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Tuning in to TV: Alex Karras, actor and NFL lineman, dies at 77

- - Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Alex Karras, the rugged lineman who anchored the Detroit Lions' defense in the 1960s and then went on to an acting career in which he starred in the sitcom "Webster" and famously punched a horse in the 1974 comedy "Blazing Saddles," died Wednesday. He was 77.

Mr. Karras, who recently had suffered kidney failure, died at home in Los Angeles surrounded by family members, said Craig Mitnick, Mr. Karras' attorney.

Diagnosed with dementia, Mr. Karras in April joined the more than 3,500 former NFL players suing the league for not protecting them better from head injuries, immediately becoming one of the best-known names in the legal fight.

Detroit drafted Mr. Karras with the 10th overall pick in 1958 out of Iowa, and he was a four-time All-Pro defensive tackle over 12 seasons with the franchise.

For all his prowess on the field, Karras may have gained more fame when he turned to acting in the movies and on television.

"Perhaps no player in Lions history attained as much success and notoriety for what he did after his playing days as did Alex," Lions President Tom Lewand said.

'Dance Moms' renewed for third season on Lifetime

Lifetime cable network has renewed "Dance Moms" for a third season, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

The docuseries, which features Abby Lee Miller as a dance instructor who navigates training students while dealing with their often overbearing mothers, will return next year with 26 hour-long episodes.

"With major growth season to season and a bona fide star in Abby Lee Miller, 'Dance Moms' continues to be a top performer and important franchise for Lifetime," Lifetime Executive Vice President for Programming Rob Sharenow said. "It's become a force in the docusoap genre and we're very pleased to bring Dance Moms back with more episodes next year."

The show, a Teen Choice 2012 nominee, has also spawned a spinoff, "Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition," which premiered Tuesday and featured 12 of the country's best youth dancers competing for a $100,000 prize. Lifetime in January also ordered six hour-long episodes of "Dance Moms: Miami" featuring instructors Victor Smalley and Angel Armas.