TV’s fall lineup has some old, some new, one big reunion.
The calendar says that autumn officially begins Friday, but for TV fans, fall always arrives a few days earlier.
Ever since the advent of network TV, fall has been the time to unveil all the new shows. Originally, they were designed to coincide with the rollout of the year’s new car models that came out at the same time, but TV has evolved into a year-round affair in recent years.
We can credit (or blame) cable, VCRs, DVRs and the rise of online streaming services for slightly diluting the importance of the fall season.
These days, broadcast networks save some of their best programs for midseason and fill the summers with as much new stuff (usually game and reality shows) as they can.
That said, it’s still the third Monday of September when Nielsen officially begins to count eyeballs for ratings purposes. Beginning Monday, veteran shows will start to return from hiatus and new hopefuls will try to break into the lineup.
Each year, some shows sneak in early, while others (such as on The CW) come in late, but by the first week of November, the entire fall schedule should be up and running.
In addition to adding new shows, the networks tweak their schedules each fall to take on the competition with the best available programs. The idea is to win the time slot for bragging rights and advertising dollars. Be sure to check each new nightly schedule. Some old favorites could be on at different times or even different days this fall.
And despite the technology that has increased time-shifting viewing habits, most people still watch their favorites on a night-by-night basis and record some shows for later. So, here’s a breakdown by day and network.
Note that this lineup is for the fall season only. Midseason shows will be covered when they roll around early in 2018.
Caveat: Be aware of those irritating network stunts when a show has a special premiere one night and then moves to another day or time. The Orville, for example, premieres in two parts (Sept. 10 and today), then settles down in its regular slot on Thursday.
Another example is CBS’ Young Sheldon, which will debut Sept. 25 after The Big Bang Theory, then disappear completely until Nov. 2.
New: Ten Days in the Valley, 9 p.m. Oct. 1. This mystery thriller stars fan-favorite Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer) as a single mother and producer of a TV police drama. Real life interferes when her young daughter disappears. There will only be 10 episodes, so the action should move along quickly.
Returning: The Toy Box, 6 p.m. Oct. 1; America’s Funniest Home Videos, 7 p.m. Oct. 8; Shark Tank, 7 p.m. Oct. 1 (two hour premiere).
New: Wisdom of the Crowd, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 1. Jeremy Piven (Entourage, Mr Selfridge) plays a software entrepreneur who develops an online crowdsourcing platform that he hopes will help him find his daughter’s killer.
Returning: 60 Minutes (Season 50), 6 p.m. Sept. 24; NCIS: Los Angeles, 8:30 p.m. Oct. 1; Madam Secretary,9 p.m. Oct. 8
New: Ghosted, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 1. Craig Robinson (The Office) and Adam Scott (Parks and Recreation) are recruited by a secret agency to investigate unexplained paranormal activity in Los Angeles. It’s a wacky comedy somewhere between The X-Files and Ghostbusters. It’s made even funnier because the characters play it straight.
The Orville — Part 2 of the special two-part premiere airs at 7 p.m. today. See the Thursday night lineup for details.
Returning: Bob’s Burgers, 6:30 p.m. Oct. 1; The Simpsons, 7 p.m. Oct. 1; Family Guy,8 p.m. Oct 1. The Last Man on Earth, 8:30 p.m. Oct. 1. NBC:
In progress: Football Night in America, 6 p.m; NBC’s Sunday Night Football, 7 p.m.
New: The Good Doctor, 9 p.m. Sept. 25. Freddie Highmore (Bates Motel) plays Shaun Murphy, a brilliant young surgeon afflicted with autism and savant syndrome. He has trouble connecting with people, but his medical skills are astounding. The feel-good series is from House creator David Shore, so think of Murphy as Dr. Gregory House in his 20s and without the misanthropy.
Returning: Dancing With the Stars, 7 p.m. Monday. CBS:
New: Young Sheldon, special preview at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 25. Series premiere 7:30 p.m. Nov. 2.
This highly anticipated spin-off stars Iain Armitage as the 9-year-old Sheldon Cooper we know and love from The Big Bang Theory. In this comedy, Sheldon is living in East Texas with his wacky family and just starting high school.
Jim Parsons, who plays Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory, narrates.
