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Obama stumped on Mel’s escapades

LOS ANGELES — Thank heaven for Joy Behar. Although many wondered what sort of questions vocal Republican and presidential detractor Elisabeth Hasselbeck would have for Barack Obama on his groundbreaking visit to “The View,” it was Behar who left the normally loquacious president tongue-tied and saved the show from becoming an a.m. whistle-stop.

New MTV show takes on ugly high school stereotypes

NEW YORK — Jocks, nerds, burnouts and stoners: The names may vary, but students at almost every high school know the labels. A new show on MTV attempts to help students look past such stereotypes. The network hypes “If You Really Knew Me” as a real-life version of “The Breakfast Club.”

Don’t miss

Watch Rubicon with the lights turned on “Rubicon” — If you’re a fan of those compelling big-screen political thrillers of the 1970s, you’ll want to check out this new drama series, which ratchets up the tension and the paranoia.

New shows ‘talk,’ bleep, book ’em

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — CBS offered a look at its new daytime talk show this week at the TV critics’ press tour, but the show, now titled “The Talk,” should not be confused with ABC’s “The View” despite its all-female lineup. “In the same way that David Letterman or Jay Leno sit at a desk, there are formats people use in talk shows, too,” said executive producer Sara Gilbert (“Roseanne”). She said the idea came to her after she became a mother, and “was overwhelmed. I went to a mom ...
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‘Idol’ judges turn over

NEW YORK — Don’t call it “American Idol.” Call it “Extreme Makeover: ‘Idol’ Edition.” The composition of the “Idol” judges’ panel seems to be changing by the minute, in flux like a lunch counter during the noon rush.

J-Lo in line to replace DeGeneres on ‘Idol’

NEW YORK — Former “Fly Girl” Jennifer Lopez is poised to return to television — this time as a judge on “American Idol.” The singer-dancer-actor was close to signing a deal to join Fox TV’s hit singing contest, a person familiar with the negotiations said late Thursday. The person, who was not authorized to comment publicly, spoke on condition of anonymity.

‘Glee’ Emmy nods point to changing TV world

LOS ANGELES — TV comedies aren’t what they used to be, and viewers and the industry are signaling that’s just fine with them. Of the six Emmy nominees for best comedy series announced Thursday, none is a traditional three-camera, laugh track-augmented production. And one, Fox’s “Glee,” is a freshman hit that takes off in completely new directions.

Don’t miss

‘The Closer’ opens sixth season of crime solving The Season 6 opener of basic cable’s most popular drama, “The Closer,” finds Brenda (Kyra Sedgwick) in a cranky mood. She and her team of LAPD detectives have just moved into their brand new high-tech headquarters, but all the gadgets and gizmos are proving to be a major hassle. Meanwhile, there’s an internal struggle brewing over who will become the next police chief and, oh yes, a few murders to solve. 9 p.m. Monday, TNT.
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‘Law & Order’ and ‘24’ go out meekly

LOS ANGELES — Time finally ran out for “24,” and “Law & Order” ended up as a closed case. The veteran dramas, which took final bows this season after years of acclaim, were denied a last run at Emmys glory Thursday along with several other series and performers who failed to land nominations in marquee categories.
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‘True Blood’ ready to flow once again

It’s finally time for the “Blood”-thirsty to be appeased. Yes, “True Blood,” television’s most outrageous and lascivious series, returns Sunday for its third season on HBO and die-hard devotees know what that means:
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Don’t miss

‘True Blood’ stays crazy Season 3 of television’s wildest, weirdest drama series picks up right where we left off with Sookie (Anna Paquin) desperate to track down the kidnapped Bill (Stephen Moyer).
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Winkler returns to TV in ‘Royal Pains’

STUDIO CITY, Calif. — Fonzie’s leather jacket may be in the Smithsonian, but the man who created him is still scaling the treadmill. In fact, Henry Winkler is beginning a new challenge to match the multitudes behind him. Winkler is costarring on USA’s “Royal Pains” as the slightly shady father to Hank Lawson and his goof-off brother. “It seems I borrowed money from my younger son, and I never paid him back and caused him great financial difficulties, so when I show up my son is not happy,” says Winkler, ...
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Summertime showdown: TV is gonna be hot

As the temperatures jump up, television tends to cool down. But that doesn’t mean summer is devoid of hotly anticipated shows. In fact, we’re about to embark on one of the most crowded warm-weather seasons ever with a vast array of first-run fare being offered by broadcast networks and cable.

Don’t miss

‘Glee’ finale: The campy spectacle that had us singing, clapping and rushing to iTunes concludes its buzz-laden freshman season. The finale has Will (Matthew Morrison) and his crew of scrappy crooners taking on their arch rivals, Vocal Adrenaline, in the regional finals. Of course, Sue (Jane Lynch) is up to no good as she again tries to ruin the glee club’s chances. Meanwhile, Quinn (Dianna Agron) experiences a life-changing event. Olivia New-John and Josh Groban have cameos as themselves. 9 p.m. Tuesday, Fox.
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Provenza shows the man behind the funny

PASADENA, Calif. — When he was a little boy no one would listen to him, says standup comic Paul Provenza. But he found laughter a way to cut through the white noise. Though he came from an extended and loving Italian family, his parents were by-the-book disciplinarians.

New Orleans: Brass n’ bones

At last, an antidote to Ken Burns’ dismal 2001 TV documentary, “Jazz.” No, the new HBO dramatic series “Treme” isn’t a doc and doesn’t pretend to be. But it presents jazz, and related New Orleans genres, on national TV in a major way for the first time in nearly a decade. Better still, it does so with the vitality, joy and street-level authenticity so sorely lacking in Burns’ stultifying, 19-hour “Jazz.”

Don’t miss

‘America’s Got Talent’ Did “American Idol” put you to sleep this season? Here’s your wake-up call. The talent show where anything goes returns for its fifth season, and you never know what you’ll see: Singers, dancers, jugglers, magicians, rappin’ grandmas ... they’ve got it all. You’ll also see a new face on the judges table, where Howie Mandel replaces David Hasselhoff. The summer series kicks off with open auditions in Los Angeles. Nick Cannon hosts. 8 p.m. Tuesday, NBC.
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Must watch finales

After eight gut-wrenching, adrenaline-fueled seasons, the TV thrill ride that is “24” will come to an end on Monday, allowing beleaguered federal agent Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) to finally kick back and veg out. Of course, that’s assuming he survives his latest hellish day. As we catch our breath, it’s a good a time to ponder the legacy of pop culture’s greatest post-9/ 11 hero — a guy who went mano a mano with a steady parade of scumbags and bailed America out of dire trouble more often than we ...

Don’t miss

‘Lost’ super-sized This plane-crash adventure series has been our constant for six mind-blowing, rule-breaking seasons. But now it all comes to an end and we’re already feeling lost without it. Naturally, we have a boatload of questions going into the 2.5-hour finale (Who will survive? Who, if anyone, will get off that blasted island?), but they probably won’t all be answered by the time the credits rolls. That’s OK: We’ve become used to that. 9 Sunday, ABC.
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We’re so hopelessly into ‘Lost’

If you’re tuning into “Lost” for the first time tonight, some advice: Don’t. It will make no sense. People who’ve watched the show since day one are still confused. When it’s all done, you’ll ask “but what about ...” and then your head will start to ache, and you’ll hit the Internet, where someone must know the answer. Better that you accept it as the grand sweeping wrap-up and tell yourself: It’s done.