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Wednesday: New + Returning Shows

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Arrow
Season 3 / 8 P.M. / The CW
Team Arrow is riding high after taking down the villainous Deathstroke, but that won’t last long. ”Things will get much worse much quicker than anyone anticipated,” exec producer Marc Guggenheim says. The season will introduce DC Comics’ Ra’s al Ghul as the new Big Bad as Oliver (Stephen Amell) struggles with his identity as Arrow. Fortunately, he’ll have backup from Roy (Colton Haynes), who suits up as Arsenal, and Laurel (Katie Cassidy), now that she’s in on Oliver’s secret. ”She’s definitely in a partnership with the Arrow and with Oliver,” says Guggenheim. ”And it’s a different dynamic now between the two of them than it’s ever been before.” Oliver will finally go on a date with Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) — though with the introduction of Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh) as both a potential love interest for Oliver’s IT gal and a foil at Queen Consolidated, it sounds like Oliver’s personal life will be as rough as his professional one. Oct. 8

The Middle
Season 6 / 8 P.M. / ABC
The Hecks are all back under one roof for now, since Axl (Charlie McDermott) hasn’t returned to college for the fall. But this season, it’s all about Sue (Eden Sher). ”It’s fun to think about what Sue’s going to do with her life,” co-creator DeAnn Heline says. It’s her senior year, so Sue must decide where to go to college — but first, the braces are coming off. ”Of course, it’s not going to go as smoothly as you think,” star Patricia Heaton says. Bad news for Sue, good news for viewers, since her orthodontist will be played by Spin City‘s Richard Kind. Sept. 24

Survivor
Season 29 / 8 P.M. / CBS
The Blood vs. Water concept — in which pairs of loved ones compete — returns as nine duos do battle for the million dollars in Nicaragua. Also back is the Exile Island twist, in which one player is sent to live away from the tribe between challenges. But this time, the contestant will be sent there by his or her own loved one after they compete against each other in a one-on-one duel. ”Winner gets reward, loser goes to Exile Island,” says host Jeff Probst. ”Where it’s going to really suck because you put ’em there!” Sure to rock the island: former baseball pitcher John Rocker, who does not think his controversial comments about the diversity of New Yorkers in a 1999 SPORTS ILLUSTRATED article will be held against him. ”My teammates liked me so much, they would come to my defense after that article,” says Rocker. ”I think once these people get to know me, they will be willing to defend me as well.” Um…has John Rocker watched Survivor? Sept. 24

The Mysteries of Laura
New Drama / 8 P.M. / NBC
TV Reentry Form: Debra Messing
1. Name Debra Messing
2. Current destination The Mysteries of Laura, a new dramedy that follows Det. Laura Diamond (Messing) as she solves crimes by day and raises her fairly heinous 6-year-old twin sons by night.
3. Last permanent TV address NBC’s Smash
4. Character description in four words ”Badass. Cop. Frazzled. Mom.”
5. Reason for reentry ”I read the script and was really intrigued by the murder mystery, and at the same time I found myself laughing out loud.”
6. Season itinerary ”A really smart murder mystery that has to be solved every week anchors the show. But then you have these devilish twin boys, and you’ve got the soon-to-be-ex-husband (Josh Lucas) and you have all the personalities at work that have their own quirks — that’s where the lightheartedness and comedy come from.”
7. About my character… ”Laura is very transparent. She’s the first to acknowledge when she’s failing.”
”I am over the moon with my wardrobe. It’s jeans and sweatpants and T-shirts. It’s awesome. Because she’s the smartest brain in the room, she gets away with dressing outside of the normal detective code.”
”Police have to look at things on a daily basis that no one should see.”

The Goldbergs
Season 2 / 8:30 P.M. / ABC
It’s time for a royal wedding! Well, kind of. Beverly (Wendi McLendon-Covey) longs to channel Ur-’80s icons Charles and Diana and renew her vows with Murray (Jeff Garlin) in an over-the-top approximation of the famous nuptials. ”She wants to have a big blowout since their first wedding was kind of paltry because Murray paid for it himself,” says McLendon-Covey. ”But nothing is going to happen the way she wants it to.” Plus, creator Adam F. Goldberg’s love of high school theater becomes a plotline for Adam (Sean Giambrone) and his friends, with guest star Ana Gasteyer as a drama coach. ”I’m obsessed with musicals,” says Goldberg. ”So I’m doing a full episode of what that experience was like, being a theater kid.” Sept. 24

Stalker
New Drama / 10 P.M. / CBS
From Scream to The Vampire Diaries and The Following, Kevin Williamson has been scaring audiences for nearly two decades — and now he’s behind the most frightening show of the fall. Stalker follows Maggie Q and Dylan McDermott as detectives who worked for the LAPD’s Threat Assessment Unit, handling the city’s ever-increasing stalking cases. Here, Williamson breaks down the show’s spine-chilling opening scene.

The Concept
A young woman (Diaries‘ Torrey DeVitto) drives home to discover a masked man outside her apartment who douses her in gasoline and traps her in her locked car. Where does such a twisted idea come from? ”I think of what’s scary,” says Williamson simply. ”Being trapped inside a moving car that’s on fire would be completely terrifying.”

The Motifs
Scream fans will notice the prominent use of cell phones and car keys. ”We did it deliberately,” says Williamson. ”The entire opening of Stalker was meant to be an homage to Scream.” Also familiar: The killer is masked. ”The mask is a necessity on screen. You’re trying to conceal your killer and you don’t want to [just show] feet.”

