthew Rhys), show off their new Camaro Z28 on "The Americans."

'The Americans' recap: Philip too westernized? Nyet!

Has KGB spy Philip Jennings (Matthew Rhys) grown too comfortable living in the U.S.A.?

By owning a profitable travel agency, is he forsaking Mother Russia and embracing “decadent” Western values?

That’s what spy wife Elizabeth (Keri Russell) fears when Philip buys a pricey Camaro in “New Car,” Episode 8 of the Cold War drama “The Americans” on FX.

The macho muscle car represents power and freedom -- just like America. And that’s fine with Philip.

“Don’t you enjoy any of this?” he asks Elizabeth, referring to their lovely home and expensive clothing they could never afford in the U.S.S.R.

“It’s nice here, yes,” Elizabeth replies. “It’s easier. It’s not better.”

PHOTOS: TV shows and their spinoffs

Philip’s excitement about the sexy Chevy evaporates, however, when he’s devastated by news from his KGB handler, Kate (Wrenn Schmidt). Blueprints for a high-tech propeller...

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Joel McHale stars in the season finale of "Community" on NBC.

Thursday's TV Highlights: 'Community' on NBC

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

Click here to download TV listings for the week of April 13 - 19, 2014 in PDF format

This week's TV Movies



SERIES

30 for 30 The late '80s-early '90s heyday of the NBA's Detroit Pistons is revisited in "Bad Boys," featuring interviews with Isaiah Thomas, Dennis Rodman and others. 5 p.m. ESPN

Community The quirky campus-set sitcom concludes its fifth season. 8 p.m. NBC

Secret Societies of Hollywood This reality series shines a light on the shady doings of Tinseltown wheelers, dealers and scene-stealers. 8 p.m. E!

Parks and Recreation "Key & Peele's" Keegan-Michael Key guest stars as Donna's (Retta) former flame in this new episode. 8:30 p.m. NBC

Life Below Zero This unscripted series about hardy souls carving out an existence in the wilds of Alaska returns with new episodes. 9 p.m. National Geographic

The Crazy OnesThe sitcom starring Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar ends its freshman season with a double...

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Participant Media CEO Jim Berk, left, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Chris Sullivan, Pivot Senior Vice President of Alternative Programming Belisa Balaban, Anthony Veneziale, Chris Jackson, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Pivot President Evan Shapiro, Bill Sherman and Arthur Lewis at Pivot's live taping of "Freestyle Love Supreme" at Joe's Pub last month in New York.

Participant Media bets big on Pivot with new original programming

Pivot, the Participant Media network devoted to courting the coveted millennial demographic, is betting big on its youthful attraction.

It announced at its upfront presentation in New York City on Wednesday that it is increasing its commitment to original series with four new shows, 11 series in development and more than 300 hours of original programming in 2014.

Among the greenlighted programs is "Fortitude," a 12-episode original series starring Stanley Tucci, Michael Gambon and Luke Treadaway.

PHOTOS: Faces to watch 2014 | TV

In addition, the second season of the comedy "Please Like Me," will launch Aug. 8; and Embassy Row teamed up with Pivot to produce a new season of "TakePart Live," which launches  May 12 and is hosted by Meghan McCain and Jacob Soboroff.

Other production companies Pivot has paired up with include IAC’s Electus, Universal Cable Productions, FremantleMedia North America/Pukeko Pictures, Funny or Die and Eyeworks.

“Pivot’s first slate established...

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Billy Bob Thornton plays Lorne Malvo in "Fargo."

'Fargo' gets strong start in ratings

Crime does pay, apparently, as the first episode of FX's new series "Fargo" premiered Tuesday to strong ratings.

The first installment of a 10-episode limited series inspired by Joel and Ethan Coen's Oscar-winning 1996 film of the same name drew 4.15 million viewers over three telecasts on Tuesday night. It delivered 1.79 million viewers in the key demographic of adults 18-49.

John Landgraf, chief executive of FX Networks and FX Productions, said in a statement that he was "incredibly proud" of the show's reception. "This is truly one of the best shows we've ever had on the network."

