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Don’t miss

Brutal ‘Survivor’ season finally breathing its last Alas, all good — and evil — things must come to an end. And so, after weeks of betrayal, blindsides and brutal beatdowns, “Survivor” will crown its champion.

Stealing the show

LOS ANGELES — It became one of the most talked about “Jersey Shore” moments. Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi and an unidentified male partygoer sloshed drinks at each other in a berserk bar brawl. The slaphappy altercation, however, hasn’t aired on MTV. That’s because the boozy battle was hastily captured on a low-grade camera and posted online months before the cultural phenomenon’s second chapter is scheduled to debut.

NBC pulls deal off the table: ‘Law & Order’ is finished

There will still be lots of “Law & Order” on NBC’s schedule next season, just not THE “Law & Order.” Unable to strike a deal with the show’s creator and executive producer, Dick Wolf, NBC pulled the plug on the 20-year-old show that spawned several spinoffs and became one of the most lucrative television franchises in history — for both NBC and Wolf.

Jeremy Wade’s monster fish tales

PASADENA, Calif. — Jeremy Wade is full of fish stories, only he’s not exaggerating when he describes his latest catch. Wade is a big-game angler, constantly in search of freshwater monsters that make sharks seem as docile as dolphins.

Don’t miss

‘Friday Night Lights’: It’s a rebuilding season in more ways than one for this extraordinary small-town drama set deep in the heart of Texas. Coach Taylor (Kyle Chandler) finds himself starting from scratch at East Dillon, a high school that is much poorer and more ethnically diverse than the campus where he attained football glory. And the show itself has undergone major changes with an infusion of new young stars replacing old favorites who have moved on. Still, Season 4 (which aired on DirecTV last fall) contains the same kind ...

Don’t miss

The story of us Granted, it might sound like a whole lot of homework, but this highly ambitious 12-hour series deserves a look. Narrated by Liev Schreiber, the production covers 400 years of American history — in just six nights! — while intently focusing on the innovative people and ideas that built the nation from the ground up. Commentary from notable Americans such as Brian Williams, Henry Louis Gates, Buzz Aldrin, Colin Powell and many others help to bring the story to life. 9 tonight, History Channel.
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The life (and deaths) of Jack Kevorkian

LOS ANGELES — There are three intertwining streams of interest in the unfortunately, if aptly, titled “You Don’t Know Jack,” a new HBO TV film about Jack Kevorkian, the assisted-suicide man. There is Kevorkian himself, played by Al Pacino, and the imagined private life of a figure known mostly in news bites, all around the single issue of euthanasia and his hands-on crusade to gain it legitimacy — the man behind the myth, the usual draw of the biopic.
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Muslim group threatens South Park creators

NEW YORK — Producers of “South Park” said Thursday that Comedy Central removed a speech about intimidation and fear from their show after a radical Muslim group warned that they could be killed for insulting the Prophet Muhammad. It came during about 35 seconds of dialogue between the cartoon characters of Kyle, Jesus Christ and Santa Claus that was bleeped out.

Don’t miss

Desmond returns for final season of “Lost”: As the final season of this still-riveting plane-crash mystery winds down, each week brings us closer to the answers we crave — but also closer having to bid a sad goodbye. Better savor it while we can. And this week’s episode promises a juicy story line that focuses on the return of a long-missing and very popular character: Desmond Hume (Henry Ian Cusick), the Scottish wanderer now being mysteriously referred to as “the package.” Let’s hope we get all the intel on how ...
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Palin scraps dubbed interview

NEW YORK — Sarah Palin’s new series on Fox News, “Real American Stories,” celebrates such unobjectionable qualities as generosity and perseverance. In the debut episode, which aired Thursday, Palin interviewed an 11-year-old boy with cerebral palsy whose service dog inspired him to learn to walk and a young woman who saved an oil tanker driver from a fire. The fact that the program debuted amid a cloud of controversy, despite its heartwarming material, underscores the alchemic effect of the former Alaska governor.

