With real-life bakery Crumbs having closed all its locations in July, Caroline and Max will conclude “there’s a serial killer coming after cupcakes” as they enter Season 4, says showrunner Michael Patrick King. “The girls are going to see that they need to evolve their business, and they’ll even go into a different wing of cupcakes.” While initial results will be encouraging, the exec producer hints, the new source of income will dry up by mid-season. “They’re gonna take a big, big hit this year,” King promises. “For the first time, like all entrepreneurs, they’re going to go into debt. You’re going to see that end-of-episode total go below zero.” Outside of the kitchen, there’ll be “one, maybe two weddings and a baby” for the “core diner family” — but probably not a lot of serious romance for the girls, at least not in the first half of the year. “They care so much about getting ahead that a real somebody has to show up for them to take time away from their dream.”<p>
<b>BONUS SPOILER |</b> King is hoping to land a gaggle of Victoria’s Secret models for a ripped-from-the-headlines episode focusing on New York City’s crackdown on Airbnb.<p>
<b>RETURN DATE |</b> Monday, Oct. 27 at 8/7c (CBS)
As Abby and Kane desperately seek out the hundred, Season 2 will morph into the longest, most terrifying family reunion ever — but there’s a catch. “You have to remember that these aren’t the same kids that were sent down in the drop ship,” executive producer Matt Miller tells TVLine. “They’ve all changed and grown and been through so much.” Speaking of which, Lincoln and Octavia’s relationship will blossom from “a googly eyed romance” to a “real relationship.” And even as Octavia “helps to make a bridge” between humans and Grounders, she and Lincoln will come across new, upsetting “culture conflicts.” Meanwhile, as Clarke unravels — or at least attempts to unravel — the secret of Mount Weather, the fates of Bellamy and Finn will be revealed. “The audience will know pretty quickly,” Miller says, “but the characters aren’t in communication, so there are a lot of misunderstandings. It’s basically sci-fi Three’s Company.”
BONUS SPOILER | Executive producer Jason Rothenberg says there “might be a baby in Episode 1.” But don’t get too excited, Linctavia fans, because this wee one “doesn’t come along with a pregnancy.” (Hmm…)
RETURN DATE | Wednesday, Oct. 22 at 9/8c (The CW)
ABOUT A BOY
An emergency in Will’s life will temporarily bring him back to San Francisco, posing a “really juicy” New York vs. California question in the first two episodes, teases creator Jason Katims. But fear not: Even though Will’s geographical dilemma will affect his relationship with Sam, Katims says Adrianne Palicki will definitely be present for the “first few episodes.” Katims also hopes to bring back Tony Hale as Marcus’ dad and Leslie Bibb as Will’s fling Dakota.
BONUS SPOILER | Speaking of paternal relationships, we may get a chance to meet Will’s papa in Season 2: “It’s something we talked about a lot last year in the writers room,” Katims says. “It’s a possibility.”
RETURN DATE | Tuesday, Oct. 14 at 9:30/8:30c (NBC)
The Season 3 premiere, titled “The Calm,” is “a complete inverse” of the superhero hit’s sophomore opener, in which Oliver was despondent, his alter ego disgraced, EP Marc Guggenheim notes. Rather, “Arrow’s starting to win the hearts of the city.” Cue the arrival of a different sort of adversary, in entrepreneur Ray Palmer (Superman Returns’ Brandon Routh). “He’s not like Sebastian Blood, looking at Oliver with disdain. Oliver quite frankly just doesn’t play this this guy’s level.” (As for talk that Ray, who is not yet The Atom, will catch Felicity’s eye, the EP affirms: “The chemistry between Brandon and Emily [Bett Rickards] is pretty undeniable.”) Episode 3 will focus on dad-to-be Diggle, Episode 5 delves into Felicity’s past (with NYPD Blue’s Charlotte Ross as her mom), viewers will get to sit in on the limo convo between Malcolm and daughter Thea, and Ted “Wildcat” Grant (played by J.R. Ramirez as a Latino boxing instructor) will play a role in Laurel’s evolution into Canary
BONUS SPOILER | Teasing the Hong Kong flashbacks, Guggenheim says, “We know from Episode 216 that Oliver and Amanda Waller really do not like each other. You’ll see in the premiere why that is.”
RETURN DATE | Tuesday, Oct. 8 at 8/7c (The CW)
Following Eva’s baby bombshell earlier this season, Jenna and Matty will be forced to DTR like never before. “Jenna’s trying to be an adult about Matty,” showrunners Chris Alberghini and Mike Chessler tell TVLine. “Their romantic relationship didn’t work out, so she’s trying to move on. She’s trying to be a good friend.” As for the other man in Jenna’s life, “part of her wants to blame Matty and Eva for her split with Luke, but the other part of her knows she needs to take responsibility for the choices she made.” Meanwhile, Jake and Tamara are becoming Matty and Jenna 2.0, as they struggle to overcome their romantic past and become friends. (We’re told to “remain open to possibilities” in terms of “Jakara” getting back together.) Speaking of struggling, Sadie will remain conflicted about her feelings for hot co-worker Sergio. “They’ll continue their flirtation and their antagonistic relationship,” the showrunners tease. “Sadie has a major soft spot for Sergio, in spite of herself.”
BONUS SPOILER | Tensions always run high at Palos Hill High School events, and we’ve got two biggies coming up: the Senior Bonfire and a Valentine’s Day Dance.
