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TV Bulletin Board (Thurs., Nov. 17) -- Gervais back as Globes host

Ricky Gervais at last January's Golden Globes. NBC photo

Ratings speak louder than Ricky Gervais' heavy-duty barbs at Hollywood heavyweights.

So he's been invited back to host this January's Golden Globes ceremony on NBC.

"They must be mad," Gervais said in a publicity release. "Not sure if I'm flattered that they trust me or insulted that they trust me. Either way, they shouldn't trust me."

Gervais also trumpeted his return in a tweet: "Just told Billy Crystal he'd better not use any of my holocaust or pedophile material at The Oscars." And later: "Be afraid, Hollywood egos, be very afraid. It's gonna be biblical."

NBC said that the 2011 Globes, in which Gervais stunned some with his punch-to-the-scrotum humor, was the most-watched since the 2007 festivities. It drew 17 million viewers nationally.

Dick Clark Productions again will oversee the show for NBC. Its president, Orly Adelson, said that Gervais' "unique point of view and his mischievous streak are a perfect match to the irreverent nature of the show."

Be assured that cocktails again will be served -- early and often. The 69th Globes will be on Jan. 15, 2012.

***Winter/spring attractions on PBS will include two big-ticket filmed documentaries.

Clinton, airing under the American Experience banner, will devote four hours to the life and times of former president Bill Clinton. PBS has produced numerous praiseworthy bios of presidents, with Lyndon Johnson, Ronald Reagan, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Teddy Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy among those profiled. The Clinton bio will premiere on President's Day, Feb. 20th, and conclude on the following night.

Later next year, PBS will present Johnny Carson as part of its long-running American Masters series. The network says it finally has "secured the Carson estate's previously unavailable cooperation and permission." The two-hour bio is scheduled for May 14th.

PBS also will air a second group of Sherlock episodes (beginning on May 6th) and an adaptation of Charles Dickens' Great Expectations (April 1st and 8th) starring Gillian Anderson.

TV Bulletin Board (Thurs., Nov. 3) -- Gaga does Thanksgiving, Banfield moves to CNN

Lady Gaga and Ashleigh Banfield in their Twitter/website photos.

On ABC's menu for Thanksgiving night -- A Very Gaga Thanksgiving. Perhaps she'll dress like giblet gravy?

The 90-minute Nov. 24th special will be hosted by none other than Katie Couric, who of course promises "a chance to see more of who she (Gaga) is beneath the wild costumes and staged musical numbers . . . She will impress you, delight you and surprise you."

Gaga will perform eight songs, including a duet of "The Lady Is A Tramp" with guest Tony Bennett. She'll also be doing her interpretation of "White Christmas." Couric chips in with an interview of Gaga at her alma mater, Sacred Heart Catholic School in Manhattan.

***CNN is shaking up its morning lineup, and one of the beneficiaries is Ashleigh Banfield, who's had more venues than Cirque du Soleil since leaving Dallas-based KDFW-TV in 2000 after a five-year stay.

Banfield, who had been with ABC News, and Zoraida Sambolin will be co-anchoring a 5 to 7 a.m. program before veteran CNN anchor/correspondent Soledad O'Brien steps back into the morning mix to helm a 7 to 9 a.m. show. The changes are scheduled for sometime in early 2012.

"I've dreamed of joining CNN for more than 20 years," Banfield says in a publicity release. "It's the gold standard of news -- the brand, the people and the product."

***FX and Fox each have renewed high-profile first-year series for second seasons. American Horror Story gets the nod from FX while Fox will return Simon Cowell's The X Factor next fall.

***Starz says that its Spartacus: Vengeance series will premiere on Friday, Jan. 27th. And HBO will sneak-preview Luck, starring Dustin Hoffman as an addicted horse track gambler, after the Dec. 11th Season 2 finale of Boardwalk Empire. Luck will then have its "official" debut as a series on Sunday, Jan. 29th. Nick Nolte also stars.

***Jerry Seinfeld is the announced first guest host on what for now is being called Live! with Kelly. He'll be joining Kelly Ripa for three shows on Nov. 21-23. Regis Philbin is leaving the show after the Nov. 18th edition.