TV bites: 'True Blood,' 'Men of a Certain Age,' 'Dexter'

alexanderskarsgard-kristinbauer_290.jpgKristin Bauer will sink her fangs into an expanded role on "True Blood" in the coming season.

Bauer, who's had a recurring role on the HBO series the past two seasons, will be a regular in season three. She plays Pam, the cruel lieutenant to vampire Eric ( Alexander Skarsgard) at Fangtasia.

Series creator Alan Ball says Pam may become involved in a same-sex relationship in the coming season, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Bauer is the third new regular in the cast this season, joining Denis O'Hare and Marshall Allman. Grant Bowler and Shannon Lucio have been cast in recurring parts.

- TNT's new series "Men of a Certain Age" scored well in its debut Monday night.

The show, which stars Ray Romano (who also co-created), Andre Braugher and Scott Bakula as middle-aged guys trying to figure out the rest of their lives, drew 5.4 million viewers for its series premiere. That puts it just behind USA's "Royal Pains" (5.6 million) and in a virtual tie with USA's "White Collar" among the top series launch on ad-supported cable this year.

"Men" also held onto much of its lead-in audience from "The Closer" (6.2 million) and actually improved upon it in both adults 18-49 and adults 25-54, TNT's core audience.

- Elsewhere on cable, "Dexter" continued its ratings surge this season by hitting a new series high in viewers.

Showtime says 2.1 million people watched Sunday's episode, the second-to-last of the show's fourth season. It was the most-watched single telecast on the channel since a Mike Tyson fight in 1999.

The surge for "Dexter" also helped "Californication" hit a series high in total viewers (913,000).

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For the record: An earlier version of this post said that "Men of a Certain Age" and "White Collar" had the top cable series premieres this year. That honor actually goes to "Royal Pains."
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