SO MUCH television, so little time:

* Philly hasn't had a "Project Runway" winner since Philadelphia University's Jay McCarroll took Season 1 by storm, but we're still in the game.

When the Lifetime show returns July 29 for Season 8, its 17 contestants will include 38-year-old Kristin Haskins-Simms, an alum of Germantown Friends, the University of Pennsylvania and Rhode Island School of Design who lives and works here and whose clothing line can be seen at www.bestrangefruit.com.

* Is Betty White, currently starring in TV Land's "Hot in Cleveland," chasing some Guinness World Record I'm not aware of?

Latest word on the hardest working octogenarian in show business is that she'll guest-star in the season premiere of NBC's "Community," playing "an esteemed, but slightly unhinged, anthropology professor."

"Slightly unhinged" no doubt being the operative words.

"Community," one of my favorite new shows this past season, will need all the help it can get this fall, when its competition will include CBS' "The Big Bang Theory," Fox's "Bones" and the CW's "The Vampire Diaries," so here's hoping that the current craze for All Things Betty survives the summer.

* Speaking of women named Betty, I was particularly happy to see January Jones finally get an Emmy nomination last week for playing Betty, the now ex-wife of Don Draper (Jon Hamm) on AMC's "Mad Men."

Yes, she's almost supernaturally beautiful, and, no, she probably shouldn't ever be asked again to host NBC's "Saturday Night Live" - because if Jones has a funny bone in her body, she keeps it well hidden - but in the role of one of television's most desperate housewives ever, she's been note-perfect.

And at times, perhaps, even better than her material, since the writing for Betty Draper has turned her into someone even Betty Friedan might have had trouble defending.

Ex or not, the former Betty Draper will still be on board "Mad Men" when it returns for its fourth season July 25.

* Dustin Hoffman's actually doing television.

Well, technically, he's doing HBO, which claims not to be television but can still be found on the box in your living room (if you're willing to pay for it).

HBO announced yesterday that Hoffman would star in "Luck," a new drama about horse racing from notorious track devotee David Milch ("NYPD Blue," "Deadwood") and director Michael Mann ("Heat," "The Insider").

Besides Hoffman, the cast includes Dennis Farina, Jason Gedrick, Richard Kind and Nick Nolte. Jill Hennessy guest-stars in the pilot.

Production begins this fall at, among other southern California locations, Santa Anita Park, a place I'll bet Milch has spent many a happy hour with far less guarantee he'd be getting paid.

* Betty White had better watch her back, because William Shatner's gaining on her.

The 79-year-old actor, who'll star this fall in CBS' "$#*! My Dad Says," apparently refuses to put all his eggs in one basket (which makes a certain amount of sense when your basket's based on a Twitter feed).

Starting Aug. 2, the Bio Channel, which already features a show, "Shatner's Raw Nerve," where the former Capt. Kirk chats up occasionally perplexed celebrities, will present "Aftermath with William Shatner," a show created and hosted by Shatner that looks at what happens to "people [who] are tragically or infamously transformed from unknown citizens into household names overnight."

First up: Shatner's interview with "subway vigilante" Bernhard Goetz.

No word on which of them will be packing.

* Because it's never too late to fall in love with HBO's "The Wire," which I continue to consider among the best, if not the best, TV show ever made, I'll just mention that starting this weekend, DirecTV's 101 Network will begin showing all five seasons of the David Simon drama in HD, uncut and without commercials, at 10 p.m. Sundays.

Simon, whose latest show is HBO's "Treme," will introduce the first episode of "The Wire" and occasional episodes throughout its 101 Network run.

* On Aug. 1, Christiane Amanpour makes her ABC debut as the host replacing George Stephanopoulos (and interim fill-in Jake Tapper) on the Sunday morning inside-the-Beltway gabfest "This Week."

All I can say is that it's still a lot easier for me to imagine CNN without Larry King than it is to imagine it forever without Amanpour - who's probably never before been required to stay in one place as long as she presumably will be from now on.

Would Rory Gilmore (Alexis Bledel) have idolized Amanpour - who actually appeared in the final episode of "Gilmore Girls" - if instead of haunting the world's hot spots she'd merely been the latest successor to David Brinkley?

I guess we'll never know. *

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