PHOTOS: WGA’s top 101 shows of all time

FX ran a risk by taking a film by the fan and critical favorite Coen brothers and turning it into a series, but rather than attempt to retell the story of hapless car dealer Jerry Lundegaard and the pregnant police chief Marge Gunderson (William H. Macy and Frances McDormand in the film), the series tells a new story with new characters. 

Martin Freeman, Billy...

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"The Americans," with Keidrich Sellati and Keri Russell, has been renewed for a third season.

FX salutes 'The Americans' with a third season pickup

The Russians are coming ... again.

"The Americans," FX's drama about Russian KGB  spies masquerading as a suburban American married  couple, has been renewed for a third season of 13 episodes.

The series, which stars Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys and Noah Emmerich, is currently in its second season.

PHOTOS: WGA’s top 101 shows of all time

"The Americans" was created by and is executive produced by Joe Weisberg, a former CIA agent who went on to become an author and screenwriter.

ALSO:

Bill O'Reilly snarks on Stephen Colbert's new gig

Conan O'Brien airs 'very rare' footage of Jesus' domestic life

Co-hosts to reunite on 'The View' for Barbara Walters' farewell

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Conan O'Brien airs 'very rare footage' of Jesus' domestic life

Is "Oh, Jesus" really a new series on TBS? 

No, but it is part of the mini-sketch Conan O'Brien aired on his show Tuesday night riffing on the news that an ancient papyrus scroll had been discovered with purported proof that Jesus had a wife.

"We have something better than a 'scroll' to prove that Jesus was married," O'Brien told the audience. "Don't ask us how, we actually have very rare footage."

He couldn't even get through the set-up without laughing at the ridiculousness of it.

So in O'Brien's "footage" we see Jesus and wife in not exactly domestic bliss.

Interesting facts to note for Christian historians: Jesus' wife apparently called him "Jeez" around the house. And was not a fan of his miracles, at least when applied to domestic chores.

She apparently had no problems with Jesus turning water into chardonnay.

And in case there's any confusion, this is all a comedy bit. No footage exists. At least, none that O'Brien is willing to show us.

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Bill O'Reilly snarks on Stephen...

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"The View's" Barbara Walters, right, with Whoopi Goldberg, left, Jenny McCarthy, political commentator/guest Margaret Hoover and Sherri Shepherd. The ABC show will gather all 11 past and present co-hosts to salute the retiring Walters in a first-ever reunion that will air May 15.

Co-hosts to reunite on 'The View' for Barbara Walters farewell

All 11 current and former co-hosts will be reunited on "The View" on May 15, the day before Barbara Walters retires after more than five decades in broadcast journalism, ABC announced Wednesday. 

Stopping by to bid farewell will be former co-hosts Rosie O'Donnell, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Joy Behar, Star Jones, Debbie Matenopoulos, Meredith Vieira and Lisa Ling. Also present will be the current lineup of Jenny McCarthy, Whoopi Goldberg and Sherri Shepherd.

"Barbara Walters’ status as a trailblazer, a legend and an icon are undeniable,” said Paul Lee, ABC Entertainment president, in a statement.

PHOTOS: Talk show hosts who didn’t make the cut

The unprecedented reunion is no small feat, given the show's sometimes contentious history.  O'Donnell and Hasselbeck were known for clashing bitterly over politics, while Jones left "The View" acrimoniously in 2006. Matenopoulos, one of the original co-hosts on "The View" when it premiered in 1997, bears the distinction of being the...

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Usher, second from left, picks his top three -- T.J. Wilkins, left, Josh Kaufman and Bria Kelly -- to take through to the live rounds.

'The Voice' recap: Usher picks his best three, rewards talent

In the final night of the playoffs on "The Voice," the five members of Team Usher took the stage to perform songs they'd chosen themselves in hopes of being among the three singers selected by their coach to compete in the live shows.

