October 29, 2004 03:00 PM

FOX’s hit The O.C. starts its second season season on Thurs., Nov. 4. PEOPLE has the scoop on the sun-soaked soap, plus other events to watch for in the coming week:

MONDAY, NOV. 1: After months of testimony and what some experts called a lackluster end to the defense’s case, lawyers in the Scott Peterson murder trial will present their closing arguments to the jury. Peterson is charged with the murder of his pregnant wife, Laci, and the couple’s unborn son. Laci Peterson disappeared from the couple’s home on Dec. 24, 2002, and prosecutors allege that Peterson killed her and then dumped her body into San Francisco Bay. The body of Laci and her fetus washed ashore about four months later. Peterson faces the death penalty or life without parole if convicted.

Meanwhile, Lindsay Lohan will return to work on the set of the Disney remake Herbie: Fully Loaded after a five-day hospital stay for exhaustion (she was admitted with a 103-degree fever and bad headaches on Oct. 21). The movie production had to shut down for three days while Lohan recovered. Lohan left the hospital on Oct. 26, and the actress didn’t waste any time getting busy: On Thursday she taped a guest appearance on boyfriend Wilmer Valderrama‘s That ’70s Show.

TUESDAY, NOV. 2: As President George W. Bush and John Kerry wrap up their frenzied campaigning (with celebrities like Bruce Springsteen rocking for Kerry and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger pushing Bush), it’s decision time for America. Meanwhile, some Americans have already gotten a jump on casting their votes: Election officials estimate that up to one-fifth of voters will cast their ballots by the time election day arrives. (Thirty-two states offer some form of early voting.) And if P. Diddy has his way, his “Vote or Die” campaign will convince more young voters to make their pick for the next President of the United States.

THURSDAY, NOV. 4: California, here we come (again): Hit FOX series The O.C., set in ritzy Newport Beach, is returning for its second season, and as always, expect more melodrama from Ryan (Benjamin McKenzie), Seth (Adam Brody), Marissa (Mischa Barton) and Summer (Rachel Bilson). This time out, Ryan discovers that Marissa spent the summer chilling with another man after he left town. And Seth has a new rival for Summer’s attention. Speaking of competition, The O.C. will have more of it now that it has moved from Wednesdays to Thursdays, going head-to-head with the likes of Survivor: Vanuatu and Joey.

While Julia Roberts remains in an L.A. hospital after experiencing early contractions, her Oct. 6 visit to The Oprah Winfrey Show will finally hit the airwaves. In her first TV interview since getting pregnant – she’s expecting twins in January – Roberts describes the experience as “very empowering.” Because of her recent complications, Roberts won’t be on the promotional trail for her two upcoming films: the drama Closer, which costars Jude Law and Natalie Portman and opens Dec. 3, and the star-studded Ocean’s Twelve, which opens a week later. Doctors have advised bed rest until she gives birth.

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