Spring TV preview -- Michael Ausiello shares what's next for ''Desperate Housewives,'' ''Chuck,'' ''24,'' and your other favorite shows

By Michael Ausiello
Updated March 06, 2009 at 05:00 AM EST

Desperate Housewives
ABC, Sundays, 9 PM
The death of Edie (Nicollette Sheridan) rocks Wisteria Lane to its core and puts the surviving wives in the unenviable position of having to track down her now-15-year-old son, Travers, and break the news to him. Meanwhile, Orson’s increasingly bizarre behavior forces Bree to consider selling her cooking empire (she ultimately thinks better of it), and the recession forces Lynette to consider getting a job…working for Carlos?!
Plot Twists: Death, Shocking Secret

Brothers & Sisters
ABC, Sundays, 10 PM
With Tommy (Balthazar Getty) on the lam, Sarah (Rachel Griffiths) is called upon to clean up the mess at Ojai Foods, while Nora (Sally Field) intervenes to try to save his marriage. Elsewhere, we learn Ryan (Luke Grimes) is harboring a surprising secret, and Kevin’s ex, Chad (Sex and the City‘s Jason Lewis), returns and offers him and husband Scotty (Luke Macfarlane) ”an interesting romantic liaison.” (Cough.) Threesome (cough). And Kitty (Calista Flockhart) develops amorous feelings for someone other than Robert (Eli Stone‘s Matt Letscher, to be exact). ”The aftermath of Robert’s heart attack creates problems for their marriage,” explains exec producer Alison Schapker.
Plot Twists: Romance, Guest Star, Shocking Secret

The Big Bang Theory
CBS, Mondays, 8 PM
When Penny’s (Kaley Cuoco) new relationship makes Leonard (Johnny Galecki) fear he’s blown his last chance with her, ”Wolowitz [Simon Helberg] explains that opportunities to hook up with women appear like launch windows to the moon,” says exec producer Bill Prady. ”If you miss one, it might be a while until another one appears.” Meanwhile, Sheldon (Jim Parsons) will draw closer to a ”complete understanding of the universe and everything in it — except people.” Whew.
Plot Twists: Romance

Gossip Girl
The CW, Mondays, 8 PM
For Girl‘s final eight episodes, Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester) is a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown. ”She’s realizing that life is not turning out how she wanted,” says executive producer Stephanie Savage. Blair will seek solace in her old flame Nate (Chace Crawford). Meanwhile, Blair’s frenemy Serena (Blake Lively) will once again hit a rough patch after falling under the spell of a dubious tobacco heir (hints Savage: ”Let’s just say Serena gets a mug shot”). All this, plus college acceptances, prom, and the Constance Billard school play. Adds executive producer Josh Schwartz, ”You have not lived until you’ve seen Nelly Yuki in a fat suit in The Age of Innocence.” No, we have not.
Plot Twists: Romance, Shocking Secret

Fox, Mondays, 8 PM
”House undergoes some pretty traumatic stuff in the last half of the season,” reveals the show’s leading man, Hugh Laurie. ”Not physical but mental.” Series creator David Shore wouldn’t say whether the crisis his title character will be facing is what ultimately leads him to bed his boss Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein). ”They’re both troubled people,” he points out. ”It’s not like she’s this thing that if only he could reach out and grab it, everything would be okay.” In non-Huddy news, Chase (Jesse Spencer) and Cameron (Jennifer Morrison) will finally move back to the forefront in a ”really cool” way, and there will be a ”hint” of a new romance for Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard).
Plot Twists: Romance

NBC, Mondays, 8 PM
Hey, Chuck, your chances of a third season are looking a little iffy — what are you going to do now? Pull out all the freakin’ stops, says exec producer Josh Schwartz, who is promising ”multiple weddings, a shocking death, and a game-changing twist.” But will Chuck and Sarah do it? ”They’re going further than they ever have before.” Ball’s in your court, NBC!
Plot Twists: Wedding Alert, Romance, Death

How I Met Your Mother
CBS, Mondays, 8:30 PM
To accommodate Alyson Hannigan’s maternity leave, producers shot the season finale in January. Translation? Mother co-creator Carter Bays has big scoop to share. The highlights: Barney’s (Neil Patrick Harris) secret love-crush on Robin (Cobie Smulders) will ”come to a head,” and we’re finally going to get an answer to the Mother of all secrets. ”At the end of the season,” Bays shares, ”we will address the title of our show.”
Plot Twists: Romance, Shocking Secret