T.J. Wilkins, the music student out of South-Central Los Angeles, sought to show off his "soulful essence," as Usher put it, on Rufus and Chaka Kahn's "Tell Me Something Good," which was written by Stevie Wonder, one of Wilkins' heroes. Usher had instructed Wilkins to sound like "horns." Not sure about that, but he did sound good.



"The audience loved you," Shakira told Wilkins, calling his performance "soulful" and "committed" and commending him on a high note that was "the ace under your sleeve." Adam Levine admired the song choice and the way Wilkins sought to entertain. Getting the audience on his side was the key to making it to the end of the competition, Levine said, advising Wilkins to "keep that" as his "target." Blake Shelton said he finally...

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Naturalist Joe Hutto gets up close and personal with a family of mule deer in "Touching the Wild" on a new "Nature" on KOCE.

Wednesday's TV highlights and talk shows: 'Nature' and more

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

Click here to download TV listings for the week of April 13 - 19, 2014 in PDF format

This week's TV Movies


SERIES

Arrow Oliver, Canary, Diggle and Felicity (Stephen Amell, Caity Lotz, David Ramsey, Emily Bett Rickards) confront Slade (Manu Bennett) at the lair, and the resulting battle sends one member of Team Arrow to the hospital. 8 p.m. KTLA

American Idol The finalists perform songs selected by their competitors in this new episode. 8 p.m. Fox

Nature In the new episode "Touching the Wild," naturalist Joe Hutto bonds with a wild mule deer family. 8 p.m. KOCE

The 100 Clarke's (Eliza Taylor) new relationship with Finn (Thomas McDonell) faces a threat in this new episode. 9 p.m. KTLA

Nova This new installment of "Inside Animal Minds" documents the high-powered senses of dogs, sharks and birds. 9 p.m. KOCE

Your Inner FishA new episode looks at parts of the human body – such as skin, teeth and ears –...

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Stephen Colbert makes an appearance on "Late Show" in 2012. He'll be back on the program on Tuesday.

Stephen Colbert to visit 'Late Show With David Letterman' next Tuesday

The announcements have been made and the pundits have commented. Now it's time for America to witness the first public meeting between Stephen Colbert and David Letterman since the announcement was made that Colbert would be taking over CBS' late-night slot sometime next year.

Colbert has appeared on Letterman's show 12 times since the premiere of his Comedy Central show, "The Colbert Report," in 2005. But when he sits down on "Late Show" next Tuesday, he'll be there kicking the tires and seeing how the audience treats him.

Face-to-face with the man who will one day take over his job, will Letterman suddenly have second thoughts and renounce his retirement plans? Doubtful. By all accounts, the late-night veteran has been pleased with CBS' choice of host to replace him and even referred to Colbert as a "friend" in a statement.

WATCH: Stephen Colbert out of character

What's still unclear is if Colbert will be appearing on "Late Show" as himself or as the ultra-conservative version of...

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Creative teams from NBCUniversal cable and broadcast networks, as well as its Creative Innovation Agency, will work closely with top production teams from around the industry to create programming.

NBCUniversal launches original programming initiative for digital

NBCUniversal is unveiling an initiative to produce original video that will be featured on the company's digital platforms and national video-on-demand and will be promoted on its TV networks.

The initiative will debut first on channel websites, Hulu and video-on-demand. It is designed to connect advertising brands with consumers. In many cases, the development of original series will be in direct collaboration with advertising partners.

Creative teams from NBCUniversal cable and broadcast networks, as well as its Creative Innovation Agency, will work closely with top production teams from around the industry to create programming for viewers who frequent its digital platforms daily.

PHOTOS: Talk show hosts who didn't make the cut

For instance, Universal Cable Productions will unveil more than a dozen original projects including "Tesla and Twain" and "Last Single Girl."

"Tesla and Twain" is a comedic series based loosely on the real friendship between Mark Twain and Nikola Tesla but...

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Bill O'Reilly snarks on Stephen Colbert's new gig

Papa Bear is angry that his acolyte is leaving, it seems. 