RETURN DATE | Tuesday, Sept. 23 at 10/9c (MTV)
THE BIG BANG THEORY
Season 8 picks up 45 days into Sheldon’s head-clearing, cross-country train excursion, and all is not well. “His belongings have been stolen and he needs Leonard to come pick him up in Arizona,” previews showrunner Steve Molaro. Making matters worse, he returns home to an angry girlfriend. “Amy’s not pissed at him for leaving, but she’s certainly not thrilled that when he ran into trouble he called Leonard instead of her.” Leonard, meanwhile, will find that money changes (almost) everything when fiancée Penny puts her failed acting career on hold to work as a pharmaceutical sales rep at Bernadette’s company. “It alters their dynamic because now she’s actually doing well financially,” says Molaro. “It’s a new chapter for her.” Elsewhere, Howard is aghast to discover that Stuart has now become Ma’s permanent caretaker. And expect to see a lot more of Raj’s new girlfriend Emily (Laura Spencer). “We’re going to explore more of her personality,” he teases, “and what she’s really like.”
BONUS SPOILER | A Howard-Bernadette baby will not “be happening anytime soon,” maintains Molaro. “We’re not in any rush to have a baby on the show.
RETURN DATE | Monday, Sept. 22 at 8/7c (CBS)
As the NBC drama picks up a few months after the events of Season 1, Peter Stormare’s Berlin will be back “in full force,” according to creator Jon Bokenkamp, who also says Season 2 will provide more answers about “who Berlin is and why he’s so adamant about destroying Red.” In the meantime, the sophomore drama’s Cases of the Week will take on an international scope, featuring blacklisters that Bokenkamp describes as “delicious, strange and super-dark oddballs.”
BONUS SPOILER | Although Bokenkamp won’t reveal much about the circumstances that bring Mary-Louise Parker’s Naomi Hyland (pictured) to town, he can confirm that “she’s someone Red cares about deeply and who will make him vulnerable.”
RETURN DATE | Monday, Sept. 22 at 10/9c (NBC)
Following Dino’s betrayal at the end of last season, Frank will be looking to appoint to his inner circle “someone we all know and love,” hints executive producer Kevin Wade. And he isn’t the only Reagan faced with a big choice. Nicky will have to decide if she wants to stay in New York for college, or attend an out-of-state school. But don’t expect Erin to be suffering from empty nest syndrome just yet. She’ll be faced with having to maintain a professional relationship with the new interim D.A. (Lights Out’s Holt McCallany, reprising his Season 3 character), despite her personal interest in him.
BONUS SPOILER | While the show won’t be pursuing Jamie and Eddie’s romantic spark, it will focus on strengthening their bond as partners.
RETURN DATE | Friday, Sept. 26 at 10/9c (CBS)
“The story has taken a huge leap forward when we pick up in the premiere,” shares exec producer Stephen Nathan, who reveals that a break in the case that landed Booth in the pokey — and kept him away from Brennan for four months — presents itself “and they run with it.” However, the “emotional ramifications” of the entire ordeal will haunt both (and Booth especially) well beyond the opener. “He has been in war zones before, but he’s never been betrayed by the people and institutions that he trusts and has risked his life for,” says Nathan. “That’s a big thing to deal with. There will be fallout from everything that’s happened that will trail out over time.” A change of scenery might help. Since their house was rendered a bullet-ridden disaster area, Brennan gives Booth a new pad as a coming-home present. And that’s not Season 10’s only new addition. “At some point in the not-too-distant future, we will probably see a very little person who cannot drive or feed themselves yet,” teases Nathan. “But how that little person makes their entrance, and from whom, is something I’d like to keep to myself.”
BONUS SPOILER | We will finally learn Angela’s real name this season. Maybe. Probably. “It’s in the plans,” says Nathan. “But, you know, the best laid plans…”
RETURN DATE | Thursday, Sept. 25 at 8/7c (Fox)
The Season 2 premiere will feature a time jump of five to six months, and it will bring news of a possible change to the NYPD administration that has Captain Holt “worried about what’s coming down the pike” for the precinct, says showrunner Dan Goor. (Do we have guest star Kyra Sedgwick to thank for that?) And for fans eagerly awaiting progress in the Jake/Amy romance department, Goor warns not to get too excited about what Season 2 will bring. “We’re trying to build the progress of their relationship in a natural way as the season unfolds,” he says. “We want the relationship to last, so we’re trying to be conscious of the timeframe.”
BONUS SPOILER | An early Season 2 episode will find the precinct battling a new and dangerous drug that’s plaguing the streets of Brooklyn.
RETURN DATE | Sunday, Sept. 28 at 8:30/7:30c (Fox)
Unless you’ve been vacationing under a rock, you know this much about the season-ending inferno which a distraught Kate laid witness to: Rick was not in the car. As the how/why/who of that misdirect/Rick’s vanishing is explored over the first run of episodes, showrunner David Amann says the shocking truth will not tear “Caskett” apart but “make them stronger.” It also will crack open a brand-new, overdue chapter in our title character’s backstory. “We’ve been conscious for a while of wanting to dig a little more deeply into Castle, but we also felt like there was the mythology of Beckett[‘s mother’s murder] to resolve,” Amann explains. “Now that it has been, we have some ‘real estate’ in which we can explore Castle without it being in competition with things going on in Beckett’s backstory.”
BONUS SPOILER | Series creator Andrew W. Marlowe notes that although Senator Bracken is now paying the piper for his role in Johanna Beckett’s aforementioned offing, “We still have two [pieces of mythology] very much in play” – 3XK and/or his disciples, and spy daddy Jackson Hunt.
RETURN DATE | Monday, Sept. 29 at 10/9c (ABC)
Prepare for a bit of time-jumping in the wake of that explosive finale, which will have claimed a life. After flashing back to learn more about the deceased individual, the premiere will jump forward a month-and-a-half after to reveal the ramifications. “There are some injuries involved that affect people in terms of their ability to do their jobs,” executive producer Matt Olmstead previews. “It definitely shakes up the firehouse.” For Gabby, the future was looking bright, both professionally and personally, but “the collapse changes that,” Olmstead reveals. Well, at least it sounds like her engagement to Casey is on. “When you experience loss, you take inventory of your own life,” the EP says. “Sometimes, you might accelerate the process of getting married or the thing that you put off your whole life that you want to do, because it’s just a very sharp reminder that nothing’s guaranteed.” Similarly, Severide and Shay will also look inward and wonder, ‘Is it time to get serious about life?’”
