Here are Friday's most anticipated shows this season

By EW Staff
September 07, 2012 at 04:00 AM EDT

CSI: NY
Retuning Drama

Premieres Sept. 28, 8-9 p.m., CBS

Writing last season’s finale was kind of tricky, as the writers didn’t know whether the show would survive, so the gang’s all here in a bar ender was positioned to give fans closure. Now that Mac (Gary Sinise) and his team have returned for a ninth season, the effects of the gunshot wound that he endured after investigating a series of bank robberies will come back to haunt him. ”There are physical questions,” says exec producer Pam Veasey. ”There is a certain amount of trauma and questions about his mental state.” Making matters worse, Mac will have to deal with a serial arsonist (Rob Morrow guests in two episodes as the prime suspect). In more New York destruction news, ”we’ll drain Turtle Pond!” says Veasey of the Central Park landmark. ”We presume there are quite a few murder weapons at the bottom.”

Last Man Standing
Retuning Comedy

Premieres Nov. 2, 8-8:30 p.m., ABC

Change has been a part of this Tim Allen comedy since it bowed last fall. The show — about outdoor-store owner Mike (Allen), who has a geologist for a wife (Nancy Travis) and three teenage daughters — is now on its third showrunner (currently Ellen‘s Tim Doyle), and it’ll start season 2 on a new night with three new cast members. Remember Alexandra Krosney, who played Mike’s lippy single-mom daughter Kristin? She’s gone, replaced by Amanda Fuller (Grey’s Anatomy). Her toddler son has been aged up, too; Boyd is now a 5-year-old (Flynn Morrison). As for the baby’s daddy, he’ll no longer be played by Nick Jonas; Greek‘s Jordan Masterson takes over the role. So is this a reboot or what? Doyle says no. ”It’s the same show,” he insists. ”We’re just goosing up the conflict. We’re just reinforcing what worked really well last year.” So…the Tim Allen part?

Shark Tank
Retuning Reality

Premieres Sept. 14, 8-9 p.m., ABC

”Bigger deals, a lot more fighting.” That’s what Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, one of the often-heated show’s ”shark” investors, says we can expect from season 4 (which moves to 9 p.m. in November). ”Trust me, there are times when you just want to reach over and punch [fellow sharks] Kevin [Harrington] or Lori [Greiner],” says Cuban. ”Because these are deals we really want to invest in, there’s a lot more emotion.” What are these fisticuff-inducing new products? ”We have these Willy Wonka grandmas who make candy that dentists say is good for your teeth,” teases the show’s exec producer, Mark Burnett. ”And there are a bunch of celebrity pitches: pro athletes, comedians, Seth MacFarlane.” Our advice? If it involves a talking teddy bear, get out those boxing gloves.

Touch
Retuning Drama

Premieres Oct. 26, 8-9 p.m., FOX

After meeting Lucy (Maria Bello) in the finale, father-son duo Martin (Kiefer Sutherland) and Jake (David Mazouz) waste no time in season 2 informing her that her presumed-deceased daughter, who possesses Jake-like abilities, is actually alive. And while much of the fun ”will be watching how they finally get to her,” says exec producer Tim Kring, viewers will get to meet young Amelia (Saxon Sharbino) in the season opener. New characters include Calvin (Lukas Haas), a mathematical genius who works for the mysterious Aster Corp., and Guillermo (Saïd Taghmaoui), a brutal killer with a vicious goal. ”[Martin] is going to be much more proactive than he is reactionary,” says Sutherland of his character. ”That’s a by-product of how much the stakes have risen for him and his son.”

Whitney
Retuning Comedy

Premieres Oct. 19, 8-8:30 p.m., NBC

Yes, Whitney Cummings is fully aware that Whitney was everyone’s favorite critical punching bag last season. And as the star, creator, and exec producer, she’s taking most of the responsibility. ”Let’s be honest, I’m an acquired taste,” Cummings says with a laugh. Though the freshman season centered on her nonwedded bliss with boyfriend Alex (Chris D’Elia), season 2 finds the longtime couple adjusting to being newly engaged. Despite the move to Friday nights, Cummings remains ”very optimistic” that Whitney will continue to improve, in quality and in the ratings. ”But I also take a lot of Xanax,” she quips, ”so maybe that helps.”