On Monday night's edition of "The O'Reilly Factor," a reader wrote in to host Bill O'Reilly commenting on CBS' choice of Stephen Colbert to take over late night from the retiring David Letterman.

While Colbert's Comedy Central show, "The Colbert Report," is a deliberate parody of "The O'Reilly Factor" and Colbert refers to O'Reilly as Papa Bear on the air, the Fox News host seemed less than positive about Colbert's prospects in his new role.

"Traditionally late night has been light and breezy, with a minimum of political posturing," O'Reilly said. "But Colbert has built an entire career on pleasing the left."

VIDEO: Stephen Colbert out of character

"It'll be hard to fathom that 40% of Americans who describe themselves as conservative will watch Colbert. And that's a lot of folks to lose from the jump."

O'Reilly wasn't entirely dismissive, however, concluding, "Colbert will have good writers, and surely he knows his challenge....

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Conan O'Brien reveals the secret to his signature hairdo

Conan O'Brien has gotten a lot of comic mileage out of his distinctive pompadour of red hair that juts up in the middle of his scalp like a wave. But it wasn't until O'Brien hosted the MTV Movie Awards on Sunday that he finally revealed the secret (and the work) behind how he gets that hair.

"A lot of snafus last night," O'Brien told his audience during his Monday night monologue. "I almost wasn't ready for the show when it began. It came right down to the wire."

If the setting looks familiar in this video, it's because O'Brien is parodying Christian Bale's introduction in "American Hustle," meticulously arranging the final wisps of hair on top of his scalp. 

PHOTOS: Celebrities by The Times

While O'Brien may have been taken enough with "American Hustle" to do a parody of it, the MTV Movie Awards audience chose to honor "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" as the favorite movie of the year.

Two things we will never fully understand: the minds of the MTV Movie Awards audience and the...

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Shakira, second from left, with her final three: Tess Boyer, left, Kristen Merlin and Dani Moz.

'The Voice' recap: Teams Shakira and Adam wow in playoffs

Teams Shakira and Adam stepped up and sang songs of their own choosing during Season 6's second night of playoffs on Monday. And they did it surprisingly well, leaving their coaches, who each had to pick only three singers to take through to the live rounds as part of the top 12 and send two home, with tough decisions.

Well, maybe not that tough. The three most solid singers on each team quickly emerged, so when it came time to make the call, both coaches' choices were fairly clear-cut.

Team Shakira went first:

BEST TV OF 2013 Lloyd | McNamara

Kristen Merlin, who'd left an exciting career as a document research specialist to pursue one in country music, took the stage with a full-throttle rendition of Carrie Underwood's "Two Black Cadillacs," earning a standing ovation from her own coach as well as rival coach Adam Levine.

nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;...

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Michael Strahan makes debut as 'Good Morning America' co-host

The increasingly ubiquitous Michael Strahan continued his quest to take over the airwaves Tuesday, making his debut as a part-time co-host on ABC's "Good Morning America." 

He received a warm welcome -- and even a few gifts -- from his new a.m. colleagues. "We love you, we love Kelly. So excited you're going to join us a couple of days a week," said Robin Roberts.  

CRITICS' PICKS: What to watch, where to go, what to eat

In a deal announced this month, the former NFL star will be making several visits to the show each week. That's in addition to his daily gig as co-host of the ABC-produced "Live! with Kelly and Michael," where he's been since September 2012. During the football season, Strahan also provides analysis on "Fox NFL Sunday," which tapes in California, and has indicated he would like to continue in that role.  

"It's a pleasure to get up early because you guys have been so good to us as well," Strahan said on "GMA" Tuesday. "It's a family. So we appreciate you guys as well....

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Students who deal with learning issues work on reciting Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.

Review: Ken Burns' 'The Address' shows boys memorizing Lincoln's words

Ken Burns' new documentary, "The Address," which premieres Tuesday on PBS, is not at all what we have come to think of as a Ken Burns film.

