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Big stars on TV -- watch tonight

Big-time stars drop in on your favorite TV shows — Brad Pitt, Tara Reid, and others try the small screen…for a limited time only

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If the new fall lineup is losing its luster for you fickle TV fans, take heart: Celebs will drop in for short-term visits during November sweeps. Here’s our roundup of who’ll pop up where.

Tom Welling, Michael McKean, ...
Image credit: Smallville: The WB/David Gray

Michael McKean

SHOW ”Smallville” (The WB, Wednesdays at 8 p.m.)
WHEN Oct. 29
AS Perry White, the infamous editor of The Daily Planet
WHY WE CARE McKean (pictured with Tom Welling) blew us away in ”A Mighty Wind” and ”Spinal Tap,” so we expect no less than genius from him as the Planet’s hot-tempered, hard-headed editor. Plus, we can’t resist the cute factor: McKean’s real-life wife, Annette O’Toole, plays Clark Kent’s mom on the show.

E/R, Bob Newhart
Image credit: ER: Warner Bros.

Bob Newhart

SHOW ”ER” (NBC, Thursdays at 10 p.m.)
WHEN Oct. 30 (three episodes)
AS An architect suffering from macular degeneration who finds a connection with Dr. Susan Lewis (Sherry Stringfield)
WHY WE CARE Beneath that deadpan wit lurks the soul of a heartbreaking dramatic actor just dying to get out. If ”Lost in Translation” star Bill Murray can do it, so can Newhart.

Dylan McDermott, Will & Grace
Image credit: Will & Grace: Chris Haston

Dylan McDermott

SHOW ”Will & Grace” (NBC, Thursdays at 9 p.m.)
WHEN Nov. 6 (three episodes)
AS A handsome stranger who meets Will (Eric McCormack, left) in a park while each man is taking his wheelchair-bound mother for a stroll
WHY WE CARE Will has been in dire need of a boyfriend for years. And now we know he’s just been holding out for someone really, really hot.

Victor McCay, Dennis Miller, ...
Image credit: Boston Public: Carin Baer/FOX.

Dennis Miller

SHOW ”Boston Public” (Fox, Fridays at 9 p.m.)
WHEN Oct. 31 (in his second of a five-episode arc)
AS A money-grubbing investment banker who, convicted of securities fraud, sidesteps jail by agreeing to teach math at an inner-city school
WHY WE CARE Dennis Miller (right, with Victor McCay) is to teaching as Colin Farrell is to babysitting. If executive producer David E. Kelley lets this guy ad-lib, the students won’t know what hit them.

Jewel, Rob Lowe, ...
Image credit: Lyon’s Den: NBC

Jewel

SHOW The Lyon’s Den (NBC, Sundays at 10 p.m.)
WHEN Nov. 2
AS A Department of Justice lawyer who faces off against her former fiancé, Jack Turner (Rob Lowe) in court
WHY WE CARE Did you see ”Ride With the Devil”? Neither did we. But if she can go toe-to-toe with Tobey Maguire, she can handle these legal eagles.

King of the Hill
Image credit: King of the Hill: Fox

Brad Pitt

SHOW ”King of the Hill” (Fox, Sundays at 7:30 p.m.)
WHEN Nov. 2
AS Unintelligible Boomhauer’s equally incomprehensible brother Patch, who shows up with his latest girlfriend (voiced by Laura Dern). The catch? She’s Boomhauer’s ex.
WHY WE CARE Pitt mastered bizarro gypsy muttering in ”Snatch”; he’s a natural for playing Boomhauer’s mush-mouthed sib. And when these two face off, we’ll understand… absolutely nothing.

Gregory Smith, James Earl Jones, ...
Image credit: Everwood: The WB/Justin Lubin

James Earl Jones and Beau Bridges

SHOW ”Everwood” (The WB, Mondays at 9 p.m.)
WHEN Nov. 3
AS Coal miners trapped in a mine who must rely on Dr. Brown (Treat Williams) and his fellow doctors to keep them alive
WHY WE CARE As Darth Vader, Jones (right, with Gregory Smith) wowed us with his rumbling baritone, but the idea of hearing that big bad voice echo off the walls of a mine really generates goosebumps.