BONUS SPOILER | Mills will uncover secrets about his father’s side of the family “that aren’t necessarily what he had hoped to discover,” Olmstead teases.
RETURN DATE | Tuesday, Sept. 23 at 10/9c (NBC)
The mystery of who killed Jin will be “wrapped up fairly quickly,” executive producer Matt Olmstead reveals. Until then, “Voight goes through a crucible.” Meanwhile, Lindsay faces another blast from the past when her junkie mom (Night Court‘s Markie Post) shows up. “It’s a window into what she has gone through, what she overcame and, really, what Voight did to help get her through that,” Olmstead describes. In the love department, Lindsay and Chicago Fire‘s Severide are going strong, but “as in any relationship, there are competing interests that might pull them apart.” New couple Burgess and Ruzek are keeping their romance secret to protect her shot at an Intelligence job, but a new partner (Boardwalk Empire‘s Brian Geraghty) reinvigorates the street cop’s love for her current gig. Things are less peachy for Antonio, whose wife packed up and left with their children. “He finds himself having to commute to see his kids on his days off,” Olmstead says. “But here he is, single in Chicago for the first time in his adult life.”
BONUS SPOILER | Remember the files Jin sent before being offed? “That resurfaces because he knew it was coming — and he sent it to a surprise character,” Olmstead teases.
RETURN DATE | Wednesday, Sept. 24 at 10/9c (NBC)
The team’s newest addition, Kate Callahan (played by The Client List’s Jennifer Love Hewitt), will be introduced while she’s working undercover on a case. “You see her doing something you don’t see our team ever doing,” says executive producer Erica Messer. “[She has to] sit there and pretend to like a criminal.” Early episodes will touch on how the “traumatic” season finale shooting affected both Garcia and Reid “more than we know,” as well as shed light on what’s new with Rossi and JJ. On the romantic front, it’s BAU for the BAU, though that could change. “We need to figure out a few things with Morgan’s girlfriend [Savannah] and Hotch’s girlfriend [Beth],” says Messer, “and see how we’ll explore those stories this year.”
BONUS SPOILER | Episode 3 is a “big” one, says Messer, as the team is called to the site of “one of the largest disasters with mass casualities they’ve seen in their 10-year history.”
RETURN DATE | Wednesday, Oct. 1 at 9/10c (CBS)
Changes are afoot after a sizable eight-month time jump. The Season 3 opener finds Joan with her own apartment, a steady boyfriend (played by Smash‘s Raza Jaffrey) and a solo P.I. gig (which leads to a case involving guest star Gina Gershon, pictured left). Then, someone familiar returns: Sherlock. “It is understandably very awkward,” executive producer Rob Doherty previews. “We’ll find out that Sherlock left New York [to work with MI6] without so much as a goodbye.” Making things even more uncomfortable is his new and decidedly different protégé, Kitty (Ophelia Lovibond), who is based on a character from the short story The Adventure of the Illustrious Client. “I would say she’s very coiled. She is certainly rougher around the edges than Joan Watson is or was.” So what do the two women in Sherlock’s life think of each other? “Things don’t get off to a great start,” Doherty admits. “In fact, their first confrontation is physical.”
BONUS SPOILER | “There’s a character from canon known as Baron Gruner, and he is an important part of Kitty’s backstory in the short story and in Elementary,” the EP teases.
RETURN DATE | Thursday, Oct. 30 at 10/9c (CBS)
Taking a page out of creator Adam F. Goldberg’s youth, The Smother is in full force in Season 2. In fact, the showrunner’s real-life childhood drama teacher (to be played by Suburgatory‘s Ana Gasteyer) is responsible for pitching an episode based on the time that Goldberg didn’t get a good role in the school play — resulting in a very public chastisement from mama Beverly. In another installment, Adam makes a mixtape for Dana, but Beverly ends up thinking she’s the intended recipient. “I just love the idea that this mom is so in love with her kids that she would actually think a love mixtape meant for a girlfriend is meant for her,” Goldberg previews. Also on tap: Barry and Adam form a hair-metal garage band; Beverly pressures Murray to renew their vows in a royal wedding episode; and there’s an homage to a John Hughes classic.
BONUS SPOILER | Erica could spoil her brother Barry’s romantic chances with her BFF Lainey. “[She’s] really trying to get in the middle there, trying to make sure it doesn’t happen,” the EP previews. “She calls it ‘an unholy union.’”
RETURN DATE | Wednesday, Sept. 24 at 8:30/7:30c (ABC)
THE GOOD WIFE
The season launches with a “tango-like dance” of Eli attempting to convince Alicia to run for state’s attorney, explain series creators Robert and Michelle King. That’s good news for those who enjoy the chemistry between Alan Cumming’s scheming campaign manager and Julianna Margulies’ exasperated attorney/political wife. “The comedy and intrigue between the two of them is really unparalleled in Season 6,” raves Michelle. (Finn Polmar’s feelings about Alicia angling for the office he once sought will be explored as well, since his portrayer Matthew Goode will be in every episode, the showrunners promise.) Yet while the writers aren’t planning anything as earthquake-level intense as Season 5’s one-two punch of mutiny at Lockhart-Gardner and Will’s violent death, there will be a story arc introduced in the season premiere — one involving Kalinda — that comes close, Robert teases. Back at Florrick-Agos, Cary will fret about his position at the firm in the wake of Diane coming aboard — she has fired him twice before, after all — while Diane and fellow LG alum Dean Levine-Wilkins (Taye Diggs) will struggle to adjust to their new firm’s not-exactly-swank offices.