There are no celebrity voices reading documents of the dead; no narrator reading the words of Geoffrey C. Ward; no team of experts to elucidate the American past or an American pastime; no Buck O'Neil to bring back a world lost, but remembered. No "Ken Burns Effect," for that matter, the signature, all-but-patented, slow, close caress of old photographs that has taken his name.

Indeed, though the address at hand is the one Lincoln gave at Gettysburg, the past is barely present here. Rather, this moving "small" film is a contemporary piece, a fly-mostly-on-the-wall documentary about the Greenwood School, a Vermont boarding school where students — "bright and talented" boys from 11 to 17 with a range of "complex learning differences" — study, learn and publicly perform the Great Emancipator's 272-word, 1863 battleground cemetery speech.

B...

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Billy Bob Thornton as Lorne Malvo in "Fargo."

Review: 'Fargo' blazes a dark new trail on TV

The Coen brothers' 1996 comedy-noir masterpiece "Fargo" wasn't so much a movie as it was a cultural event — you remember where you were when you first saw it. That endless yet claustrophobic snow scape, the anxious narcissism of William H. Macy's scheming car salesman, the glory of Frances McDormand's pregnant police chief Marge.

It blew out the wall between hilarity and horror to prove that both dwell in the same landscape. It showed that senseless violence was simply one more item on the spectrum of human behavior, alongside love and honor and courage.

In many ways, this revelation led to the birth of modern television. Three years after "Fargo," HBO debuted "The Sopranos," which took the characteristics represented by "Fargo's" characters and put them into one person: A mobster with panic attacks.

And so began TV's obsession with excavating human consciousness via the most troubled characters we could create. The line between Macy's twitchy Jerry Lundegaard and Bryan Cranston'...

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Youth was not on their side.

'Dancing With the Stars' recap: A Disney night shocker!

Now that we’re halfway through Season 18, “Dancing With the Stars” has made a nod to ABC’s parent company and star Meryl Davis’ uncanny resemblance to Jasmine the princess in Disney theme night, which host Tom Bergeron likened to Disney on Ice -- but without the ice!

All the original star/pro partnerships are back, to the delight of most. “We’re doing some conscious recoupling,” Tom quipped.

Though the couple who did not end this evening happily ever after came as a shock: Cody Simpson and Witney Carson. (Low-scorers Candace Cameron Bure and Mark Ballas were also in jeopardy, but not necessarily in the bottom two.) 

PHOTOS: 'Dancing With the Stars' Season 18 cast

The gasps that came from the audience showed this went over like the reality ballroom equivalent of the “Game of Thrones” purple wedding (cue the Rains of Castamere, but set to a pop beat). Apparently Cody’s gaggle of teenage fans invaded the ballroom in droves...

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Jenna (Ashley Rickards) in season three of MTV's "Awkward."

Tuesday's TV Highlights: 'Awkward' on MTV

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

Click here to download TV listings for the week of April 13 - 19, 2014 in PDF format

This week's TV Movies


SERIES

Pioneers of Television Jerry Seinfeld, Bob Newhart and others who went from "Standup to Sitcom" are spotlighted in this new installment. 8 p.m. KOCE

Nick News With Linda Ellerbee "Sidelined: How Safe Are Kids' Sports?" looks at the increase in injuries in children's sports and how such injuries might be prevented. 8 p.m. Nickelodeon

Celebrity Wife Swap Daniel Baldwin, Jermaine Jackson and their respective significant others are featured on the return of this reality series. 10 p.m. ABC

Fargo Billy Bob Thornton heads the cast of this drama inspired by the Coen brothers' 1996 crime tale. 10 p.m. FX

Awkward The teen-themed comedy-drama starring Ashley Rickards is back with an hour-long episode. 10 p.m. MTV

Southern Justice Catch a preview of this new documentary series, set to premiere next fall, about...

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School children attempt to learn and recite the Gettysburg Address in Ken Burns' "The Address."

'The Address': Ken Burns on the Gettysburg Address and binge watching

For his latest documentary, "The Address," Ken Burns changed up his traditional style of sprawling looks at major historical events in favor of a short, cinema verite look at the lives of young boys at a Vermont school who are challenged to memorize and recite the Gettysburg Address. 