NBC, Mondays, 9 PM
This season’s final five episodes will become more character-driven. ”We felt like the audience had gotten confused,” acknowledges consulting producer Bryan Fuller, who says particular focus will be placed on the backstories of Tracy (Ali Larter), Angela (Cristine Rose), and Sylar (Zachary Quinto). And blood will be shed. ”There will be two deaths,” Fuller reveals. ”And these people will be dead.”
Plot Twists: Death, Shocking Secret

Fox, Mondays, 9 PM
As a new population-decimating threat is revealed, Jack (Kiefer Sutherland) gets a visit from his cougar-loving little girl, Kim (Elisha Cuthbert), who reappears sans cougar but plus husband and daughter; Tony (Carlos Bernard) finds time for some nookie; and the prez’s daughter (Sprague Grayden) emerges as 24‘s most ruthless villainess since Sherry Palmer. Oh, and more familiar faces will die. But you pretty much figured that, right?
Plot Twists: Romance, Death, Guest Star

NBC, Mondays, 10 PM
Jeffrey Tambor inherits Patricia Arquette’s crystal ball in a May episode that finds a comatose Allison passing her spirit-communicating skills to the Arrested Development patriarch.
Plot Twists: Guest Star

CBS, Tuesdays, 8 PM
”’Tiva’ fans have to watch the final four episodes,” declares exec producer Shane Brennan, referring to disciples of Tony (Michael Weatherly) and Ziva (Cote de Pablo). The drama begins with the return of Ziva’s maybe boyfriend Michael (Merik Tadros), setting up a triangle with ”very pointy ends,” says Brennan. ”Someone’s going to get hurt.” The April 28 and May 5 episodes introduce Chris O’Donnell, LL Cool J, and the crew from next fall’s NCIS spin-off, and resolve a mystery surrounding Gibbs (Mark Harmon). ”It goes right back to episode 1,” says Brennan. ”I defy anyone to guess it.” Them’s fightin’ words.
Plot Twists: Romance, Shocking Secret

The Mentalist
CBS, Tuesdays, 9 PM
The year’s biggest new hit winds up its first season when a car bomb in the CBI parking lot temporarily blinds Patrick Jane (Simon Baker), forcing the supersleuth to ”rely on his other instincts” to solve the week’s case, says coexec producer Chris Long. He’ll also become embroiled in a twist murder mystery. Romance crackles too, as Van Pelt (Amanda Righetti) gets lovey-dovey — but sorry, fans, it’s not with Wayne (Owain Yeoman).
Plot Twists: Romance

The CW, Tuesdays, 9 PM
If soap history with teen pregnancy plots is any indication, Adriana (Jessica Lowndes) is an episode or two away from falling down a flight of stairs and miscarrying, right? ”Not stairs,” winks exec producer Rebecca Rand Kirshner Sinclair, ”[but] maybe an escalator!” All kidding aside, Sinclair wants to tell the most ”emotionally grounded version of a teen pregnancy,” adding that the show’s most interesting character ”has a rocky road ahead.” She’s not alone. Naomi’s (AnnaLynne McCord) dominating older sister (Sara Foster) comes to town and puts her kid sis ”in her place,” while Annie (Shenae Grimes) fights a losing battle with her inner bad girl. Plus, Tori Spelling’s schedule permitting, the season finale may feature the Donna-Brenda (Shannen Doherty) showdown I’ve, er, we’ve all been waiting for.
Plot Twists: Baby Mama Drama, Guest Star

Fox, Tuesdays, 9 PM
Why should Olivia (Anna Torv) be the only one with a hidden past? As the X-Files-ish drama closes out its first season, she discovers that Peter (Joshua Jackson) has a few secrets of his own. And what’s up with this Pattern stuff? ”Evidence surfaces that the Pattern goes further back in history than anyone imagined,” says exec producer Roberto Orci, ”possibly relating to the origin of the human race.” Someone, quick, tell Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory
Plot Twists: Shocking Secret

ABC, Wednesdays, 9 PM
Expect answers to the following questions: What did Sawyer whisper to Kate? What happened to Aaron? Why was Ben all bloodied up before he got on the plane? And why did Hurley and Sayid even get on the plane?
Plot Twists: Shocking Secret

CBS, Wednesdays, 10 PM
The cast will shrink by one this May when a cop killer targets one of NYC’s finest and ”forever changes” the show, teases executive producer Peter M. Lenkov.
Plot Twists: Death