BONUS SPOILER | Remember that flirtatious intern of Governor Florrick’s who “helpfully” stayed late — despite Eli’s stern warnings — in Season 5’s penultimate installment? Well, she’ll be rearing her pretty head again in the Season 6 premiere.
RETURN DATE | Sunday, Sept. 21 at 9/8c (CBS)
The matter of Derek and Meredith’s seemingly at-odds career paths will continue to intensify. “Derek is not wrong for wanting what he wants, and Meredith is not wrong for wanting what she wants,” explains series creator Shonda Rhimes. “It doesn’t make him a misogynist because he wants to follow his career. And it doesn’t make her wrong for wanting to stick to her guns and fight for what she wants to do. It puts them in a difficult position.” Between the marital woes, the “very interesting” complications triggered by the reveal of her surprise half-sister Maggie and the recent loss of her “person” Cristina, Mer will be on the prowl for a new shoulder to lean on. Enter Alex. “They’ve always had a very close relationship that didn’t need a lot of work because they had a million other people there,” she notes. “Now it’s just the two of them; they become closer out of necessity.” Callie and Arizona’s foray into surrogacy “brings up some issues,” while April and Jackson brace for their own new arrival later in the season — although how much later remains in flux, in light of Sarah Drew’s real-life pregnancy. “[Sarah] is more pregnant than April, so we have some math we’re trying to figure out,” shares Rhimes. “But we are not accelerating [April’s pregnancy]. We already have the first part of our season planned, and nobody’s giving birth in the first nine episodes.”
BONUS SPOILER | Rumor has it sparks will indeed fly between Owen and Amelia (newly-minted series regular Caterina Scorsone).
RETURN DATE | Thursday, Sept. 25 at 8/7c (ABC)
A time jump between the end of Season 3 — when Nick’s Grimm powers fled and Monroe and Rosalee’s wedding reception turned into a melee — and the start of Season 4 is as likely as an Eisenbieber picking a fight with a Blutbad. (In other words, it ain’t gonna happen.) “There’s too much going on!” EP James Kouf says. While Nick and Juliette struggle with whether they even want him to be re-Grimmed (“Nick’s saying, ‘Maybe our life would be better,’ and Juliette’s definitely saying, ‘Let’s take some time and figure this out'”), some “very bad things” will happen to newlyweds Monrosalee in the first third of the season. “There are forces out there, a kind of Wesen Klu Klux Klan, that do not like this kind of intermarriage,” the EP says ominously. And though Adalind thinks the royals have her baby (while we know the child is really with Nick’s mom), “She’s got a rude awakening coming,” Greenwalt previews.
BONUS SPOILER | A wounded Sean Renard is nearing death, and “there’s nothing, it turns out, that medical science can really do for him,” Greenwalt says. So it’s probably no coincidence that a “very well-preserved” woman who’s close to the captain then enters the scene…
RETURN DATE | Friday, Oct. 24 at 9/8c (NBC)
Season 5 will make an immediate splash with several multi-episode storylines, including the return of Danny’s fugitive brother, McGarrett awaiting closure on his and Catherine’s long-distance relationship, a season-long arc for Kono/Adam and a conspiracy theory-proved-true crisis for Jerry. Elsewhere, Grover is “happy” in his new Five-0 role, says showrunner Peter M. Lenkov, but still dealing with demons resulting from his daughter’s trauma; Chin Ho “does something in the premiere that bites him in the ass” (hint: IA still has him in the crosshairs); and Danny must brace for daughter Grace’s entry into teenagerhood. As for Wo Fat and the mysteries forever circling Five-0’s foil, the series’ 100th episode (aka Episode 7) will answer “any lingering questions.” Also, watch for Steve’s aunt (guest star Carol Burnett) to return to Hawaii – for her impromptu wedding to a fellow chemo patient, played by singer Frankie Valli.
BONUS SPOILER | The season opener finds Steve and Danny “in therapy together… airing out their differences,” says Lenkov. “It’s really fun. In fact, the [actors] kept asking, ‘Can we do another therapy scene down the road?'”
RETURN DATE | Friday, Sept. 26 at 9/8c (CBS)
LAW & ORDER: SVU
SVU‘s new Season 16 recruit, Detective Carisi (Peter Scanavino), “fits into the group like a plaid jacket in a sea of tuxedos,” showrunner Warren Leight tells TVLine. He will become a “project” for Olivia, as she will “strive to make the others accept him.” But Olivia will also be taking it easy a bit this season, and you have baby Noah to thank for that. “Last year, she took enormous risks in her pursuit of William Lewis; from now on, she’s aware there’s an infant at home entirely dependent on her.” Speaking of William Lewis, Leight says Olivia won’t have to stare down as many of her demons this season, though her new home situation will pose “a different kind of harrowing challenge.” Amaro will also face family problems, as he’ll have to deal with a “long-distance separation from his daughter. … It’s SVU. Nothing ever comes easily.”
BONUS SPOILER | Leight says “we hope to meet Rollins’ mother” in Season 16, adding that she’ll “prove to be a real piece of work.”
RETURN DATE | Wednesday, Sept. 24 at 9/8c (NBC)
MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.
“In a word, yes” — ABC’s S.H.I.E.L.D. will maintain the momentum it built at the close of a long-simmering Season 1, says EP Jeff Bell. “Once we could say the word HYDRA, it’s been a sprint, and we’re planning to just keep sprinting.” As the newly named director of the broken S.H.I.E.L.D., Coulson “will have to make some hard decisions,” as Nick Fury regularly did, “but unofficially, on the run and with people gunning for him,” says Bell. The season opener will efficiently address the many burning Qs in play, including, “We’ve caught Ward, but what does that mean?” as well as lingering Coulson/May trust issues, Skye’s paternity (hi, Kyle MacLachlan!) and the amped-up Fitz/Simmons tension. “As storytellers, I think we deliver,” Bell says, “which is cool.”
