Travolta playing O.J. Simpson lawyer Shapiro in TV show

Arthur Mola/Invision/APActor John Travolta seen at the premiere of "The Forger" at Roy Thomson Hall during the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival on Friday

That old “Welcome Back, Kotter” lunchbox in the basement might have just gained some resale value: John Travolta is returning to television.

However, this role might be a little darker than Vinnie Barbarino, the goofy Sweathog who launched Travolta into stardom nearly 40 years ago: The 60-year-old is playing defense lawyer Robert Shapiro in “American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson.”

Travolta is also producing the FX series, the network told Variety on Wednesday, which will dramatize the murder case against football star and San Francisco native O.J. Simpson. Cuba Gooding Jr. stars as Simpson, who is currently serving time for an unrelated armed robbery, with Sarah Paulson as prosecutor Marcia Clark and David Schwimmer as late defense lawyer and Kardashian family patriarch Robert Kardashian.

Production starts this year on the 10-episode series.

TLC HITS NEW LOW WITH 'NOT GAY'

Don't set the DVR for this one: TLC is going ahead with plans for its reality-TV mess “My Husband's Not Gay.”

The show, set to debut Sunday, follows two Mormon men who are actually quite gay, but say they're happily married to women.

It's a type of relationship that isn't usually seen in the media, said star Preston “Pret” Dahlgren, 32, who has two children with his wife even though he's primarily attracted to men.

A Change.org petition has gathered over 80,000 signatures from people seeking the show's cancellation.

“No one can change who they love, and, more importantly, no one should have to,” GLAAD president Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement. “By investing in this dangerous programming, TLC is putting countless young LGBT people in harm's way.”

QUICK TAKES

Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle, ex-wife of Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, has shelled out $3.4 million for a Central Park West apartment. … Actor Khan Bonfils, who played Jedi master Saesee Tiin in “Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace,” collapsed and died Tuesday at age 42 while rehearsing for a London stage production. … Recently engaged “The Imitation Game” actor Benedict Cumberbatch and theater director Sophie Hunter are expecting a baby. … Pop singer Justin Bieber is the new face and torso of Calvin Klein underwear.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Actress-director Sarah Polley (“Stories We Tell”) is 36. … Singer Jenny Lewis is 39. … Rocker David Bowie is 68. … Physicist Stephen Hawking is 73. … TV host Bob Eubanks (“The Newlywed Game”) is 77. … Singer Shirley Bassey is 78. … Actor Larry Storch (“F Troop”) is 92.

Got scoops or Bay Area celebrity gossip? Email scoop@sfexaminer.com.

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