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A select viewing guide for Wednesday, November 14

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COMEDY Whitney (NBC, 8 p.m.) She’s back. Returning tonight for a sophomore season, this breezy sitcom is based directly on the standup routine of sassy Whitney Cummings, who co-created the concept and naturally takes on the lead role. Although Whitney was roasted by most TV reviewers, the show still struck a note among female viewers and ranked among NBC’s most-watched programs last season. In tonight’s season opener, Whitney and her slacker live-in beau Alex (Chris D’Elia) are in the midst of their “unofficial wedding day” when her domineering mom Candi (Jane Kaczmarek) spoils the honeymoon portion by unexpectedly showing up on their doorstep.

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COMEDY Guys With Kids (NBC, 8:30 p.m.) Rumours of this rookie sitcom’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. Despite a weak ratings start and savage reviews from critics, the first half-hour comedy co-created and executive-produced by late-night talk host Jimmy Fallon has rebounded in ratings and NBC recently ordered a new slate of episodes. The show’s affable premise involves three witless thirtysomething dudes trying to cling to the last vestiges of their own youth while wrangling new duties as the fathers of young kids. In tonight’s new outing, divorced dad Chris (Jesse Bradford) goes way over the top in planning his son’s first birthday party; Gary (Anthony Anderson) agrees to get back in shape with his wife courtesy of an all-kale diet; and Nick (Zach Cregger) dispenses his usual irresponsible advice to his two tots. Funnier than you’ve heard.

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DRAMA Law & Order: SVU (NBC, CTV Two, 9 p.m.) The sole survivor in the once-mighty Law & Order TV franchise, SVU continues to turn out solid crime stories each week. In tonight’s new show, detectives Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Amaro (Danny Pino) frantically search for a baby kidnapped from a city playground. Their relief at finding the infant turns to shock when the abductor swears she’s the child’s biological mother and her claim is backed up by DNA testing. Curiouser still, the kidnapper insists the baby’s father is a respected, and much older, criminal attorney, played by guest star Scott Bakula.

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FOOD Sweet Genius (Food Network, 10 p.m.) So you think making desserts is a piece of cake? Launching its second season, this popular U.S. cable series challenges world-renowned chefs and baker in a spirited competition to create wildly decadent desserts. Each episode runs three rounds and the sugar-laden results are judged by the very entertaining Ron Ben-Israel, the most serious man to ever don chef whites. In tonight’s season-opener, the chefs reinvent a breakfast treat and are tasked to merge peanuts with a sweet beverage. The real test: Who can make the better cake from a supermarket treat and an aromatic grass? May the best chef win.

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MOVIE The Big Sleep (TCM, 10 p.m. ET; 7 p.m.) PT No film actor ever wore a trenchcoat better than Humphrey Bogart. Based on the novel by Raymond Chandler, this 1946 feature stars Bogie as the wry gumshoe Philip Marlowe, who is called in to assist the wealthy General Sternwood (Charles Waldron) when his flighty daughter Carmen (Martha Vickers) is being blackmailed by sleazy pornographers. The General’s other daughter Vivian (Lauren Bacall) has an eye for Marlowe but is also in cahoots with a mobster named Eddie Mars (John Ridgely). Unlike most noir films of the forties, this one runs nearly two hours and includes several red-herring plotlines, so pay very close attention.

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