BONUS SPOILER | Genre-TV goddess Lucy Lawless’ recurring character, S.H.I.E.L.D. vet Isabelle Hartley, is a woman to be reckoned with – “as is Lucy Lawless,” says Bell. “She plays a big personality.”
RETURN DATE | Tuesday, Sept. 23 at 9/8c (ABC)
With Sue entering her senior year, the Hecks take on “additional jobs” — including an at-home gig for Frankie, booking airline flights — to make up for their lack of tuition planning, says executive producer Eileen Heisler. The middle child (finally) getting her braces removed will lead to a surge in confidence and an unexpected tryout for a coveted school squad (plus a number of college tours/bonding opportunities with Mike). Axl and Brick, meanwhile, will both explore new love interests, with Heisler sharing that the youngest Heck comes to the surprising conclusion, “I’d like to be popular.” Lastly, Axl and Hutch will get that off-campus apartment they’ve been discussing — and promptly learn the correct meaning of the phrase “plus utilities.” Suffice to say, this could lead to Axl stealing stuff from his parents to make his situation work. <P>
<b>BONUS SPOILER |</b> “Something very important in the kitchen falls through,” teases Heisler when asked about what home-ownership woes will face the Hecks in Season 6. “It’s a part of the kitchen you use very frequently — and it means Thanksgiving has to be celebrated in a more unusual way.”<p>
<b>RETURN DATE |</b> Wedneday, Sept. 24 at 8/7c (ABC)
THE MINDY PROJECT
Now that Drs. Lahiri and Castellano are an official couple, prepare for them to put the “ohhh” in OB-GYN. “This is probably our dirtiest season,” says executive producer Matt Warburton, who admits even he is “amazed at how sexual things are going to get.” The kinky hijinks begin in the premiere, which Warburton promises contains a treat for those who enjoyed Dr. C’s Secret Santa gift last year: “Fans of this sort of big, grand-gesture side of Danny will really enjoy it.” But don’t think that the dating docs will have it easy. “To the extent that the third wheel used to be some other guy for Mindy, now it’s people like Annette Castellano” aka Danny’s pushy mom (played by Cheers‘ Rhea Perlman). In other Shulman & Associates news, Jeremy and Peter will become involved in a love triangle (but with whom?) and Morgan and Tamra will have “a very, very difficult year,” he adds. “There’s going to be an enormous amount of love warfare at work this year.”
BONUS SPOILER | Warburton teases a scene in which Danny must spend time in an elevator with two “fan-favorite exes of Mindy’s.” Any hints on who they’ll be? “If fans got to pick two, it might be these two.”
RETURN DATE | Tuesday, Sept. 16 at 9:30/8:30c (Fox)
Try as they might to prolong the honeymoon phase, newlyweds Mitch and Cam will still face plenty of marital obstacles, including Cam’s new gig as varsity football coach. “It’s a bit of a Friday Night Lights situation where the community thinks Cam is the second coming of football coaches, and Cam starts to crack under the pressure,” showrunner Christopher Lloyd previews for TVLine. Elsewhere in Season 6: Claire becomes the heir apparent to Jay’s business, the Dunphy family accompanies Alex on a college visit, and Steve Zahn and Andrea Anders arrive as horrible new neighbors.
BONUS SPOILER | Manny will have his first real-life, three-dimensional girlfriend this season — and Gloria isn’t going to take it well.
RETURN DATE | Wednesday, Sept. 24 at 9/8c (ABC)
Coming off proposals from Luke and Deacon, Rayna’s got a tough decision to make as Season 3 begins. (Don’t worry: By the end of the premiere, we’ll find out whom, if anyone, she chooses.) On a possibly related note, showrunner Dee Johnson says that Luke’s new back-up singer Pam (Rescue Me‘s Brette Taylor) and Deacon “circle each others’ orbits” despite the fact that “they’re very different people.” Meanwhile, Laura Benanti (Go On) comes to town as potential Highway 65 artist Sadie Stone “who is right in that sweet spot of on-the-rise and not-a-newbie-that-has-to-be-groomed,” and Derek Hough’s (DWTS) Noah West attracts attention when the Patsy Cline biopic in which he stars begins filming in Music City. The project is “something that everybody who is anybody is vying for a shot at,” Johnson says. Even Juliette? Because after her hook-up with Jeff and subsequent drama with Avery — andHayden Panettiere’s confirmed pregnancy — it looks like the series may have a “who’s the daddy?” storyline in the works. “How could you not?” Johnson says, laughing. Speaking of unplanned parenthood, Gunnar’s ex (Spy Kids‘ Alexa Vega) arrives in Nashville with a son that might be his… just as Zoey’s about to go on tour for the first time.
BONUS SPOILER | We’ll find out very quickly whether Gunnar’s serenade changed Scarlett’s plans to leave town. “I don’t think necessarily that his plea at the end of the finale was any kind of a magic fix,” Johnson teases.
RETURN DATE | Wednesday, Sept. 24 at 10/9c (ABC)
Having ended what he calls a "tumultuous" Season 11 on a quiet, cliffhanger-free note, show boss Gary Glasberg says Season 12 "absolutely" opens "with a bang." The premiere, titled' "20 Clicks," sends Gibbs and McGee to Russia "for a really significant crisis" that introduces a mercenary/new adversary (played by Alex Veadov) "who will pop up throughout the season." Also: DiNozzo will be partnered with a pretty FBI agent (Melrose Place's Stephanie Jacobsen), there will be flashbacks to Ducky's younger days, the McGee/Delilah storyline will continue and we'll meet Bishop's husband.