Sebastian Bach
Image credit: Sebastian Bach: Alexander Sibaja/Getty Images

Sebastian Bach

SHOW ”Gilmore Girls” (The WB, Tuesdays at 8 p.m.)
WHEN Nov. 4
AS Gil, a musician Lane Kim (Keiko Agena) discovers while looking to replace her band’s guitarist. Lane’s thrilled when she hears Gil’s killer demo tape, but freaked out to learn he’s an ”old” guy in his 30s.
WHY WE CARE Seeing Skid Row’s golden god of early-’90s hair metal cast as a talented geezer makes us want to hide in a corner and check for liver spots, but we’re dying to hear him rock out old-school again.

Tara Reid, Zach Braff, ...
Image credit: Scrubs: Chris Haston

Tara Reid

SHOW ”Scrubs” (NBC, Thursdays at 8:30 p.m.)
WHEN Nov. 13 (four episodes)
AS Danni, the kid sister of Jordan (Christa Miller). Expect the hospital to catch a wave of love sickness when she gets romantically entangled with series star J.D. (Zach Braff, pictured with Reid).
WHY WE CARE We’ve seen more of Reid on the party circuit than we have in theaters lately, so it’s nice to get a reminder about what she does for a living.

Chuck Norris, Michael O'Malley, ...
Image credit: Yes, Dear: Cliff Lipson/CBS

Chuck Norris

SHOW ”Yes, Dear” (CBS, Mondays at 8 p.m.)
WHEN Nov. 17
AS Himself. Researching a part as a security guard, he calls on Jimmy (Mike O’Malley, left) for help.
WHY WE CARE Hey, it’s Walker, the original Texas ranger! We can only hope he puts O’Malley into an episode-long choke hold.

Shannon Elizabeth
Image credit: Shannon Elizabeth: Fernando Allende/Celebrityphoto.com

Shannon Elizabeth

SHOW ”That ’70s Show” (Fox, Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m.)
WHEN Nov. 19 (recurring)
AS Brook, the high school valedictorian and dream girl who hooks up with Kelso (Ashton Kutcher)
WHY WE CARE She may be a nice girl this time around, but in our hearts she’ll always be naughty Nadia from ”American Pie.”

Liza Minnelli, Arrested Development
Image credit: Arrested Development: Sam Urdank/FOX

Liza Minnelli

SHOW ”Arrested Development” (Fox, premieres Sun., Nov. 2 at 9:30 p.m.)
WHEN Nov. 23 (four episodes)
AS The recently widowed high-society nemesis of Michael’s mother, Lucille (Jessica Walter, left). The catfighting probably won’t out-scratch ”Dynasty” divas Alexis and Krystle, but it’ll come close.
WHY WE CARE We mocked her creepy union with David Gest, but their brutal divorce made us feel guilty. The least we can do is watch her doing what she does best: scenery-chewing.

Denise Richards
Image credit: Denise Richards: Gilbert Flores/CelebrityPhoto.com

Denise Richards

SHOW ”Two and a Half Men” (CBS, Mondays at 9:30 p.m.)
WHEN Nov. 24
AS The on-again, off-again girlfriend of Charlie (Richards’ real-life husband, Charlie Sheen)
WHY WE CARE If Sheen can make sparks fly with his famously wooden wife, we’ll know he’s not only a great actor, but has fearsome magic powers to boot.

Jerry Seinfeld
Image credit: Jerry Seinfeld: Roger Karnbad/Celebrityphoto.com

Jerry Seinfeld

SHOW ”Curb Your Enthusiasm” (HBO, Sundays at 9:30 pm, premieres Jan. 2004 — no, not this fall, but who cares? We can’t wait!)
WHEN March (one episode)
AS Himself, in the fourth-season finale, which will center around Larry David making his Broadway debut
WHY WE CARE Seinfeld pairing up with David is as close as we’ll get to seeing Jerry and George back in action. We’ll take it.

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