Fall TV Preview: Tuesday night shows
Hart of Dixie
Premieres Oct. 2, 8-9 p.m., The CW
After season 1’s steamy cliff-hanger — Zoe (Rachel Bilson) finally hooked up with Wade (Wilson Bethel), only to find George (Scott Porter) dripping wet on her doorstep — exec producer Leila Gerstein promises the love triangle will be in full force when the series returns this fall. ”Everyone will know everything,” says Gerstein. ”George will find out that Zoe had sex with Wade, and Wade will find out George called off his wedding…and [Zoe] will make her choice.” Though the producer won’t completely rule out an ”I-choose-myself scenario,” she does say that one of the relationships will move forward by the end of the first episode. Or as Bilson puts it, ”Windows might be foggin’ up.”
Premieres Sept. 25, 8-9 p.m., CBS
An explosion rocked NCIS at the end of season 9, and in the premiere Gibbs (Mark Harmon) is more determined than ever to track down the person responsible, madman Harper Dearing (Richard Schiff). Also, Palmer (Brian Dietzen) shoulders new responsibilities in light of Ducky’s (David McCallum) heart attack, while Abby (Pauley Perrette) struggles with the emotional aftermath of nearly being blown up. ”The theme I’ve put together for the season is fallen heroes — and that’s both literally and metaphorically,” says exec producer Gary Glasberg. And what of rumors of a new romance for Tony (Michael Weatherly), who at the end of last season was trapped in an elevator with Ziva (Cote de Pablo)? Weatherly teases, ”I have a feeling Tony would probably find someone who appreciates the things in him that are a little more hidden.”
Premieres Oct. 2, 8-8:30 p.m., FOX
The second season ended on an absurd but heart-tugging note when Hope’s serial-killer mom, Lucy (Bijou Phillips), got hit by a bus, giving custody of the titular toddler back to the Chance family. With that drama settled, expect Hope’s young dad, Jimmy (Lucas Neff), to hit a bit of a rocky patch with girlfriend Sabrina (Shannon Woodward), whose wacky mother (Melanie Griffith) and grandmother (Tippi Hedren) we’ll finally get to meet. Plus, ”don’t be surprised if Maw Maw [Cloris Leachman] finds a man this season,” says creator Greg Garcia. And for fans who’ve been debating whether Lucy is really dead, Garcia has just this to say: ”We didn’t see a body, did we?”
Ben and Kate
Premieres Sept. 25, 8:30-9 p.m., FOX
Exec producer Dana Fox didn’t have to look far to find inspiration for the quirky male lead of her new sibling sitcom: ”The character of Ben Fox is based on my actual crazy brother, Ben Fox,” she explains. The Descendants‘ coscreenwriter Nat Faxon stars as Ben, a free-spirited bachelor who moves in to help his too-responsible younger sister, Kate (Dakota Johnson), raise her 5-year-old daughter. ”He’s shaking up her life,” says Fox. Kate, meanwhile, pushes Ben to pursue his goals. ”It’s about helping each other out,” says Faxon. ”I have a sister, and it [felt] true to that relationship.” Fox is hoping viewers feel the same way. ”There’s a lot of love in this show,” she says. ”It’s like a weird love letter to my insane family.”
Premieres Sept. 11, 9-9:30 p.m., NBC
When Matthew Perry was sent the script for this sitcom about a sportscaster who goes into group therapy with some kooky characters after his wife dies, he wasn’t interested. ”I wanted to do a drama, not a comedy,” says Perry. After a meeting with former Friends producer and Go On exec producer Scott Silveri, though, he took a second look. ”I get to be funny,” says Perry, ”and it’s one of the biggest challenges dramatically I’ve had to do as an actor.” If the 16 million viewers who tuned in during the Olympics sneak peek are any indication, this show may go on…and on. ”We’re finding in these first few weeks of shooting what is funny, what feels real, what’s too sad,” says Silveri. The formula seems to be working: ”We’ve had people crying at the end of table reads,” says Perry, quickly adding, ”for the right reasons.”