BONUS SPOILER | Diane Neal will return in an early episode as CGIS Agent Borin. “She is a favorite of the cast and crew," raves Glasberg. “If we could clone her, we would and have her back again and again.”
RETURN DATE | Tuesday, Sept. 23 at 8/7c (CBS)
NCIS: LOS ANGELES
In “Deep Trouble, Part 2,” “We jump right in” where the finale left off, with Sam and Callen trapped in a sub with bad guys and ammonia nitrate, says show boss Shane Brennan. From there, “It’s continuous action.” Of course, the show won’t blow up two leads, so the question is, “How the hell are they going to get out of this?” – especially after they realize what the terrorists’ target is and with the Navy poised to “take unilateral action” against the sub. Meanwhile, Hetty’s future is again in flux, “but this time we take it much further” – namely, to Washington, where she faces a hostile Senate committee seeking the truth about NCIS’ White Ghost op. “Things get very intense,” Brennan says. “We discover that Hetty is being targeted…. and someone very close to her dies as a result.” On a lighter note, “Romance is in the cards for Callen, and from an unexpected quarter,” while “unasked-for advice” from Talia will prompt Kensi to stop and think about her “thing” with Deeks.
BONUS SPOILER | Nell “finds herself in a pretty dangerous situation early on in the season,” Brennan shares. “And it has to do with Hetty.”
RETURN DATE | Monday, Sept. 29 at 10/9c (CBS)
Like most fans of Jess & Co., EPs Dave Finkel and Brett Baer “love it when the gang is together,” Baer tells TVLine. And this season, “for the first time in a long time, they’re all single.” The premiere finds the consciously uncoupled friends capitalizing on that freedom as they try to hook up at the last wedding of the season. That’s where Jess and Kat (a hot genius played by Jessica Biel) will square off over the best man… and, wait a minute, Nick is cool with this?! Finkel says the exes “have made an agreement that they’re moving forward and they are going to be supportive of each other,” and that Miller has reverted to “not trying too hard.” Sound familiar? “We want to take everyone back to their roots, their Season 1 personas,” the EP continues – which means more dough for the D-bag jar! Schmidt is “back to his beginnings as an all-around douchebag,” Baer says, noting that the roomie uses his expertise to help Jess break into online dating. Elsewhere, Coach becomes a permanent employee at the school where Jess is now vice principal, and Winston “commits to doing something dangerous” — being a cop. On a related note, we are assured that Ferguson is still in the (meow) mix.
BONUS SPOILER | A two-episode arc set in Oregon will enlighten us about Jess’ past.
RETURN DATE | Tuesday, Sept. 16 at 9/8c (Fox)
ONCE UPON A TIME
Lest you think that the introduction of Queen Elsa (Fringe’s Georgina Haig), Anna et al is mere Disney/ABC synergy, series cocreator Adam Horowitz makes clear that where Emma and her fellow Storybrookers “found themselves coming out of Season 3 is incredibly relevant to what the Frozen story is. There are things about Anna and Elsa that resonate within our own characters.” (But wait, wasn’t almost everyone happy when last we tuned in? “That’s what the premiere is for,” taunts Eddy Kitsis.) All told, Season 4’s theme is “Never give up on the people you love” — a notion that perhaps has particular significance for Regina, whose nascent romance with Robin Hood is detoured by Marian’s “resurrection.” Says Kitsis, “It’s going to be complicated and messy, but we hope it’s a hot mess.” Elsewhere, “past history” will test Emma and Hook’s own new relationship, an early episode delves into Belle’s pre-Rumple life and mild-mannered Mary Margaret is going to be presented with “much more responsibility” than just new motherhood.
BONUS SPOILER | Speaking of the Frozen contingent, Kitsis teases, “Somebody [in Storybrooke] will be unhappy to see them, and somebody will be thrilled to see them.”
RETURN DATE | Sunday, Sept. 28 at 8/7c (ABC)
When Season 2 picks up – on a full moon – the Guerrera werewolves “have taken control of the French Quarter,” executive producer Michael Narducci reveals. A grieving Klaus will put all his focus into destroying the threat “to quite catastrophic effect.” Meanwhile, Cami won’t be keeping her distance from the self-destructive Original despite his orders. “They certainly start off in a place where Cami is seeing someone else. Yet, she feels a responsibility [to help Klaus] because she knows she has a connection to this guy – when she speaks, he listens.” As for baby Hope’s mama, newbie hybrid Hayley will get “defensive” and “angry” as she wonders “if [Elijah’s] ability to look down on vampires translates to her,” Narducci previews. “Hayley’s new status will force them to have some interesting conversations about what this means for their future.” And as Hayley adapts to her new life, Elijah’s “decision on what to do to help her is going to be a bit surprising.”
BONUS SPOILER |The Originals could be headed back to Mystic Falls. “There’s an interesting possibility for some flashback stuff,” Narducci teases. “Remember, that’s where the Original family was – in ancient Mystic Falls.”
RETURN DATE | Monday, Oct. 6 at 8/7c (The CW)
Break out the Kleenex! While creator Jason Katims won’t get too specific about the final, 13-episode arc that challenges the Bravermans, he will say this: “We’ve never told a story about losing someone in the family, and that is a very difficult story for us to tell. But it’s one that I feel is a reality.” Over on the Joel/Julia front, Katims says Season 6 will bring a change in dynamic for the couple “where it’s Joel who’s trying to get back into Julia’s good graces. It’s about refining Julia, who decides to move on with her life.”