The 90-minute film, which airs Tuesday on PBS, follows the lives of the boys of the Greenwood School in Putney, Vt., who are all grappling with learning disadvantages as they attempt to learn and understand President Abraham Lincoln's short but powerful speech.

Q: You changed your signature filmmaking style for "The Address." Were you seeking a change and this opportunity presented itself or the other way around?

BEST TV OF 2013 Lloyd | McNamara

A: The other way around. I was invited as a neighbor to go to the school and judge the Gettysburg contest about 10 years ago and just wept when I saw the heroic, inspiring efforts of the kids. And I thought somebody should make a film. That’s cinema verite,...

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KCET sold its former studio space in Los Angeles (seen here in 2012) and has relocated to Burbank.

KCETLink adds Jeffrey Levine, Dan German to board of directors

KCETLink, the struggling parent company of former PBS outlet KCET-TV, has added two more boldface names to its board of directors.

Jeffrey Levine is the vice president and head of television for Random House Studio, a film production arm of the well-known book publisher.

Dan German is the founder and general partner of Fort Mason Asset Management, a money management firm in San Francisco.

BEST TV OF 2013 Lloyd | McNamara

The additions bring the total of directors at KCET to 21. That includes Al Jerome, KCET's longtime chief who recently announced his upcoming retirement.

"We welcome their exceptional leadership and business savvy as we search for a new chief executive," board chairman Dick Cook wrote in a statement announcing the moves.

KCET, now based in Burbank, left PBS in 2010 after longtime disputes over dues and other issues. The station has since struggled with fundraising and low ratings.

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Climate change gets the blockbuster treatment on Showtime

'Sesame Street's' L.A....

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'Game of Thrones': Fans react with glee to Purple Wedding

"Game of Thrones" continues to give the commitment-phobic plenty of reasons to avoid weddings. Fans have only just recovered from the shock and horror of last season's Red Wedding when, in Sunday's episode "The Lion and the Rose," yet another nuptial celebration ended with a shocking twist. (Plot details to follow, obviously.)

This time around, it was the wedding of evil King Joffrey and the ambitious Margaery Tyrell that turned bloody.

But unlike the triple murder of Catelyn, Robb and Talisa Stark , which was met with a cacophony of wailing from fans, the response to Joffrey's demise at the so-called Purple Wedding was downright euphoric. 

PHOTOS: Violent TV shows

The sense of jubilation was no doubt heightened by Joffrey's behavior, which was appalling right until the bitter end. After an extended and very public display of cruelty toward his uncle, fan favorite Tyrion Lannister, the monarch everyone loves to hateguzzled a goblet of wine and suddenly began to retch violently....

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Actor David Suchet has played the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot since 1989.

Final Poirot mysteries with David Suchet to air this summer

This summer, actor David Suchet will complete a task 25 years in the making when the final adaptations of Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot mysteries are aired. However, if fans want to see Poirot's final three adventures, they'll need a good broadband Internet connection.

The English actor Suchet has been playing Christie's Belgian detective creation in a series of adaptations of all 70 of her Poirot stories since 1989. This summer, the 13th series of adaptations, made up of five TV movies, will debut in America, but not all episodes will air on PBS' "Masterpiece Mystery," which has been the show's stateside home for most of its run.

The first two films, "The Big Four" and "Dead Man's Folly," will air on PBS on July 27 and Aug.  3, respectively. But the final three films will be available only on the British TV streaming service Acorn TV. The final three episodes are "Elephants Can Remember" on Aug. 11, "Labors of Hercules" on Aug. 18 and "Curtain," the final Poirot mystery, on Aug....

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In "The Jolly Roger" episode of "Once Upon a Time," Hook (Colin O'Donoghue) takes on the fearsome Blackbeard (Charles Mesure).

'Once Upon a Time': Pirates face off in Hook vs. Blackbeard

In "The Jolly Roger, " Sunday's episode of "Once Upon a Time," the question of who is the most ruthless scourge of the fairy tale seven seas is answered, and our lovable Captain Hook comes out on top over Blackbeard.