9JKL, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 2. The comedy stars Mark Feuerstein (Royal Pains) and was inspired by his real life when he once lived in an apartment with his brother’s family on one side and his parents on the other. Linda Lavin and Elliott Gould play his folks.
Me, Myself & I, 8:30 p.m. Sept. 25. The comedy has flashbacks and flash forwards as it covers one man’s life over a 50 year span. Playing Alex Riley are (in order of age) Jack Dylan Grazer, Bobby Moynihan and John Larroquette. Jaleel “Urkel” White is on board as the buddy.
Returning: The Big Bang Theory, 7 p.m. Sept. 25 (moves to Thursdays on Nov. 2); Kevin Can Wait, 8 p.m. Sept. 25; Superior Donuts, 8:30 p.m. Oct. 30; Scorpion, 9 p.m. Sept. 25. The CW:
New: Valor, 8 p.m. Oct. 9. The drama follows an elite unit of Army helicopter pilots training for clandestine missions. It mixes soap opera intrigue with a season-long plan to rescue a squad of missing soldiers.
Returning: Supergirl,7 p.m. Oct. 9.
New: The Gifted, 8 p.m. Oct. 2. Parents (Stephen Moyer, True Blood; Amy Acker, Angel) discover their kids possess mutant powers, so they go on the run from the government and join up with other mutants to survive.
Returning: Lucifer, 7 p.m. Oct. 2.
New: The Brave, 9 p.m. Sept. 25. Another of several new military dramas this fall. This one features Anne Heche as the government head of an undercover special ops team that fights terrorists.
Returning: The Voice, 7 p.m. Sept. 25. TUESDAY SHOWS ABC:
New: The Mayor, 8:30 p.m. Oct. 3. Brandon Micheal Hall portrays young rapper Courtney Rose, who runs for mayor as a publicity stunt and somehow wins. Lea Michele (Glee) is his friend and chief aide. This series, labeled “charming and uplifting,” has high pre-season buzz.
Kevin (Probably) Saves the World, 9 p.m. Oct. 3. This fantasy comedy/drama stars Jason Ritter as Kevin Finn, a selfish, materialistic, unhappy slob on a downward spiral, who is tasked by a celestial messenger with a mission from God — save the world.
Returning: The Middle (final season), 7 p.m. Oct. 3; Fresh Off the Boat, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 3; black-ish, 8 p.m., Oct. 3. CBS: Returning: NCIS, 7 p.m. Sept. 26; Bull, 8 p.m. Sept. 26; NCIS: New Orleans, 9 p.m. Sept. 26.
The CW: Returning: The Flash, 7 p.m. Oct. 10; DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, 8 p.m. Oct. 10 Fox: Returning: Lethal Weapon, 7 p.m. Sept. 26; The Mick, 8 p.m. Sept. 26; Brooklyn NineNine, 8:30 p.m. Sept. 26. NBC:
New: Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders, 9 p.m. Sept. 26. This anthology series from Dick Wolf begins with an eight-episode dramatization about the infamous Menendez brothers and their murder case. Edie Falco (The Sopranos) stars.
Returning: The Voice,7 p.m. Sept. 26; This Is Us, 8 p.m. Sept. 26.
ABC: Returning: The Goldbergs, 7 p.m. Sept. 27; Speechless, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 27; Modern Family, 8 p.m. Sept. 27; American Housewife, 8:30 p.m. Sept. 27; Designated Survivor, 9 p.m. Sept. 27.
New: SEAL Team, 8 p.m. Sept. 27. David Boreanaz trades in his FBI badge from Bones to head an elite Navy team that does the dirty work no one else is trained for.
Returning: Survivor, 7 p.m. Sept. 27; Criminal Minds, 9 p.m. Sept. 27.
New: Dynasty, 8 p.m. Oct. 11. This is a modern-day reboot of the iconic 1980s prime-time soap that follows the Carrington and the Colby families. The two new cat-fighting vixens are Fallon Carrington (Elizabeth Gillies) and her soon-to-be stepmother Cristal Flores (Nathalie Kelley).
Returning: Riverdale, 7 p.m. Oct. 11.
Fox: Returning: Empire, 7 p.m. Sept. 27; Star, 8 p.m. Sept. 27. NBC: Returning: The Good Place, 9 p.m. Sept. 20 (moves to 7:30 Thursdays on Sept. 28); The Blacklist, 7 p.m. Sept. 27; Law & Order: SVU, 8 p.m. Sept. 27; Chicago P.D., 9 p.m. Sept. 27.