Fox, Thursdays, 8 PM
Booth (David Boreanaz) will experience a ”major health crisis” in May that will cause him to hallucinate. What he won’t imagine is being in bed naked with Brennan (Emily Deschanel) in the season finale. That really happens. What’s more, ”we can’t have them in bed naked without having sex,” says exec producer Stephen Nathan. Moreover, the postcoital fallout will be dealt with quickly. ”There’s going to be a resolution by the end of the episode.”
Plot Twists: Romance

The CW, Thursdays, 8 PM
A long-running character bites the dust, and in possibly related news, a manhunt for Chloe (Allison Mack) and Doomsday (Sam Witwer) will dominate this season’s final two episodes.
Plot Twists: Death

Survivor: Tocantins
CBS, Thursdays, 8 PM
Contestants should continue to expect the unexpected at Tribal Council. ”It’s a record-setting number of blindsides,” says host Jeff Probst. Other promises from Probst: There will be brutal conditions on Exile Island, ”the greatest auction we’ve ever had,” and a player evacuated from the game due to a medical condition. And as for how it all ends? ”It’s a dramatic finish,” promises Probst. ”There’s over-the-top Shakespearean entrances and exits. It’s just fantastical.”
Plot Twists: Shocking Secret

Grey’s Anatomy
ABC, Thursdays, 9 PM
Derek’s second proposal to Meredith doesn’t go over so well, but the third time’s the charm. Elsewhere, Callie’s dad (Hector Elizondo) returns, unaware that his daughter is now into girls (awkward!), and the symptoms of Owen’s (Kevin McKidd) post-traumatic stress disorder turn violent — he even hurts Cristina (Sandra Oh), albeit unintentionally. Afterward, the Iraq doc sits down with Mer’s shrink (Amy Madigan). And last but not least, George (T.R. Knight) and Izzie (Katherine Heigl) form a suicide pact and bungee jump off the Space Needle, without a bungee. Just kidding. I think.
Plot Twists: Wedding Alert, Guest Star

The Office
NBC, Thursdays, 9 PM
An upcoming episode titled ”Two Weeks Notice” is already sparking speculation that Michael (Steve Carell) will quit Dunder Mifflin after he gets passed over for a promotion. And executive producer Paul Lieberstein only supports the theory when he teases that the boss man is ”going to have a very difficult time” dealing with the recipient of said promotion — his new supervisor, Charles, played by The Wire’s Idris Elba. In happier news, Michael reconnects with soul mate Holly (Amy Ryan) in the season finale. ”It’s a warm meeting of exes,” previews Lieberstein, ”exes who are not quite over each other.” And though the wedding of Pam and Jim (Jenna Fischer and John Krasinski) is affected by the ongoing woes between Pam’s parents, ”they’re [still] planning a fall wedding. We have that to look forward to.”
Plot Twists: Wedding Alert, Romance, Guest Star

CBS, Thursdays, 9 PM
Prepare for a most fraktastic crossover this April when Battlestar Galactica‘s fifth Cylon, Kate Vernon, cameos in an episode that revolves around a murder at a Comic-Con-esque sci-fi convention.
Plot Twists: Guest Star

30 Rock
NBC, Thursdays, 9:30 PM
Liz (Tina Fey) keeps her unlucky-in-love streak going when Jon Hamm’s arc comes to an end later this month. ”She discovers Drew has sort of coasted through life on his looks,” says exec producer Robert Carlock. ”Her principles, such as they are, get in the way.” Eh, it could be worse. Wait — it will be worse when Liz sets out to seduce the corporate consultant tasked with slashing her budget. ”She tries to sell herself sexually for the good of the show and fails,” says Carlock. In addition, Jack (Alec Baldwin) will be rocked by some major family revelations, Tracy (Tracy Morgan) will fulfill his dream of space travel (or so he thinks), and Kenneth’s (Jack McBrayer) warped reality leads him to see all of his colleagues in puppet form.
Plot Twists: Romance, Shocking Secret

Ghost Whisperer
CBS, Fridays, 8 PM
The good news: Melinda (Jennifer Love Hewitt) learns she’s pregnant. The bad news: Evil forces from beyond the grave take a special interest in the lil’ guy. And then, of course, there’s the issue of the baby’s paternity.
Plot Twists: Baby Mama Drama, Shocking Secret

Plot Twists Final Tally:
2 Baby Mama Dramas
3 Wedding Alerts
12 Romances
6 Deaths
11 Shocking Secrets
7 Guest Stars