Community
Retuning Comedy

Premieres Oct. 19, 8:30-9 p.m., NBC

Take a good look at this picture. ”This should clear up any hesitation or questions about whether this show is changing much,” declares Joel McHale, who plays ringleader Jeff Winger. ”When I read that first script, I was relieved. I was like, ‘Well, no one is going to accuse us of not remaining at the fantastical level we operate on.”’ Indeed, after a tumultuous spring in which creator Dan Harmon was fired and two executive producers exited the comedy, Community returns for a 13-episode fourth season with new showrunners Moses Port and David Guarascio (Happy Endings) and a promise to keep Community‘s freak flag flying. In the premiere, after the students’ records appear to have been destroyed, Jeff must compete in a Hunger Games-style competition overlorded by Dean Pelton (Jim Rash) to get into a class called the History of Ice Cream. While McHale plays ”the ugly older male version of Jennifer Lawrence,” he says Dean Pelton and his many outfits ”will repulse and arouse you all at once.” (Again: Take a look at the picture below.) In addition, ”there’s a very sexy scene with Troy [Donald Glover] and Britta [Gillian Jacobs] that involves water.”

The gang will later enroll in a history class with a ”brash” British professor played by Malcolm McDowell, and engage in a turf battle with the foosball-loving Germans over the study room. In the Halloween episode, Pierce (Chevy Chase) locks himself in his panic room at his (haunted?) mansion after seeing a ghost. Scarier yet, warns McHale, ”there might be a sex swing.”

Malibu Country
New Comedy

Premieres Nov. 2, 8:30-9 p.m., ABC

If you enjoyed Reba McEntire’s old sitcom, Reba, then you’ll love Malibu Country. Though McEntire isn’t exactly reprising her old role, her wronged-wife character (once again named…Reba) and the show’s multicamera format are right in the middle of her comfort zone. ”We had a lot more stories to tell on the Reba show,” says McEntire. ”We were not finished.” In this incarnation, Reba moves to the California beach enclave of Malibu in the wake of infidelities by her country-singer husband, Bobby (Jeffrey Nordling), and tries to relaunch her own singing career. (Read: Reba will sing regularly on Malibu.) Her two kids — winkingly named Cash (Justin Prentice) and June (Juliette Angelo) — come along for the ride, as does Reba’s marijuana-loving mother, Lillie Mae, played with abandon by Lily Tomlin. ”She’ll throw in ad-libs that will stop the rehearsal,” McEntire says of her legendary costar. ”Everyone in production will be on the floor laughing.”

Made in Jersey
New Drama

Premieres Sept. 28, 9-10 p.m., CBS

Hey, 2010 Oscar nominee The Fighter, you may have lost Best Picture, but at least you inspired CBS’ umpteenth legal procedural! According to Made in Jersey creator Dana Calvo and showrunner Kevin Falls, the series was sparked by the film, specifically the hilariously tense meet-and-greet between Amy Adams’ character and her boyfriend’s salty Irish sisters. In Calvo’s creation, Martina Garretti (Janet Montgomery) is a Jersey girl who shuttles between her Big Apple law firm and her brassy Italian family, which includes Broadway vet Donna Murphy. While colleagues like boss Donovan Stark (Kyle MacLachlan) underestimate Martina because of her background, the big-haired, tough-tawkin’ legal whiz uses her roots to her advantage. Says Calvo, ”Every week she will see or do something that someone who was raised eating sashimi and going to Ivy Leagues and swimming in infinity rooftop pools might not.”

Nikita
Retuning Drama

Premieres Oct. 19, 9-10 p.m., THE CW

The end of Nikita‘s second season saw the death of the show’s main baddie, Percy (Xander Berkeley). So now our heroine (Maggie Q) finds herself with a fresh goal: rounding up a group of incredibly skilled rogue Division agents, called the Dirty 30. Meanwhile, seemingly happy couple Michael (Shane West) and Nikita will hit tough times after what exec producer Craig Silverstein calls a ”fairly shocking event,” and fans can look forward to the return of Nikita’s newest enemy No. 1, revenge-seeking ex-Divisioner Amanda (Melinda Clarke), who appears in the fourth episode. ”The manipulation that goes on with Amanda in season 3 is going to be quite scary,” says Maggie Q. ”I think it’s even more maddening than what Percy was doing.”

Blue Bloods
Retuning Drama

Premieres Sept. 28, 10-11 p.m., CBS

When the Reagan cop clan regroups for its third season, Jamie (Will Estes) will team up with a new partner, who’s from the projects. ”The guy is quite different from Jamie, which will bring some conflict into the patrol car,” says exec producer Kevin Wade. Linda (Amy Carlson) heads back to work as an ER nurse, which could put a strain on her marriage to Danny (Donnie Wahlberg). And Frank (Tom Selleck), who at the end of last season was mulling his resignation as NYPD commissioner, will stick with his position despite doubts. ”There are aspects to the job that weigh heavily on him, because he still identifies himself as a cop, not as the boss,” says Wade. But there’s no, say, mayoral campaign in Frank’s future? ”Not for him,” says Wade with a laugh, refusing to rule out any future plotlines. ”We’ve got to make up 22 of these!”

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