The Music
”Sometimes I’ll watch a movie and I’ll get inspiration,” admits Williamson. ”But more importantly I listen to scores, like some Christopher Young or Marco Beltrami — all of my favorite horror-movie composers. Then when I’m writing a love scene or an emotional scene, I put on my ballads or my Taylor Swift.” Oct. 1

Criminal Minds
Season 10 / 9 P.M. / CBS
After spending the summer shorthanded because of Blake’s (Jeanne Tripplehorn) sudden departure, the BAU team will get a reprieve with the hiring of FBI agent Kate Callahan (Jennifer Love Hewitt). ”She has a lot of gumption,” Hewitt says. ”If she’s afraid of a bad guy, she doesn’t show it.” Kate has an instant rapport with the team, especially Rossi (Joe Mantegna), who will have ”two big surprises this year,” says showrunner Erica Messer. Savannah (Rochelle Aytes) will return as a love interest for Morgan (Shemar Moore), while Hotch (Thomas Gibson) will deal with his breakup from Beth. ”The goal will be to see if Hotch can get out there and meet someone new,” Messer says. Oct. 1

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Season 16 / 9 P.M. / NBC
”We’re going to be exploring the various notions of what family is,” says exec producer Warren Leight. Last season, Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) received a promotion to acting commander and a foster son, while several longtime characters — including Detective Munch (Richard Belzer) — left the SVU team. ”This season we’re going to get back to the stories,” says Ice-T (whose character, Fin, is now ”the OG of the squad,” per Leight). Those stories, with guest stars like Stacy Keach and Ron Rifkin, will continue to riff on headlines, from a racist sports exec to an out-of-control former child star. Sept. 24

Modern Family
Season 6 / 9 P.M. / ABC
After saying ”I do” in the season finale, Cam (Eric Stonestreet) wants nothing more than to keep the honeymoon going with Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson). ”Cam is a celebrator of life and takes every opportunity to do the grandest thing possible,” says Stonestreet. ”He might employ some help from the cleaning lady and Lily to plan a special surprise for Mitchell.” Meanwhile, Haley (Sarah Hyland) questions her feelings for Andy (returning guest star Adam Devine). Perhaps she should seek guidance from newly coupled Manny (Rico Rodriguez). ”Manny’s had many girlfriends, but none that existed outside of his imagination. This one is actually three-dimensional,” says exec producer Christopher Lloyd. Sept. 24

black-ish
New Comedy / 9:30 P.M. / ABC
The Johnsons are living the American dream — or at least one version of it. Both parents are successful professionals and the kids are all good eggs, but Andre (Anthony Anderson) has started to worry that something is off. ”He looks at his kids and they’re not exactly living his black experience. They’re black-ish,” says creator Kenya Barris, who drew on his own life for the comedy. So when the Johnsons’ son decides he wants to play field hockey instead of basketball, Andre enters cultural panic mode — much to the bewilderment of his wife, Rainbow (Tracee Ellis Ross), who’s more aligned with the kids in her worldview. ”The black experience, the human experience is not the same for everybody,” says Ross. ”The show is about the ish. And the ish, to me, is what we’re all dealing with.” Sept. 24

Nashville
Season 3 / 10 P.M. / ABC
Yes, the ladies have a lot of decisions to make: Will Rayna (Connie Britton) choose longtime flame Deacon (Charles Esten) or superstar fiancé Luke (Will Chase)? How will Juliette (Hayden Panettiere) handle her pregnancy, not to mention her former flame Avery (Jonathan Jackson)? Showrunner Dee Johnson swears some resolution will come quickly: ”Very big decisions are made in the first episode.” But first, some music! The premiere will feature live performances from Deacon and Will (Chris Carmack), something that Johnson says is ”both exciting and nerve-racking — our actors do everything, and this is a chance for people to see that.” As for Juliette’s pregnancy, ”it’s not going to be too long before you get more information,” says the actually pregnant Panettiere. Sept. 24

What’s Next For…
Hell’s Kitchen
Season 13 / 8 P.M. / Fox
Gordon Ramsay has become a staple on Fox’s lineup year-round, but everyone knows his signature dish is this crazy cooking competition. ”It’s the most theatrical and the most intense season we’ve ever had,” says exec producer Arthur Smith, who promises guests from Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler to the Miami Heat’s Chris Bosh. It’s also the most dangerous season, from the sound of it. ”I don’t know what happened, but it was, like, the Year of the Ambulance.” Premiered Sept. 10

The 100
Season 2 / 9P.M. / The CW
Now that the Ark has landed on Earth, the sci-fi thriller delves deeper into the world of the native grounders (humans who survived the nuclear holocaust) and the mountain men at Mount Weather, where we last saw Clarke (Eliza Taylor) being held captive. ”You’ll see her do her very best to fight her way out,” says Taylor. We’d expect nothing less. Oct. 22

Chicago P.D.
Season 2 / 10 P.M. / NBC
By the end of the premiere, viewers will learn if Voight (Jason Beghe) or Stillwell (Ian Bohen) killed Jin (Archie Kao). And Markie Post starts a three-episode arc as the perennially disappointing mother of Lindsay (Sophia Bush). ”Lindsay struggles with who really is her family,” exec producer Matt Olmstead says, ”and how much slack do you cut your family.” Sept. 24