Yes, the heavy-eye-lined duo duels for controls of Hook's ship, while Ariel briefly swims back into our lives and Charming wins the popularity contest with Henry.

So much fun, but Emma Swan and Regina Mills are all about business. Regina is going to begin teaching Emma magic. That'll be fun. But because she needs to concentrate on her lessons, she needs someone to look after Henry.

Grandparents? No, they're not fun enough. Snow and Charming are a little hurt, but they know it's true, and their minds are on other things. Emma asks Hook to take care of Henry, because he's the fun guy -- teaching him how to steal (borrow) boats and things.

Hook agrees, but he's having a conversation beforehand, telling Smee (not a rat anymore!) that the Jolly Roger is no longer in Storybrooke,...

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Don Draper (Jon Hamm) in his gray suit and fedora looks like he's traveled to the West Coast via a time machine from 1960, in the season opener of "Mad Men."

'Mad Men' recap: 'Rich in goods but ragged in spirit'

If “Mad Men” is a story of the ‘60s told from the perspective of those who “lost” the decade, then it’s perfectly apt that the key line in the premiere of the show’s final season comes from Richard Nixon, the man who championed the silent majority. In the closing minutes of “Time Zones,” Don shines his shoes as the new president delivers his inaugural address on television. One line from the speech stirs Don to attention: "We have found ourselves rich in goods but ragged in spirit.”

Sound like anyone you know?

The president’s biblically inspired words are a perfectly apt way to describe the emotional state of just about everyone who appears in “Time Zones.” Creator Matthew Weiner has said that he wants to explore the interplay between “the material world and the immaterial world” in the series’ final season, and he is clearly laying the groundwork. It’s January 1969, and having...

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'Game of Thrones' recap: Capital in chaos after major plot twist

Joffrey haters rejoice! The king is dead! Long live whoever poisoned the tyrannical teenager!

Much-loathed Joffrey Baratheon (Jack Gleeson) succumbs to his untimely but well-deserved fate in Episode 32 (“The Lion and the Rose”) of HBO’s epic fantasy series “Game of Thrones.”

Being the bastard spawn of Queen Regent Cersei Baratheon (Lena Headey) and her twin brother Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), Joffrey was never a rightful heir to the Iron Throne.

PREMIERE: Season 4 recap of 'Game of Thrones'

But even if paternity tests were available in those days of yore, the corrupt Lannisters likely would have faked the results to strengthen their grip on the Seven Kingdoms.

So whodunit? The list of murder suspects is long and intriguing.

Was it diplomatic Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage), who handed nephew Joffrey the poison-laced wine goblet?

Was it evil patriarch Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance), who lost control of his sadistic grandson?

Was it vengeful Oberyn...

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Host Neil deGrasse Tyson investigates the relatedness of all living things and the possible evolution of life in "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey."

'Cosmos' recap: Deeper and deeper still

Things get small — really small — in this week’s episode of "Cosmos," which tackles the unseen universe at the atomic scale, from the teeming ecosystem inside a single dewdrop and the intricate machinery inside a plant’s cells, to the subatomic particles at the heart of a giant exploding star.

Carl Sagan famously observed that we are made of star stuff, but that star stuff in turn is made of atoms — the fundamental building blocks of nature — and there are more atoms in the human eye than there are stars in the known universe, according to our host, the Collection of Atoms Known as Neil de Grasse Tyson. (He should come up with own unique sigil, like Prince.) 

Once again, we have a slightly haphazard organization of segments, with a generous peppering of random True Facts for garnish. Since the episode is ultimately all about atoms, let’s start there rather than the whimsical journey into a dewdrop to marvel at the pitched battle between a...

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Lindsay Lohan guest stars as a bride-to-be on a new "2 Broke Girls" on CBS. With Kat Dennings, right, and Beth Behrs.

