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Fall TV 2009: Tuesday

”V” joins ”NCIS,” ”90210,” and other returning shows on Tuesday night

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NCIS
Returning Drama — 8-9PM — CBS
The good news: Ziva (Cote de Pablo) survives last May’s cliff-hanger. The bad: The fallout from her near-death experience reverberates throughout season 7. For starters, her slowly evolving relationship with Tony (Michael Weatherly) ”will never be the same again,” says exec producer Shane Brennan, who adds that the crisis leads to a ”big reorganization” within the team. And fans should brace themselves for a couple of ”stunning November episodes,” one of which may answer a burning question about Mark Harmon’s Gibbs: ”What the heck happened to his boat?” Teases Brennan, ”You haven’t seen the last of it.” (Sept. 22)

Shark Tank
New Reality — 8-9PM — ABC
”I think it’s going to grow week by week,” says exec producer Mark Burnett (Survivor, The Apprentice) of his inventor series that pulled mediocre numbers during its summer run. Based on the Japanese series Dragons’ Den, which has been remade around the globe, Shark allows amateur entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas to the ”sharks,” five tycoons who decide whether they want to invest. (ABC has pushed cranky, Trump-lite Kevin O’Leary as the breakout, but we prefer the softer touch of Robert Herjavec.) If a contestant’s product is particularly inane, the sharks tear apart the idea. Nonetheless, says Burnett, ”compared to foreign versions of the show, we’re seeing better ideas — and more deals being made — than the rest of the world combined.” Take that, recession! (Sept. 29)

V
New Drama — 8-9PM — ABC
Like the NBC miniseries in 1983 (and the TV show a year later), V tells the story of a strange civilization of aliens who claim to come in peace — until a band of rebels forms to expose their sinister ways. Lost‘s Elizabeth Mitchell joins the resistance movement as Erica Evans, an FBI agent whose son, Tyler (Logan Huffman), is seduced by the ”visitors” and their gorgeous leader, Anna (Firefly‘s Morena Baccarin). Scott Wolf also stars as a TV reporter. ”I didn’t think I was going to do another TV show,” admits Mitchell, who will reprise her role as Juliet on Lost this season. ”But I loved how there was a strong female protagonist and a very strong female antagonist.” Not that it was easy to find the villain: Exec producer Jeffrey Bell said they ”looked a long time” before Baccarin walked in, rocking a boy haircut and portraying Anna like a human. Sighs Bell, ”You wouldn’t believe how many really good actresses came in and played her like a robot.” And that’s different from most Hollywood auditions how? (Nov. 3)

The Biggest Loser
Returning Reality — 8-10PM — NBC
Switching back to individual competition in season 8, Loser features contestants battling more than just love handles. ”These people have more emotional issues than we’ve ever dealt with — by far,” says exec producer Dave Broome. We’ll be rooting for 247-pound Abby, who lost her family in a car accident; Shay, a 476-pound social worker (Loser‘s heaviest contestant ever); and Daniel, the 454-to-312-pound competitor from season 7. Then there’s ”the scariest moment in Biggest Loser history,” which occurs during a mile walk/run in episode 1. Later, Derek Jeter and Suze Orman swing by, and contestants head to Washington, D.C., to run the steps at the Lincoln Memorial and visit 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for a healthy meal prepared by the White House chef. Any Obama cameos? Says Broome, ”They’re not doing any prime-time appearances on reality shows, sadly.” (Sept. 15)

90210
Returning Drama — 8-9PM — The CW
And the newest makeover show of the fall is…90210? Yes, exec producer Rebecca Sinclair, who came on halfway through last season, has all but exorcised last season in an effort to add some zip to the zip. ”Last year, the show was both too old and not old enough,” says Sinclair, who changed everything from the theme song to the sets. (Godspeed, Dustin Milligan’s Ethan!) Naomi (AnnaLynne McCord) and Liam (Matt Lanter) will continue on their star-crossed-lovers path, while Silver (Jessica Stroup) has a thing for Teddy (new cast member Trevor Donovan), a hottie tennis player who’s also Adrianna’s (Jessica Lowndes) ex-boyfriend. Gillian Zinser joins the cast as Ivy, a laid-back surfer chick who befriends the boys. And holy Brenda! Formerly sweet Annie (Shenae Grimes) will be ”put through hell” and embrace her dark side accordingly. As for the old gang? Kelly (Jennie Garth) will be back, and Sinclair says she has an idea for Donna (Tori Spelling), but there are no plans for Shannen Doherty to re-return. ”We have to get this new vision of the show up on its feet without the training wheels,” she says. ”It’s about believing in this new group.” (Premiered Sept. 8)