Premieres Oct. 23, 9-9:30 p.m., ABC
Good news: Brian Austin Green returns as a love interest for Penny (Casey Wilson) in the season 3 premiere! Bad news: It results in a horrible injury for Penny! Good news: Max (Adam Pally) becomes her nurse! Bad news: He likes taking care of her a little too much! ”He basically Miserys her,” hints creator David Caspe. Meanwhile, Dave (Zachary Knighton) and Alex (Elisha Cuthbert) desperately try to keep their rekindled romance casual, and an unemployed Brad (Damon Wayans Jr.) focuses on a hobby that involves a ventriloquist doll named…SinBrad. Later this season, the Kerkovich parents surface as Jane (Eliza Coupe) attempts to make her dad laugh for the first time, and Brad and Max become ”bar mitzvah hype men,” says Caspe. ”They’re called Boys II Menorah.”
NCIS: Los Angeles
Premieres Sept. 25, 9-10 p.m., CBS
In the season 3 finale, Callen (Chris O’Donnell) was arrested for shooting the elusive Chameleon. The new year picks up with Callen out of custody, but on suspension and in the doghouse. ”There is an investigation, and he has a moment with Sam [LL Cool J] that goes very badly the first time he goes into the squad room,” says exec producer Shane Brennan. By episode 3, however, the mood changes dramatically and gets all familylike. That’s because Brennan invited the moms of O’Donnell, Daniela Ruah (Kensi), LL, and Eric Christian Olsen (Marty) to make cameos. ”They’re playing mother 1, mother 2, mother 3, and mother 4,” teases Brennan, who doesn’t want to give too much away. ”It’s a lovely little moment!”
Premieres Sept. 25, 8 p.m., 9-9:30 p.m., FOX
The series returns with two episodes on one night — and some bad news for Jess (Zooey Deschanel). ”She gets laid off,” reveals Deschanel. So what’s jobless Jess like? ”She’s a little bit of a wreck,” says exec producer Liz Meriwether, who explains that Jess will use her newfound freedom to explore different gigs and men (including guest stars David Walton and Josh Gad). Meanwhile, Schmidt (Max Greenfield) decides to celebrate the removal of his cast with a ”rebranding” party, where he runs into ex CeCe (Hannah Simone). ”They have sort of a reunion,” says Meriwether of the couple, who spent the summer apart. But don’t expect them to reignite the romance — Schmidt will be too distracted by another pursuit in season 2: ”Hanging out with Kanye West,” says Meriwether. ”That’s his new goal.” Too soon to start petitioning for a cameo?
Emily Owens, M.D.
Premieres Oct. 16, 9-10 p.m., The CW
This dramedy about an internal-monologue-prone intern (29-year-old Mamie Gummer) at a Denver hospital will fit right in at The CW, says creator Jennie Snyder Urman. ”My college roommate is a doctor, and she’d tell me about the high school stereotypes in hospital culture,” says Urman, who hired said friend to be a consultant on the series. Indeed, Emily has a nemesis (Aja Naomi King), a crush (Justin Hartley), and a nerdy bestie (Michael Rady). So how long before Gummer’s mother, Meryl Streep, makes a cameo? ”I don’t know. Episode 2?” says Urman with a laugh. ”I’m sure she can fit The CW into her schedule.”
Q&A with Emily Owens, M.D.‘s Mamie Gummer
Emily Owens, M.D. marks the second time you’ve played a doctor, following the ill-fated Off the Map. What is it about you that says ”medical genius”?
My blaring intelligence? I have no idea. Maybe I read with some level of sophistication.
According to Emily, hospital culture is a lot like high school. Is Hollywood like high school?
Absolutely. Everywhere and every day. People are pitted against each other, and it never ends. You just get better at navigating it. Some people love that game. There are some varsity players, but I would say I’m playing goalie on the JV team.
Any chance you’ll be back on The Good Wife?
I live in New York, so it would be easy enough, and they’ve got a 22- to 24- episode season. Right now we’re just at 12 episodes, so it’s not impossible I could make my way back.
We were asked not to bring up your mother. Do you dread being asked about her?
I don’t dread it. I just feel sorry that I don’t have better answers. It’s the least interesting subject. [My parents are] really supportive and pleased that I’m working. It’s pretty regular.
