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On a recent March morning at his home in a New Jersey suburb, Anthony Mendez was on his living room couch with his 9-year-old daughter. He was watching the previous night's episode of Jane the Virgin, studying his own performance as the show's unseen narrator.

Visiting the set of a historical drama can be a surreal experience, and Underground was no exception.

As the Louisiana sun beat down on an actual historical plantation near Baton Rouge last July, director Kate Woods oversaw a scene where an adorable small boy — actor Maceo Smedley — is picking cotton.

"Could someone go and put more blood on his hands?" she shouted.

Most of the panel discussions that happen at the Television Critics Association press tour currently underway in Beverly Hills have something critical in common: the panelists are humans. (Please hold your jokes about Hollywood. The critics in attendance have made them all.)

This week's taping presented us with a few conundrums: Host Linda Holmes had already begun her vacation, while I know jack-all about the seven accumulated seasons of Mad Men, whose finale we were duty-bound to discuss. Our solution involved a pair of our most beloved guest panelists — Gene Demby and, from a studio in L.A., Barrie Hardymon — and a brief interregnum in poor Linda's vacation. (I stayed home and ate snacks.)

Recent reports were officially confirmed today — the upcoming sixth season will be the last for the very successful drama Downton Abbey, according to an announcement Thursday from Carnival Films and Masterpiece. Executive producer Gareth Neame had this to say:

When comedian Jon Stewart announced he would leave The Daily Show after 16 years, the field of 2016 presidential hopefuls breathed a collective sigh of relief.

Most reviews of the CW's Jane The Virgin mention that it was loosely adapted from a Venezuelan telenovela called Juana La Virgen. Then they predictably misrepresent a telenovela as a Latin American soap opera.

The problem with being slow on the draw with your fall TV picks is that there aren't so many recommend-able new shows that you can make an entire B-team out of them. Yesterday's post from NPR's Eric Deggans named most of the shows I would have named on a list of watchable pilots, and now I find that there aren't all that many more I can wholeheartedly recommend.

The one-year-old cable network FXX hit ratings gold by with its 12-day, around-the-clock marathon of “The Simpsons.”

The network played all 552 episodes, plus the 2007 movie, and came out as the highest rated cable network for the key 18- to 49-year-old demographic.

FXX plans to follow up the marathon with more “Simpsons” repeats and a “Simpson’s World” app that will let fans watch any episode and get behind-the-scenes information. But will the strategy bring viewers back for more?

Suzette Grillot talks with University of Oklahoma junior Amanda Tomlinson about the speech in Arabic she gave at the United Nations General Assembly this summer and the importance of multilingualism.

Later in the program, an interview with Pakistani actor Iqbal Theba about his role on the TV show Glee, and the role of race in the entertainment industry.

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