Fall TV Preview: Our Night-by-Night Guide

  • Publish Date: August 23, 2011
  • Comments: ↓ 8 user comments


Wednesday Primetime Schedule (All times ET/PT)
  8:00 8:30 9:00 9:30 10:00 10:30
ABC The Middle Suburgatory Modern Family Happy
Endings *
CBS Survivor Criminal Minds CSI: Crime Scene Investigation *
CW H8R America's Next Top Model [Local programming]
Fox The X Factor I Hate My Teenage Daughter [Local programming]
NBC Up All Night Free Agents Harry's Law * Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Key cable shows:
      American Horror Story (FX)
The Exes (TV Land)
Hot in Cleveland (TV Land)
Luther (BBC America)
Psych (USA)
South Park (Comedy Central)

New shows are highlighted in bold above. Cable shows will be covered in full in tomorrow's article.
* New time slot this fall

Key network shows:

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Watch trailer
(CBS, 10p starting Sep. 21)

No longer the top-10 show it once was, the flagship of the CSI empire is leaving its longtime Thursday night slot for Wednesdays this fall. But the bigger news entering the procedural's 12th season is the departure of Laurence Fishburne and the arrival of TV veteran Ted Danson (playing a supervisor in the CSI unit), as the show continues to search for a permanent replacement for departed fan favorite William Petersen. Jorja Fox has been re-elevated to series regular, though she will appear in just 15 episodes, but her fellow original cast member Marg Helgenberger will be leaving the series midway through the season. Helping to take her place is Elisabeth Harnois, who has been elevated to series regular after appearing in one episode last season. Expect the series to take on a lighter, more comedic tone during the upcoming season to better make use of Danson's talents.

NEW Up All Night Watch trailer
(NBC, 8p starting Sep. 14 at special 10p time)

The cast is strong, but the show is still a work in progress. Christina Applegate plays a working mother with a newborn baby and Will Arnett is her stay-at-home husband in this single-camera comedy from former SNL writer Emily Spivey (who has also written for Parks and Recreation) and producer Lorne Michaels. Thanks to the success of Bridesmaids, third cast member Maya Rudolph recently had her role increased, and the workplace portion of the show will now center on an Oprah-like talk show that Applegate's character produces and Rudolph hosts alongside Nick Cannon (America's Got Talent). Before the overhaul, the pilot received fairly good comments from critics, who especially enjoyed the performances.

NEW The X Factor
(Fox, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8p, starting Sep. 21)

Not content with merely being the star judge on American Idol, Simon Cowell departed that hit show last year to concentrate on bringing his own singing competition series, which has been airing in the UK since 2004, to America. The results arrive on Fox this fall in the form of The X Factor, which will feature Cowell and fellow Idol escapee Paula Abdul as judges, along with music producer L.A. Reid and former Girls Aloud member Cheryl Cole. (Mariah Carey is also in talks to join the show as a mentor.) Unlike in Idol, the new show will solicit groups in addition to solo artists (ages 12 and up), and judges will also serve as mentors to the contestants, who will be competing for a $5 million cash prize (plus a recording contract, but did we mention the $5 million cash prize?). You'll want to be careful when scheduling your holiday vacation; the finale will air December 21st and 22nd.

Also on Wednesday:

America's Next Top Model (The CW, 9p starting Sep. 14)
The fall cycle of the CW's long-running reality competition will be an "all-star" season, bringing back past contestants like Shannon Stewart (Cycle 1), Brittany Brower (Cycle 4), Lisa D'Amato (Cycle 5), Isis King (Cycle 11), and Allison Harvard (Cycle 12), while guest judges will include Kathy Griffin, Nicki Minaj, The Game, and La Toya Jackson.

Criminal Minds (CBS, 9p starting Sep. 21)
Though its Suspect Behavior spin-off was a dud, Criminal Minds is still going strong heading into its seventh season, which returns Paget Brewster and A.J. Cook to the roster of series regulars after the pair had seen their roles reduced last season. (Last season's new addition, Rachel Nichols, will not be returning, however.) Isabella Hofmann (Homicide: Life on the Street) will guest on a pair of upcoming episodes as an ex-wife of Agent Rossi (Joe Mantegna).

