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The Ausiello Files: Deets on the 'Friends' reunion

Can an old Friend make ”Cougar Town” a hit? Plus, scoop on ”Bones,” ”Friday Night Lights,” and ”Desperate Housewives”

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Can an old Friend make Cougar Town a hit?

Here’s hoping Jennifer Aniston can do for ABC’s Cougar Town what lead-in Modern Family has thus far been unable to: attract a hit-size audience to Courteney Cox’s under-performing-yet-vastly-improved sitcom. ”I want as many people as [possible] to see what the show became last year,” says exec producer Bill Lawrence. ”It went from a typical TV show trying to find itself to something that I’m really proud of.” Aniston will appear in the show’s season 2 premiere (airing Sept. 22) as the shrink to Cox’s character, Jules. Lawrence says he’s intentionally implying that the doctor-patient relationship is a long-standing one, in case Aniston wants to return. ”We’re certainly not going to make it like they’ll never see each other again,” he says. ”So I’m crossing my fingers that if she has a good time, it’ll happen again.”


Bones preview: Meet the new girl!

Bones fans expecting a knock-down, drag-out catfight this season between Booth’s new girlfriend (played by Canadian actress Katheryn Winnick) and soul mate Brennan (Emily Deschanel) are out of luck. ”We are not playing a jealous triangle,” maintains exec producer Stephen Nathan. ”This isn’t high school. It won’t be two women fighting over the same man.” Regardless, Winnick — whose war-correspondent character met Booth during his tour of duty in Afghanistan — was warned to brace for a backlash when she debuts in the Sept. 23 premiere. Recalls Nathan: ”We told her, ‘You’re going to be resoundingly hated [at first], but then you’ll be loved.”’

The FNL ending you won’t see

Even in its series finale, Friday Night Lights tried to score one more touchdown. The drama — which kicks off its fifth (and last) season Oct. 27 on DirecTV — hoped to draft Billy Bob Thornton to reprise his role of Coach Gary Gaines from the feature film on which the TV show is based. Referring to himself and fellow exec producer Peter Berg — who directed the Oscar winner in the movie version — Jason Katims reveals, ”We wanted to pay homage to the movie, so we came up with an idea for a cameo. But Billy wasn’t available.” To give away the specifics of the proposed story would ruin a major development in FNL‘s swan song, but suffice it to say, it involved Coach Gaines’ small-screen successor, Coach Taylor (Kyle Chandler). Katims says not to worry — you’ll never know what you’re missing. ”We wanted it to be a rich and satisfying ending,” he says. ”Nine-tenths good story and one-tenth nostalgia.”

Wild Wild Wisteria

”There’s a new sheriff in town,” says Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry of Vanessa Williams’ rabble-rouser (as seen in this new promo pic). ”You’re going to love to hate her.”