BONUS SPOILER | Hank’s ex-wife Sandy (Breaking Bad‘s Betsy Brandt) will move back to the area with daughter in tow, hoping to get some parenting help as Ruby reaches a difficult age.
RETURN DATE | Thursday, Sept. 25 at 10/9c (NBC)
PERSON OF INTEREST
Picking up about six weeks after Samaritan went online and Team Machine was forced into hiding (in plain sight), the season premiere is titled “Panopticon” – which has a literal meaning (a building designed for one watchman to observe all inmates) – “but we’re leaning more towards the figurative, obviously,” says EP Greg Plageman. The aliases Root rounded up for the gang “absolutely” have held up thus far, “though they may not necessarily be happy about that,” Plageman teases. Reese, for one, “enjoys the anonymity of being ‘the man in the suit,’” while Shaw is similarly struggling with her lot as a department store clerk. Meanwhile for Fusco, “ignorance is bliss,” as Samaritan doesn’t know to nose around the NYPD detective (who has a new boss in Monique Curnen). As such, “Fusco becomes the asset who can be used in a different aspect.”
BONUS SPOILER | The mystery woman played by Cara Buono (and featured in the first trailer) “is more than a person of interest,” Plageman allows, and she doesn’t answer to Decima. “Our audience will be pleasantly surprised by what she’s doing on our show.”
RETURN DATE | Tuesday, Sept. 23 at 10/9c (CBS)
King Henry may be gone, but “his presence looms large” at French Court in Season 2, showrunner Laurie McCarthy tells TVLine. While Mary and Francis are forced to figure out what his child with Lola means for their lives, Catherine finds herself with a new potential suitor named Narcisse (Spartacus‘ Craig Parker). “He lives in an age where life is cheap, and he’ll trade lives to get what he wants. He has a complicated past and an intriguing romantic future.” That said, Catherine and Narcisse “will score other dance partners, as well.” Meanwhile, Bash and Kenna’s marriage will be “tested” as he assumes “a different position at Court under Francis” and she remains “ambitious … and restless.” (That’s never a good combination.) Also unlucky in love are Leith and Greer, who have found themselves in a “quadrangle.” The true identity of Leith’s lady friend Yvette will come out early in the season, McCarthy teases, “with very surprising results.”
BONUS SPOILER | Remember Clarissa, the gal with the face? McCarthy confirms it’s “distinctly possible that she’s alive.”
RETURN DATE | Thursday, Oct. 2 at 9/8c (The CW)
According to co-showrunner Michele Fazekas, the sophomore premiere — which picks up one week after the Season 1 finale — will directly answer the question of whether Bellamy is one of the Returned. And, she adds, Bellamy will suffer repercussions at his job “for the fact that he was essentially going off the reservation at the end of Season 1.” Elsewhere in the premiere, Sheriff Fred Langston will be at his “lowest point,” and the return of his mother (Game of Thrones‘ Michelle Fairley) will have a “profound impact” on him.
BONUS SPOILER | With the show’s second season running at least 13 episodes, Fazekas and fellow Resurrection boss Tara Butters will use that extra time to explore the lives of secondary characters, including Deputy Carl and the Returned folks in his life.
RETURN DATE | Sunday, Sept. 28 at 9/8c (ABC)
Revenge is dropping its flash-forward gimmick in Season 4 and adopting “a whole new attitude” — beginning with Victoria — showrunner Sunil Nayar tells TVLine. “You’re going to find her in a very new state of mind…. There’s almost a calm about her.” That said, she’s still focused on taking down Emily, who’s “trying to move past what’s happened to her,” including Aiden’s death and the supposed completion of her original revenge mission. “Dead” David’s return will certainly rock her world, though the show will “roll him out pretty slowly” so the audience can savor everyone’s “different, wonderful” reactions. His dynamic with Emily, specifically, is “not what you’re going to be expecting.” Meanwhile, the dead girl left in Daniel’s bed at the end of Season 3 “will lead to a significant change” in the Hamptons’ golden boy. (The fate of his father, by the way, will be confirmed “in the first couple minutes” of the season premiere.) As for Nolan? We’ve got two words: Boat. Party.
BONUS SPOILER | Prepare yourselves for Jack 2.0. “The audience will be knocked out by what he has done between seasons,” Nayar says.
RETURN DATE | Sunday, Sept. 28 at 10/9c (ABC)
Olivia’s gone AWOL. Harrison is dead. The Gladiators have disbanded. Basically, when the show returns, “Everything is a pile of rubble,” says series creator Shonda Rhimes, “and Rowan is standing on top of it.” Olivia eventually returns to D.C. to resume fixing and handling everyone’s messes, but it won’t be business as usual. “Every season we try to tell this show in a different way, and we’re doing that again this season,” says Rhimes. “There is an organizing principle that brings us back, in a weird way, to more of where we were at the very beginning of the [series].” Rhimes hints that Season 4 will see “the emergence of a very different kind of Mellie, who I kind love almost more than I love ‘Drunk Mellie.'” Might a certain VPOTUS have something to do with that? “We do see Andrew this season and there is a trajectory for that [relationship],” teases the EP. “But not right away. Mellie’s child died and her world blew up — an affair is the last thing on her mind.” Speaking of Jerry Jr.’s tragic passing, Rhimes confirms that Fitz will learn the truth about Papa Pope’s role in his death during “the first half of the season.”
BONUS SPOILER | Here’s a tidbit about the new character played by Lost vet Sonya Walger: Rumor has it she’s an old friend (and new client) of Liv’s.
