Deggans Tells You All the Returning Network TV Shows
It took repeated phone calls and threats to expose certain TV executives' fondness for American Girl dolls, but I have a list of most network television shows expected to return for the end of the season after the Hollywood writers' strike.
Late-night talk shows benefit first, generating material viewers can see early as tonight. The quality of guests on some shows will also improve, as actors who previously refused to cross picket lines at NBC, ABC and Comedy Central will join in. NBC’s Saturday Night Live returns Feb. 23 with former head writer and 30 Rock star Tina Fey as host. And the Feb. 24 Academy Awards ceremony will avoid the humiliating fate of the starless Golden Globes in January.
Here’s a list of each network’s plans for finishing this season as of Wednesday:
Shows returning: How I Met Your Mother (March 17, 9 episodes), The Big Bang Theory (March 17, 9 eps), Two and a Half Men (March 17, 9 eps), CSI: Miami (March 24, 8 eps), Cold Case (March 30, 5 eps), Criminal Minds (April 2, 7 eps), CSI: NY (April 2, 7 eps), CSI (April 3, 6 eps), Without a Trace (April 3, 6 eps), Ghost Whisperer (April 4, 6 eps), Numb3rs (April 4, 6 eps), NCIS April 8, 7 eps), Moonlight (April 11, 4 eps), Rules of Engagement (April 14, 6 eps) and Shark (TBA, 4 eps).
What’s canceled: No announcements. Jimmy Smits’ drama Cane drew low ratings before an American Idol-inspired hiatus. For sure, Cane and The Unit will not return this year.
Shows returning: Its most popular scripted ones, including Desperate Housewives, Brothers and Sisters, Grey’s Anatomy, Lost, Samantha Who? and Ugly Betty. All have been picked up for next season, along with new Wednesday night shows Pushing Daisies, Dirty Sexy Money and Private Practice.
How many episodes: Plans include four to five new ones, returning sometime in April. The Wednesday night lineup will avoid Fox’s popular American Idol and stay benched until fall.
What’s canceled: Rumors abound that the unpopular Cavemen, Big Shots and Carpoolers are goners. Women’s Murder Club, Men in Trees and Boston Legal may return this fall.
Shows returning: Reaper, One Tree Hill, Gossip Girl, Supernatural and Smallville. Other shows still have a stockpile of new episodes: Aliens in America (eight), Everybody Hates Chris (12) and The Game (nine).
How many episodes: Except for Smallville, which the network says will produce four to five new episodes, the other shows will make five to six. The comedies are expected back in mid March, dramas mid April.
What’s canceled: The linchpin of its black-centered sitcom lineup, Girlfriends, aired its last original episode this week and is expected to return only in a retrospective farewell show. Life is Wild, the Africa-based drama, and the online-focused CW Now are also effectively canceled.
Shows returning: Bones returns April 14 with four saved episodes; the network expects to make more. House will also film more episodes. Brad Garrett’s ‘Til Death returns Feb. 25, Kelsey Grammer’s Back to You Feb. 26. Though eight completed episodes of serial action drama 24 are done, the series won’t return until next year.
How many episodes: Fox had the best strike plan of any network, with four new shows scheduled to debut in March and April, including Parker Posey’s The Return of Jezebel James and Julianna Marguilies’ Canterbury’s Law. House may film four to five new episodes.
What’s canceled: It’s not official, but New Orleans police drama K-Ville is not expected to return.
Shows returning: The Office, ER, 30 Rock and Scrubs all return April 10; My Name is Earl starts April 3 with a one-hour episode. Still undecided: Scrubs, the only Thursday show not resuming production, has at least five unaired episodes. But will NBC pay for production of a series finale? Medium, Law & Order, and Law & Order: SVU will also return to production.
How many episodes: No final numbers.
What’s cancelled: It’s not official. But Journeyman and Bionic Woman are probably gone. Chuck, Life and Heroes won’t return until fall. Still undecided: Friday Night Lights and Las Vegas.