By Lynette Rice
September 09, 2010 at 09:34 PM EDT

Image Credit: FilmMagic Inc/FilmMagic.comThe fall season doesn’t officially begin until Sept. 20, but the broadcast networks have already kicked off development for the following September. A number of hot projects have hit the marketplace — a crime thriller and an Alcatraz drama from uber-producer J.J. Abrams, just to name two — but those scripts don’t seem nearly as provocative as the possibility of a (major?) comeback by a former ABC star. EW has learned from multiple sources that Tim Allen (Home Improvement) is looking to stage a return to prime time — as long as it involves the right project. “It will be huge,” predicts one manager of Allen’s comeback — if and when it happens. Another source indicated that the actor is taking “a few select meetings” with writer-producers, one of whom may include Greg Daniels (Parks & Recreation, The Office). Is there a chance that Allen could even join the staff of Dunder-Mifflin?

What is this, the return of the ’90s stars? Not that there’s anything wrong with that: There are certain veteran TV actors who will always trigger a flurry of excitement and activity from the industry if they indicate a desire to revisit their roots. Tom Selleck, a.k.a. Magnum P.I., is expected to be the primary draw of Blue Bloods when it bows on CBS on Sept. 24. Friends’ Matthew Perry is headlining ABC’s mid-season comedy Mr. Sunshine. Paul Reiser, who was on Mad About You from 1992-1999, will star in an eponymous comedy for NBC early next year. And Michael Chiklis, who last starred in the The Shield but headlined The Commish back in the ’90s, was one of the most sought-after actors this development season before he joined ABC’s No Ordinary Family (Sept. 28). And don’t get us started on the enduring appeal of NCIS‘ Mark Harmon, who’s been a bona fide TV star since his days on St. Elsewhere in the ’80s. There are some TV stars who fans will always be drawn to, no matter what year (or decade) they decide to do another series.

Allen now joins a small, but exclusive, list of actors that the broadcast networks yearn to cast every year in their next big TV shows. Perennial favorites include Kevin Bacon, Lisa Kudrow, Claire Danes, Ashley Judd, William H. Macy, Susan Sarandon, Elisabeth Shue, Josh Duhamel, and Scott Speedman.