Monday's TV highlights and talk shows: '2 Broke Girls' and more

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

Click here to download TV listings for the week of April 13 - 19, 2014 in PDF format

This week's TV Movies


2 Broke Girls Lindsay Lohan guest stars in this new episode. 8 p.m. CBS

Metal Hurlant Chronicles This new anthology series features fantastical tales of life on distant worlds. 8 and 8:30 p.m. Syfy

The Real Housewives of Orange County The docu-soap returns with new episodes. 9 p.m. Bravo

Warehouse 13 The fantastical drama about a storage facility for magical artifacts kicks off its final season. 9 p.m. Syfy

Dallas Bobby and Ann's (Patrick Duffy, Brenda Strong) marriage is threatened in the midseason finale. 9 p.m. TNT

Mom The Anna Faris-Allison Janney sitcom ends its freshman season. 9:30 p.m. CBS

Independent Lens "The Trials of Muhammad Ali" profiles one of the 20th century's most beloved yet controversial athletes. 10 p.m. KOCE

SPECIALS

Twenty Classic MomentsPremiering on the 20th anniversary of Turner...

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Seth Rogen celebrates 4/20 with James Franco on 'SNL'

Marijuana? Check. James Franco? Check. Some cringe-worthy sophomoric phallic jokes? Check. Seth Rogen last night hosted what was probably a frat house’s favorite episode of “Saturday Night Live” from this season.

The weed humor came fast and furious (or slow and mellow), kicking off with Rogen’s monologue, during which he read from his "journal," mentioning getting high twice before joking about setting up friend James Franco’s Instagram scandal. Franco showed up smiling, not really looking like a man hiding in shame from an underage-sex-text scandal, making the “It’s a hoax” theories seem more plausible. Rogen was also joined onstage by Zooey Deschanel and Taylor Swift (girlfriend of Ed Sheeran, the musical guest.)

Drugs returned as a theme in another “Shallon” sketch, wherein a group of idiotic schoolchildren, led by a merrily demented young girl, excitedly make plans to ruin their lives. In Saturday’s episode, Rogen...

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Conan O'Brien says the "Late Show" after Stephen Colbert takes over "is going to be fantastic."

Conan O'Brien lauds choice of Stephen Colbert as new 'Late Show' host

Conan O’Brien is playing nice in late-night land.

The comedian and former host of “The Tonight Show” praised the choice of Stephen Colbert to replace David Letterman on the “Late Show” in 2015. Colbert’s brand of wit, satire and high jinks, which is expected to be refashioned in his new role, is at least partly a move by CBS to go after a younger audience after a long reign by the cranky but endearing 67-year-old Letterman.

“I love Stephen. I think Stephen’s great. I’m a huge fan of his as a comic and as a human being,” O’Brien, who hosts “Conan” on TBS, told the Associated Press. “I think it’s fantastic. I’m really glad he got the job, and I look forward to seeing his show. He’s going to be fantastic.”

VIDEO: Stephen Colbert out of character

O’Brien, who has been rehearsing for Sunday's MTV Movie Awards at Los Angeles' Nokia Theatre, which he will host, told the AP he...

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Harrison Ford in "Years of Living Dangerously."

Climate change gets the blockbuster treatment on Showtime

Clad in a military-style flight suit and aviator shades, Harrison Ford walks across a sunny tarmac and climbs into a fighter jet and takes off. Soon, he's soaring 5,000 feet above California.

Ford is not starring as the hero of a summer blockbuster but in fact is tagging along on a NASA mission to measure levels of methane and carbon dioxide, two primary greenhouse gases, in the atmosphere in the premiere of Showtime's new climate-change documentary, "Years of Living Dangerously." The series premieres Sunday.

The idea for the nine-part series emerged not from the halls of a progressive think tank but over lunches at a Greek diner near the CBS Broadcast Center in New York about four years ago. At the time, series creators David Gelber and Joel Bach were veteran producers on "60 Minutes." Though they'd been able to do several stories about climate change for the esteemed TV news magazine, the pair longed to collaborate on a project focusing solely on "the biggest story out there," Gelber...

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