NEW Free Agents (NBC, 8:30p starting Sep. 14 at special 10:30p time) Watch trailer
Adapted by Party Down co-creator John Enbom from the British series of the same name (which will also debut in the States this fall, on BBC America), this single-camera workplace comedy follows the reluctant romance between two PR executives (Hank Azaria and Kathryn Hahn) who are each coming off of a long-term relationship. Joe Lo Truglio and Anthony Head (reprising his role as the sleazy boss from the UK version) also star. Critics disagreed on the pilot, with views ranging from "funny" to "toxic."

NEW H8R (The CW, 8p starting Sep. 14) Watch trailer
Everyday people get a chance to confront the C-list celebrities they despise the most—on national TV, no less—in this new reality show hosted by Mario Lopez (Extra) and produced by Mike Fleiss (The Bachelor). Wondering what type of "celebrities" would appear on such a show to defend themselves? The pilot features Kim Kardashian and Snooki, while Barry Bonds appears in a later episode. It's an hour long, but it'll probably feel longer.

Happy Endings (ABC, 9:30p starting Sep. 28)
A second season was far from a sure thing for ABC's midseason comedy, but fans are happy that Endings isn't ending yet, especially since the originally mediocre show increasingly won over viewers and critics as its initial run progressed and the series improved considerably. Derek Waters (Married to the Kellys) will have a recurring role this season as an old friend of Dave (Zachary Knighton), while ABC Family stars Megan Park and Nicole Gale Anderson will guest on an upcoming episode.

Harry's Law (NBC, 9p starting Sep. 21)
A rare bright spot in NBC's lineup of new shows last year, this Kathy Bates-starring legal drama returns for a second season, though it will do so without cast members Brittany Snow and Aml Ameen. Replacing them as a series regulars will be Mark Valley (Human Target) and stage actress Karen Olivo. They'll play two new attorneys hired by the small firm run by Bates' Harry, which will take on higher profile cases this season. Guest star Alfred Molina will be one of their first clients (playing a man accused of murdering his wife), while Jean Smart will guest as the DA prosecuting that case.

NEW I Hate My Teenage Daughter (Fox, 9:30p starting Nov. 23) Watch trailer
Jaime Pressly (My Name Is Earl) and Katie Finneran (Wonderfalls) star as mothers who are appalled to discover that their teen daughters have turned into the same type of "mean girls" that tormented them when they were high school outcasts. The comedy comes from New Adventures of Old Christine writers Sherry Bilsing-Graham and Ellen Kreamer. It's probably not a good sign that Fox has pushed back the premiere to about as late as it can get, the night before Thanksgiving. (Also a bad sign: terrible buzz for the pilot.)

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (NBC, 10p starting Sep. 21)
The sole survivor on NBC's schedule in the once dominant Law & Order franchise, SVU returns for its 13th season without longtime cast members Chris Meloni and B.D. Wong. Helping to fill the void are new regulars Kelli Giddish (The Good Wife) and Danny Pino (Cold Case), while Linus Roache will bring his Michael Cutter character over from the original Law & Order series. On-again, off-again cast members Stephanie March and Diane Neal will have a significant presence this season, but star Mariska Hargitay may have a slightly reduced on-screen role (though she will appear in every episode). An early episode, featuring guest stars Kyle MacLachlan and Paige Turco, will be inspired by recent headlines about Arnold Schwarzenegger's affair.

The Middle (ABC, 8p starting Sep. 21)
An hour-long premiere kicks off the sitcom's third season, and the episode will feature a mini Everybody Loves Raymond reunion, with Ray Romano guest starring opposite former Raymond star (and current Middle lead) Patricia Heaton. Later in the season, Molly Shannon will guest as Janet, the sister of Heaton's character Frankie.