So You Think You Can Dance
Returning Reality — 8-10PM — Fox
With the summer dance competition waltzing to a higher-profile berth this fall, exec producer and judge Nigel Lythgoe decided it was time to rectify a long-standing injustice. ”We’re often accused that some people you’ve never seen before [make it to] the top 20,” Lythgoe admits. So for SYTYCD‘s sixth season, he says the show will ”introduce our top 20 in their genres [of dance] so that America gets to see them all at their best,” but in an episode without any call-in voting. Don’t worry — Lythgoe hasn’t gone all soft. Since the fifth season was airing while he was holding auditions for the sixth, ”we’re all exhausted,” says the producer. ”That makes us a little bit meaner to the kids.” He chuckles. ”I quite like that — it keeps everybody on their toes.” Literally! (Premiered Sept. 9)

Sherri
New Comedy — 10-10:30PM — Lifetime
Sherri Shepherd plays a newly single mom/comedian who still has to deal with her philandering ex-husband (Malcolm-Jamal Warner) and his baby-mama (Kate Reinders). Sound familiar? It should — the show is based on Shepherd’s life. ”The funniest stuff is from a person’s truth,” says Shepherd, who’ll continue to cohost The View while filming. She’s also excited to add ”coexecutive producer” to her résumé, since the title allows her to take advantage of her costars. ”I get to say, ‘Can you write a love scene between Malcolm and me?’ That’s what you do with the power.” (Debuts Monday, Oct. 5 before moving to its regular time slot)

Sons of Anarchy
Returning Drama — 10-11PM — FX
Violence has a way of finding the outlaw motorcycle club that runs Charming, Calif., and in the season 2 premiere, it arrives in the form of white separatists (led by Adam Arkin and Henry Rollins). Their brutal attack on Gemma (Katey Sagal) is meant to send a message to her husband, club president Clay (Ron Perlman) — but Gemma refuses to tell him about the incident until the tension between Clay and her son/club VP Jax (Charlie Hunnam) almost explodes. ”Gemma realizes that she needs to pull the trigger and finally reveal what happened to her in an attempt to unify us,” Hunnam says. (Premiered Sept. 8)

The Forgotten
New Drama — 10-11PM — ABC
ABC’s entrée into the case-of-the-week genre features a group of civilian volunteers — led by Christian Slater — who try to ID the remains of victims long after cops have given up. Wait, another Cold Case? Not so, says Jerry Bruckheimer, the guy with the magic touch when it comes to procedural TV. ”You’re hearing the whole story of the victim,” he says. ”I’ve never seen that.” Slater, who plays Alex — an ex-cop mourning the unsolved kidnapping of his own daughter — says he was eager to try a closed-ended series after his NBC spy drama My Own Worst Enemy flopped last fall. ”I found myself getting emotionally involved in the character [of Alex],” he says. ”I’ve been reading Nancy Drew books to my kids, and I love these kinds of shows.” (Sept. 22)

The Good Wife
New Drama — 10-11PM — CBS
The opening sequence of The Good Wife echoes a familiar occurrence in politics today: An imposed-upon civil servant (Chris Noth) holds a press conference where he responds to allegations of sexual misconduct and resigns in disgrace, while his seemingly devoted wife, Alicia (Julianna Margulies), stands by his side. While the situation smacks of John Edwards and Eliot Spitzer, this fictionalized account is told from another POV: ”What was fascinating for us was not the politician,” says exec producer Robert King, ”but the wife standing next to the politician.” Adds Margulies, ”What you get to see is her reaction. ‘Oh my God, did I make a mistake? How blind could I have been?’ All she knows is that she needs to take care of her family now. It’s Darwin.” Wait, was he involved in a sex scandal too? (Sept. 22)