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What to Watch on Wednesday: Controversial casting of Mike Tyson on 'L&O: SVU'

Nature (8pm, UNC-TV) - The conclusion of the David Attenborough series of episodes focuses on the impact of humans on the natural world during his lifetime, which includes diminishing numbers of rain forests and coral reefs and increasing numbers of endangered species such as the blue whale and the chimpanzee.

The Neighbors (8:30pm, ABC) - Debbie gives relationship advice to Reggie Jackson when he starts dating a nerdy girl, but his parents cant believe he has romantic interests at all.

Law & Order: SVU (9pm, NBC) - Benson (Mariska Hargitay) discovers that a death-row inmate (Mike Tyson) was the victim of a sexual predator, so she asks Bayard Ellis to reopen the prisoner's murder case. (Note: Hargitay's Joyful Heart Foundation, which helps victims of sexual abuse, was not overjoyed about the casting of convicted rapist Tyson).

Modern Family (9pm, ABC) - Cameron's school production of "Phantom of the Opera" is in jeopardy when the star gets sick, but Manny has a plan to save the show.

The Americans (10pm, FX) - Philip and Elizabeth risk exposure while planting a bug in defense secretary Casper Weinberger's office.

60 Minutes Sports (10pm, Showtime) - Included tonight, a behind-the-scenes look at the NFL control room when the lights went out in the Superdome during Sunday night's Super Bowl game.

Life on Fire (10pm, UNC-TV) - The series finale travels to the Tonga archipelago in the South Pacific, where tectonic movements can construct or swallow islands.

Seeking redemption amid pigeon poo in "Taking on Tyson"

I find Mike Tyson fascinating. His mix of menace, sweetness, crudeness, shyness, gallant and studied speech, humor, tragedy...it's all riveting. Forget his prowess in the ring, the fact that he's still alive and functioning shows his champion strength.

And so, because he's at the center of "Taking on Tyson" (Animal Planet, 10 tonight), I'm all in. The series chronicles the retired boxer's return to competition in the form of pigeon racing in the New York area.

Tyson has long kept a coop and the birds; birds (although not racing them) were his passion before boxing. Indeed, Tyson reveals that the first punch he ever threw was after a bully killed one of his pigeons and threw the bloody carcass in his face.

Round 2: Barbara Walters vs. Mike Tyson

It was one of the most memorable television interviews of all time: Barbara Walters is interviewing heavyweight champion Mike Tyson and his wife Robin Givens, and Givens gives up Tyson as being physically abusive right there on national television. Tyson, who sits next to Givens the whole time with wide eyes, looks a little stunned. Shortly after that interview, Tyson goes on a rampage inside their $4.5 million mansion and Givens leaves him.

Twenty-two years later, Walters finally gets her follow-up interview with the former champ.

Mike Tyson on "Dancing With the Stars"

Boxer Mike Tyson has been pretty visible recently, at the Golden Globes representing "The Hangover"; on Oprah making up with Evander Holyfield; promoting the critically acclaimed documentary on his life.

He's got smart people advising him. Real smart, because they got him on "Dancing With the Stars." But, in Italy. 

Take a look, but be warned. It's tragic.  

Oprah talks to boxer Mike Tyson

 

Oprah Winfrey made much of her interview with Whitney Houston.

I wasn't that impressed.

But this interview that aired yesterday with Mike Tyson is good.

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