2012 Fall TV Preview: Our Night-by-Night Guide

  • Publish Date: August 28, 2012
  • Comments: ↓ 4 user comments


Friday Primetime Schedule (All times ET/PT)
  8:00 8:30 9:00 9:30 10:00 10:30
ABC Last Man Standing** Malibu Country** Shark Tank** 20/20
CBS CSI: New York* Made in Jersey Blue Bloods
CW America's Next Top Model* Nikita* [Local programming]
Fox Touch Fringe [Local programming]
NBC Whitney* Community* Grimm Dateline NBC
Key cable shows:
      Haven (Syfy)
Hunted (Cinemax)

New shows are highlighted in bold above.
* New time slot this fall
** During September and October, Shark Tank will air from 8p-9p, followed by Primetime: What Would You Do? at 9p. Shark Tank shifts to 9p on November 2nd.
† Kitchen Nightmares will air at 8p until Touch begins its new season on October 26th; the former will return at some point later in the season.

Key shows

NBC, Fridays at 8:30p starting October 19

NBC really Britta'd this one. Community's vocal cult following (count numerous critics in that group) was enough to get the show renewed for a fourth season, but—well, there are a lot of "buts." The comedy has been banished to Friday nights (where it will be paired with Whitney, a show nobody was clamoring to save), and the season will consist of just 13 episodes. The most potentially devastating change, however, was the firing of Dan Harmon as showrunner; even more so than most people who hold that position, Harmon had near complete control over the tone and content of the series, and it was his vision we have been seeing on screen. Leaving with him are several other longtime writers and producers (including the Russo brothers), and showrunner duties will now fall to series newcomers David Guarascio and Moses Port (Aliens in America). While fans might be ready to dissect their every move, NBC execs could actually give the show a bit more leeway now that it is on a less demanding night. The entire cast (minus the "late" Starburns) will return, while Little Britain's Matt Lucas will have a recurring role as a new friend for Abed, and Malcolm McDowell will appear in several episodes as a history professor. Still to be determined: the actor who will play Jeff's father.

Fringe Watch trailer
Fox, Fridays at 9p starting September 28

Yes, Fringe fans: Fox failed to cancel the show once again, and this fall it returns for its fifth and final season (of 13 episodes). And it appears that the writers are holding nothing back: the new season will indeed take place in the year 2036 (and beyond), picking up after the events of last season's "Letters of Transit" episode. That means that Georgina Haig will return as Olivia and Peter's daughter Etta—producers have also hinted that guest Henry Ian Cusack could return, but won't confirm it—though plot details for the final batch of episodes are being kept under wraps for now. A recent production halt necessitated by the need for star John Noble to receive medical treatment should not interfere with the show's scheduling, so expect the series to wrap up in January.

NEW Made in Jersey Watch trailer
CBS, Fridays at 9p starting September 28

What they said about the pilot:

"This is 'Legally Blonde' meets 'Ugly Betty' and my head is still hurting from the horrible accents."

—Jaimie Etkin, Huffington Post

"Painfully superficial and obvious."

—Brian Ford Sullivan, The Futon Critic

Having already found critical success with The Good Wife, CBS will seek to duplicate that feat with another show centered on a female attorney. The young lawyer at the center of Made in Jersey, however, comes from a working-class Italian-American family in New Jersey, and she is forced to use her "street smarts" to compete among her Ivy League-trained colleagues in Manhattan. Janet Montgomery (Entourage, Human Target, and neither Italian nor American) stars alongside Kyle MacLachlan (Twin Peaks, Desperate Housewives), Kristoffer Polaha (Ringer), and Megalyn Echikunwoke (90210). Some of those stars were absent from the pilot, which generally failed to make a positive impression on reviewers.

Also on Friday

America's Next Top Model The CW, 8p (already started)
The 19th (!) season of the Tyra Banks-hosted competition is the show's first ever college edition.

Blue Bloods CBS, 10p starting September 28
The cop drama's third season brings a new partner for Jamie Reagan (Will Estes), played by Sebastian Sozzi (My Generation), while Michael Madsen appears as a guest star in the second episode.

CSI: New York CBS, 8p starting September 28
When the only surviving CSI spin-off returns for its ninth season at the end of September (when it moves up an hour to 8p on Fridays), Rob Morrow (Numb3rs) will be on hand for a multi-episode guest arc as a convicted arsonist, while Neal McDonough (Justified) will guest in an October episode. Meanwhile, the season's fourth episode will be soundtracked by music from Green Day's upcoming album trilogy, while another early episode will take place in San Francisco, with Peter Horton (thirtysomething) guest starring.

Grimm NBC, 9p (already started)
Getting off to an abnormally early start on August 13th to capitalize on NBC's publicity push during the Olympics, NBC's second-year fairy tale crime drama will continue to air new episodes on Mondays (with repeats on Friday) for the next few weeks, before shifting to a Friday-only schedule on September 21st.

Haven Syfy, 10p starting September 21
Dorian Missick (Southland) and Kate Kelton (Bullet in the Face) will join the cast for the show's third season.

NEW Hunted Cinemax, 10p starting October 19
Set to launch in October, this Cinemax original series from X-Files writer/producer Frank Spotnitz focuses on a spy (Melissa George) who works for a private intelligence firm.

Last Man Standing ABC, 8p starting November 2
Tim Allen's poorly reviewed comeback sitcom earned a renewal after a decently rated freshman season, but it has been banished to Friday nights (and a late November premiere) for its second year as ABC returns to its TGIF roots of family-friendly Friday laughs. The time slot isn't the only change in store; there's a new showrunner (Tim Doyle, who becomes the third person in two years to take the job), and several roles have been recast—including one played last season by Nick Jonas.

NEW Malibu Country ABC, 8:30p starting November 2 Watch trailer
Another new ABC comedy with relatively poor early buzz, this multi-camera sitcom stars singer Reba McEntire as a divorced mother of three who moves from Nashville to Malibu to restart her music career after her country music star husband cheats on her. (Don't confuse it with ABC's other new country music series, Nashville.) Lily Tomlin co-stars as her mother, while Sara Rue (Rules of Engagement) plays her new California neighbor.

Nikita The CW, 9p starting October 19
Expect more stand-alone episodes during the series' third season, which will elevate recurring players Noah Bean and Devon Sawa to full-time cast members.

Touch Fox, 8p starting October 26
Fox didn't exactly give Kiefer Sutherland's new drama a ringing endorsement when it banished it to Friday nights (and a late October start date) for its second season, but it beats an outright cancelation. Joining the cast this season—in which the action shifts from New York to Los Angeles—are Maria Bello (who was introduced in last year's finale) and Lukas Haas (who previously appeared opposite Sutherland in 24), while other newcomers include Said Taghmaoui (Lost), 13-year-old Saxon Sharbino, and Adam Campbell (Harper's Island). Greg Ellis (Days of Our Lives) will also recur in multiple episodes.

Whitney NBC, 8p starting October 19
Wil Calhoun (Friends) will take over as showrunner for the comedy's surprise second season, which kicks off NBC's new Friday night comedy block. Maulik Pancholy, who played Neal last season, will not return.

Comments (4)

  • cristane  

    Fantastic guide, thanks for all the hard work.

  • khan2705  

    thank you so much for this! now i know what to watch and what to not ....

  • LamontRaymond  

    Brilliant preview - thanks for the great work! Revolution and Last Resort appear to be the best new shows - so nice to see the networks avoided the Pan Am, Playboy Club nonsense of last season.

  • jerrycurlan  

    I LOVE this! Thanks for putting this together. (All your preview articles are so thorough...) I can't freakin' wait for Fringe!

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