RETURN DATE | Thursday, Sept. 25 at 9/8c (ABC)
First things first: How the heck will Ichabod get un-buried and Abbie escape Purgatory — especially now that Henry (aka Jeremy aka the Horseman of War) is galloping around unfettered? “Look, Crane is brilliant,” says EP Mark Goffman. “He’s a very resourceful man and he uses that to his advantage – even six feet underground.” Lt. Mills, however, might have a tougher time returning from the hell realm, especially after Moloch engages in “more trickery… that’s going to be pretty mind-blowing for her.” Mrs. Crane, meanwhile, will use her expertise as a witch and a spy to deal with her headless former beau, who’s still holding her captive. Back at the precinct, Capt. Irving’s replacement, Lena Reyes (Sakina Jaffrey, House of Cards), will evoke very different responses in the Mills sisters… if they survive their end-of-Season 1 travails. “Both Jenny and Abbie have different recollections of Reyes” — who was acquainted with their mother — “and what she did to their family,” he says. Other newbies include Nick Hawley (Hellcats‘ Matt Barr), a bounty hunter with eyes for Abbie, and Benjamin Franklin (thirtysomething‘s Timothy Busfield), who mentors Crane and eschews clothing — sometimes simultaneously. “We’ll see him early and often and, well, quite a bit, as he’s scantily clad,” Goffman adds, laughing.
BONUS SPOILER | Capt. Irving “does not stay in prison very long,” Goffman teases, but “That doesn’t mean that he’s a free man.”
RETURN DATE | Monday, Sept. 22 at 9/8c (Fox)
SONS OF ANARCHY
In the wake of Tara’s brutal murder, a now-widowed Jax “is in outlaw form for the first time,” says series creator Kurt Sutter. “It’s the most proactive we’ve ever seen our hero in the sense of being singular of purpose. It’s all about revenge.” Meanwhile for Gemma, it’s all about making sure he doesn’t learn the truth about the crime, which propels both her and accomplice Juice into a “f—ing nightmare,” teases Sutter. With Gemma off covering her tracks, Wendy (newly minted series regular Drea de Matteo) steps in to help care for the boys — and make a new friend in the process. “There’s an interesting friendship that builds between Wendy and Nero,” reveals the EP. “It’s not romantic. It’s strictly two junkies sharing a bond.” Speaking of bonds, look for Tig and Venus (a returning Walton Goggins) to take theirs to the next level. Declares Sutter: “That’s definitely our love story this season.”
BONUS SPOILER | Despite her new full-time NCIS: New Orleans gig, CCH Pounder’s DA Patterson will be back for “two or three episodes,” says Sutter, noting, “She has this very interesting maternal dynamic with Jax. I want to bring that back around.”
RETURN DATE | Tuesday, Sept. 9 at 10/9c (FX)
As a newly turned supernatural creature, Dean will have to decide “how dark and what kind of demon he’s going to be,” executive producer Jeremy Carver previews. So what’s the verdict? Per star Jensen Ackles, “[He’s] an ultra version of a womanizing party animal.” Considering how wild and fun his new life is – he even becomes too much for Crowley to handle! – it’s no wonder then that Dean doesn’t want to be found. But Sam, unaware of what’s happened to his brother, will try his darnedest, leading the younger Winchester “to do some questionable things that will make him, and certainly the audience, wonder which one of these guys is the true monster,” Carver notes. Meanwhile, Castiel is back on Earth and struggling with the moral dilemma of how to get his angelic grace back without being a burden.
BONUS SPOILER | Cas will be the harsh “voice of reason” when it comes to Dean’s situation, says Ackles. “Even though it might be hard to hear, it might be hard to say, he tells Sam, ‘Listen, you know what you have to do if things don’t go right.’”
RETURN DATE | Tuesday, Oct. 7 at 9/8c (The CW)
THE VAMPIRE DIARIES
Four months after the Season 5 finale, Elena is still “grieving” Damon, but also “excelling in her pre-med program,” executive producer Caroline Dries tells TVLine. Elena’s new endeavor will also prove fruitful for Alaric, who will shack up with her mentor Jo. (“Love is in the air!”) Sadly, romance won’t be in the air for Stefan, who “doesn’t have the emotional energy for a relationship.” And even when he is ready, he’s still “a typical guy who just sees Caroline as a friend.” Bonnie and Damon’s whereabouts will unfold “slowly” as they continue to “get on each other’s nerves like an old married couple.” Meanwhile, Tyler will embrace his “second chance” at humanity, but will discover “the rage is still inside him” and he can’t run from it. As for Matt, he’ll finally get to live in Mystic Falls without having to constantly watch his back. We’ll also learn more about Liv and Luke’s “dark past” and “destiny,” which will reveal why they came to Whitmore College.
BONUS SPOILER | Elena will try to set up Caroline with her new pre-med buddy Liam (Maro James), as she thinks they’re “the perfect match.”
RETURN DATE | Thursday, Oct. 2, at 8/7c (The CW)
THE WALKING DEAD
“The band is back together,” declares Andrew Lincoln of Season 5, which finds the survivors (mostly) reunited at Terminus and feeling… a bit out of sorts. As showrunner Scott M. Gimple notes, “All of these people have had really different journeys to Terminus, and, as a result, they’re different people than they were. It’s decidedly more intense than coming back to high school after summer vacation.” There’s also the small fact that their current hosts are psychopaths with a likely predilection for cannibalism who, in the closing minutes of the finale, locked the gang inside a train car. The premiere picks up a few hours into their ordeal and features “the most intense six minutes” in Walking Dead history, declares Gimple. “It gets very intense very quick, very terrifying very quick.” Beyond the opener, look for Rick and Michonne’s still-platonic relationship to deepen. “The importance of who they are to each other grows, and that emotional intimacy gets developed even more,” says the EP, before quickly adding, “That doesn’t necessarily mean [it will turn into a] romance.” Loosely translated: It doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t!
BONUS SPOILER | “The premiere plays with time in some interesting ways,” teases Gimple. “The characters’ storylines crisscross in the timeline.”