ABC: Returning: Grey’s Anatomy, 7 p.m. Sept. 28 (two hours); Scandal (final season), 8 p.m. Oct. 5; How to Get Away With Murder, 9 p.m. Sept. 28.
New: S.W.A.T., 9 p.m. Nov. 2. It’s cops, not the military in this reboot of the 1970s TV series. Shemar Moore (Criminal Minds) plays the leader of the Los Angeles elite squad. He’s torn between his loyalty to the streets and his duty to fight crime.
Returning: NFL Thursday Night Football, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 28; Mom, 8 p.m. Nov. 2; Life in Pieces, 8:30 p.m. Nov. 2.
The CW: Returning: Supernatural, 7 p.m. Oct. 12; Arrow, 8 p.m. Oct. 12.
New: The Orville, 8 p.m. Sept. 21. Regular time slot premiere (finally). This space comedy/drama set 400 years in the future was created by Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy), who plays the captain of the USS Orville. It’s an homage to — and a spoof of — Star Trek, and this season’s best new attempt at innovation.
Returning: Gotham, 7 p.m. Sept. 21.
New: Will & Grace, 7 p.m. Sept. 28. Not technically new, this “revival” reunites the four main characters from the beloved sitcom last seen in 2006. Welcome back Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally.
Returning: Superstore, 7 p.m. Sept. 28; Great News, 8:30 p.m. Sept. 28; Chicago Fire, 9 p.m. Sept. 28.
New: Marvel’s Inhumans, 8 p.m. Sept. 29. More adventure set in the Marvel universe. This one will be eight episodes and stars Anson Mount (Hell on Wheels) as Black Bolt, the head of the Inhuman Royal Family and King of Attilan. The series moves to its regular time at 8 p.m. Oct. 6.
Returning: Once Upon a Time, 7 p.m. Oct. 6.
CBS: Returning: MacGyver, 7 p.m. Sept. 29; Hawaii 5-0, 8 p.m. Sept. 29; Blue Bloods, 9 p.m. Sept. 29
The CW: Returning: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, 7 p.m. Oct. 13; Jane the Virgin, 8 p.m. Oct. 13.
Fox: Returning: Hell’s Kitchen, 7 p.m. Sept. 29; The Exorcist, 8 p.m. Sept. 29. NBC: Returning: Dateline NBC, 8 p.m. Sept. 29; Blindspot,7 p.m. Oct. 27.
The networks gave up programming Saturday evenings long ago because viewers are out doing other things. What was once a big night of TV is now used mainly for reruns.
The only new prime-time Saturday show each week is CBS’ 48 Hours, which returns at 9 p.m. Sept. 30.
If you’re up late, NBC’s Saturday Night Live is back for Season 43 at 10:30 p.m. Sept. 30.
That’s the new fall schedule. Look for more information on the new and returning shows in The TV Column as they arrive.
Final warning: Double check the new schedule right up to when the show is supposed to air. The networks have been known to tweak their lineups at the last minute. This story was accurate at deadline, but I found three quiet premiere changes in the four days between the first draft and the final version.
Young Sheldon, a sort of CBS prequel/spin-off to The Big Bang Theory, stars Iain Armitage as 9-year-old Sheldon Cooper and Zoe Perry as his mother.
The Mayor is an ABC comedy that stars Brandon Micheal Hall as a struggling young rapper who runs for mayor as a publicity stunt and (surprise) wins.
The Orville is a space comedy/drama on Fox that will remind many of the original Star Trek. Only with more laughs. It stars (from left) Penny Johnson Jerald, creator Seth MacFarlane and Peter Macon.
Ghosted brings Adam Scott (left) and Craig Robinson to Fox as a couple of guys investigating the paranormal in Los Angeles. Think of it as a cross between The X-Files and Ghostbusters.
Kevin (Probably) Saves the World stars Jason Ritter as a fellow who gets an unusual mission from God. The ABC comedy/drama is being labeled “charming and uplifting.”
SEAL Team stars David Boreanaz as the leader of an elite Navy team. The CBS drama is one of four new shows with a similar theme this fall.
The Good Doctor is a new ABC drama starring Freddie Highmore as a young surgeon with autism and savant syndrome. It’s another “charming and uplifting” offering.