Modern Family (ABC, 9p starting Sep. 21)
The third season of ABC's hit comedy kicks off with an hour-long episode that finds the extended family headed off on another group vacation ... to a Wyoming dude ranch, where they'll run into guest star Tim Blake Nelson. An upcoming episode will also see the return of guest star Benjamin Bratt (who plays the ex-husband of Sofia Vergara's Gloria). And now that Lily is no longer a baby, her role will be played by 4-year-old Aubrey Anderson-Emmons.

NEW Revenge (ABC, 10p starting Sep. 21) Watch trailer
A campy, soapy take on a Count of Monte Cristo-style revenge story, the aptly titled Revenge stars Emily VanCamp (Everwood, Brothers & Sisters) as a woman who adopts a new identity and moves to the Hamptons to wage a vendetta against every person who had a role in destroying her family years before. Splitting time between past and present events, this drama also stars Madeleine Stowe and Henry Czerny (The Tudors). The pilot is directed by Philip Noyce (Salt), and the series was created by Mike Kelley (Swingtown).

NEW Suburgatory (ABC, 8:30p starting Sep. 28) Watch trailer
Don't let the name discourage you; this could actually be one of the fall's better comedies. An overprotective single father decides to move with his 16-year-old daughter away from the dangers and temptations of Manhattan and into the suburbs in this somewhat stylized, single-camera comedy from Emily Kapnek (Hung). ABC bills the series as a combination of "Juno's heightened reality with Father Knows Best's heart," and while that sounds discouraging, the pilot surprised a lot of critics (in a good way). And having Jeremy Sisto (Six Feet Under), Cheryl Hines (Curb Your Enthusiasm), and Alan Tudyk (Firefly) in the cast certainly doesn't hurt; nor do the recent additions of Saturday Night Live's Chris Parnell and Ana Gasteyer.

Survivor (CBS, 8p starting Sep. 14)
The 23rd season of Survivor, subtitled South Pacific and taking place in Samoa (the setting for seasons 19 and 20), will once again utilize the "Redemption Island" concept introduced last season and bring back two returning competitors.

Comments (8)

  • veronicalodge  

    hi,you've specified that cheryl cole will be a judge on the u.s. x factor - she was replaced months ago; the fourth judge on the u.s. panel is nicole scherzinger. cheers.

  • conditionals  

    This is coming from a diehard supporter of NBC comedies: Community is probably the most overrated show on TV. It's OK, but doesn't deserve the hype. The 'randomness' reeks of lazyness... compare it with Parks & Recreation, which ties smart comedy with genuinely affecting storylines. My vote for most underrated would be Cougar Town.

  • SamECircle  

    lamontraymond, I don't have cable, actually :-)! I'll just watch whatever got good ratings on netflix in the summer.

  • LamontRaymond  

    Don't forget the cable stuff, Sam

  • SamECircle  

    What I'm watching:
    Monday: 2 broke girls, hart of Dixie
    Tuesday: New Girl, and Raising Hope if it wins an emmy
    Wednesday: Up All Night, Suburgatory, Modern Family
    Thursday: Community, Parks and Rec, the Office, perhaps Whitney (I’ll see after pilot)
    Friday: My 9yrold sister wants to watch Grimm because the plot’s so similar to the Sisters Grimm kids books, but after the pilot prolly nothing
    Saturday: nothing
    Sunday: Once upon a Time, (same reason as Grimm) until we’re sick of it, then simpsons, perhaps Pan Am

  • GRubi  

    The actor that plays the Dean on Community is named Jim Rash, not Jim Roush.

  • Vaille  

    If Community isn't the best comedy on television right now, it's certainly the most underrated.

  • LamontRaymond  

    The networks have to be quaking in their boots with these lineups. Bottom line? I can't think of more than 2 or 3 new shows that look remotely worth watching. Everything good these days seems to come from HBO, Showtime, AMC, FX, USA, and the other cable channels. It is still the golden age of TV, but if you're going to spend your TIME on free entertainment, make sure you do your research and stick with the quality. There are no risk takers on network TV any more - it's the same old crap. The edgy stuff - the stuff that won't get cancelled after 2 underperforming episodes - is further up your dial.

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