Don’t Trust the B– in Apt. 23
Premieres Oct. 23, 9:30-10 p.m., ABC
Season 2 begins with star James Van Der Beek (who plays himself) attempting a Dawson’s Creek reunion — but sadly failing (Creek alum Busy Philipps is the only one who turns up). Meanwhile, Krysten Ritter’s Chloe, a.k.a. the titular B, will find herself a boyfriend at a boozy Halloween party. ”She’s not the kind of girl to be with one guy, so for somebody to keep her attention, he’s got to be pretty exciting and pretty intriguing,” says Ritter of the character played by Aussie Ben Lawson (No Strings Attached). Chloe’s dad (Michael Landes), whom June (Dreama Walker) kind of sort of hooked up with last season, returns for Thanksgiving…along with Chloe’s mom (Marin Hinkle). ”They are trying to move past it, but it’s very awkward for June,” says creator Nahnatchka Khan. ”She dry-humped him for hours.”
Premieres Sept. 11, 10-11 p.m., NBC
When Crosby (Dax Shepard) and Jasmine (Joy Bryant) got hitched in last season’s final episode, it wrapped up one of this family drama’s key plotlines — and created a new one. ”In one way you can look at it as they got married, end of story,” says exec producer Jason Katims, ”but then it gives us the opportunity to tell a first-year-marriage story.” Season 4 will also find Julia (Erika Christensen) and Joel (Sam Jaeger) adjusting to life with their newly adopted son, and Ray Romano in a guest arc as a photographer who further complicates the relationship between Sarah (Lauren Graham) and Mark (Emmy-nominated guest star Jason Ritter). And brace yourself for a big Braverman bombshell. ”Some tragic news strikes the family,” adds Peter Krause, who plays Adam. ”I can’t say more than that.”
Premieres Sept. 25, 10-11 p.m., ABC
The season premiere’s big question is, Will Addison (Kate Walsh) choose hot-and-cold neighbor/doc Sam (Taye Diggs) or just-plain-hot fertility doc Jake (Benjamin Bratt)? Teases Walsh, ”In the first episode, a decision has been made.” Plus, ”huge news happens to every single character,” she says. ”But not in a jumping-the-shark way.” And it’s not just the characters experiencing change — the very structure of Private will be different, with every episode either a big-event hour or told from the perspective of a specific character. The premiere also marks the beginning of the end for Walsh’s Addison, who will exit the show at the end of the 13-episode order. (No decisions have been made about whether Private will return beyond that.) ”Selfishly, I would like it to be extreme,” Walsh says of Addison’s farewell. ”Either a ridiculously happy ending or go out in a blaze of glory. I would like it to be epic, and I have faith that it will be.”
Sons of Anarchy
Premieres Sept. 11, 10-11 p.m., FX
Season 5 will show what kind of a leader Jax (Charlie Hunnam) really is as he replaces Clay (Ron Perlman) at the head of the motorcycle club’s table. He’ll find a potential friend in Jimmy Smits’ former gangbanger Nero Padilla, and an enemy in Harold Perrineau’s Damon Pope, the pissed-off father of the young woman whom Tig (Kim Coates) mistakenly killed in retaliation for Clay’s shooting. ”He’s a level of gangster that they’ve not yet encountered,” says creator Kurt Sutter of Pope, who has a memorable way of delivering his message in the premiere. ”I had goose bumps just from Kurt telling me what the first episode was going to be for Tig,” says Coates. ”Kurt’s just not pulling any punches now. We’re all f–ed.”
Premieres Sept. 25, 10-11 p.m., CBS
For the first time in his 37-year career, Dennis Quaid is headlining a TV drama. As Ralph Lamb, a ripped-from-history rancher-turned-reluctant sheriff, he tries to keep order in the growing 1960s desert town overrun by mobsters like Vincent Savino, played with gusto by Michael Chiklis (The Shield). ”One of the central tensions is watching [Ralph and Vincent] try to figure each other out,” explains exec producer Greg Walker. ”They have a mutual interest. They want Vegas to survive.” For Quaid, Vegas — which costars Carrie-Anne Moss as an assistant district attorney and Ralph’s love interest — offers the chance to ride horses and also inhabit the blurry area between good and evil. ”Hey, it’s Las Vegas,” Quaid says. ”Sometimes Ralph is going to need Savino’s help. Sometimes they will be allies, and sometimes they will be enemies.”