‘Breaking Bad’ is deliciously dark

LOS ANGELES — It’s a tough job, and Bryan Cranston is more than glad to do it. He plays Walter White, the frazzled antihero at the center of AMC’s “Breaking Bad.” Though playing White, a meek chemistry teacher who gradually transforms into a hardcore drug dealer after he finds out he has life-threatening cancer, is “a dream come true,” Cranston pointed out that the character and the series’ increasingly dark tones have taken an emotional and physical toll on him.

TV networks tune in to families

For a while there, it looked like family television was dead. In answer to the hard-R rating of cable, both network dramas and comedies became increasingly dark, grisly and/or sexually oriented, while the family comedy, once the keystone of prime time, dwindled to “The Simpsons” and a couple of live-action shows, one of which was “Two and a Half Men.” Finding a show the whole family could watch was virtually impossible — the kids got Disney Channel, Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon and asked to turn the volume down. Oh, there was ...
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A special bond

LOS ANGELES — Robert Culp and Bill Cosby knew they were taking a risk in the mid-1960s when the actors teamed up as globe-trotting spies in “I Spy.” The NBC series was the first drama in American television to feature an African American actor in a lead role. But making history ultimately was secondary to their impact on each other, according to Cosby, who spoke warmly about his former co-star who died unexpectedly this week after taking a fall near his Hollywood Hills home. The men developed a personal bond ...

Top 10 TV shows: One critic’s opinion

“The 10 Best TV Shows Right Now!” The headline on the March 12 issue of Entertainment Weekly leapt out at me. I was struck by the live-in-the-moment immediacy of it. The 10 best shows now. Not last week. Not a few months down the road. Not the best shows over the course of a year, or a season even.

Don’t miss

‘Fringe’ renewed for third season, returns this week: Fans of TV’s mind-blowing creep fest have reason to celebrate. Not only does the show return from a two-month hiatus this week, it recently was renewed for a third season. That means we’ll be treated to even more terrifying occurrences and macabre crimes. In the “spring premiere” — the first of eight new episodes — Walter (John Noble) flashes back to 1985 while explaining Peter’s (Joshua Jackson) otherworldly origins to Olivia (Anna Torv). Far out. 9 p.m. Thursday, Fox.
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The reality of Tila Tequila’s melodramatic, made-for-TV life

LOS ANGELES — Tila Tequila had looked everywhere, but she could not find her pills. “I need to take my medication. My happy pills,” she said, as she pushed aside some of the empty Red Bull cans that were strewn about her Studio City house. She wouldn’t name the medication but explained, “Just so much has been going on, my doctor has been giving me stuff to help me cope.”
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Olyphant keeps a steady hand in ‘Justified’

Normally, the last thing I’d want cluttering up my DVR to-do list is another crime show. Television already has enough cops and killers to populate a small, bullet-ridden nation. But after previewing some early episodes of the refreshing new FX drama, “Justified,” I’m ready to make an exception.
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ABC brings Amanpour back home

NEW YORK — After two decades covering wars, famines and countless natural disasters, CNN’s chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour is headed to a new network and a new battleground: Washington. ABC News on Thursday hired the CNN stalwart as the new host of “This Week,” its Sunday morning public affairs program.

Don’t miss

It’s ‘wow’ time on Discovery Channel: If you loved the eye-boggling documentary series “Planet Earth,” get ready for more “wow” moments from the same producing team. Narrated by Oprah Winfrey, this spectacular 11-part extravaganza travels the globe to capture a variety of animal behavior in stunning, up-close and crystal-clear style. Among the facts of “Life”: Crews spent more than 3,000 days in 52 countries while using state-of-the-art filming techniques to create a visual masterpiece the whole family can enjoy. Just a quick warning: “Life” can get ugly at times. In ...

Class act

PHILADELPHIA — Mr. Danza was having a bad day. The laptop acted up. Few students were ready to present their projects, and the group was restless, giggly, distracted. A few snickers erupted when the new reading assignment, the classic novel “To Kill a Mockingbird,” was passed out. “Turn around. Turn AROUND. Put your feet this way,” the first-year teacher urged one of his sophomore English students, motioning to the front of the room.