For TV viewers swamped by reruns, there are a few signs of hope.
Two networks have set specifics for this fall: Fox will launch a makeshift line-up on Sept. 21 with “Filthy Rich” (shown here) and “L.A.’s Finest”; the CW begins its own makeshift line-up two weeks later.
That still leaves the big ones in limbo. When the coronavirus struck, ABC, CBS and NBC simply renewed most of their shows for this fall; so far, they’ve only set a few start dates — “Dancing With the Stars” Sept. 14 on ABC and pro football everywhere.
But the pay-extra networks – from Netflix to HBO – remain busy. So does PBS and some of the basic-cable networks. “Fargo,” one of TV’s most-praised series, starts its season Sept. 27 on FX; a week later, AMC’s “The Walking Dead” has an abrupt season-finale and launches a spin-off.
Here are some of the things (excluding the streaming and premium channels) set so far:
Some of its pillars persist.
“The Simpsons” has proceeded despite the shutdown; in March, its producer said seven episodes were already finished. It starts its season Sept. 27, along with the other animated shows.
Fox also has wrestling on Fridays and pro football on Sunday afternoons (starting Sept. 13) and Thursday nights (starting Oct. 8). The rest is strictly makeshift:
– “L.A.’s Finest” at 8 p.m. Mondays, beginning Sept. 21. Jessica Alba and Gabrielle Union star in police roles they started in the “Bad Boys” movies; that has already had two seasons on the Spectrum cable system, but will be new to most viewers
— “Filthy Rich” at 9 p.m. Mondays, beginning Sept. 21. Kim Cattrall runs a TV/religion empire, after the apparent death of her husband (Gerald McRaney). The show was set for this spring, then delayed.
– “Cosmos: Worlds Beyond,” at 8 p.m. Tuesdays, with a two-hour opener Sept. 22. It has already aired on National Geographic.
– “NeXt,” at 9 p.m. Tuesdays, starting Oct. 6. A science-fiction show starring John Slattery, it was planned for the spring, then delayed.
– “The Masked Singer” on Wednesdays. Fox says it will return in September, without listing specifics. It’s been set for 8 p.m., with “MasterChef Junior” at 9.
The network’s main shows – “Batwoman,” “Riverdale,” “The Flash,” etc. – have been pushed back to January, with one key exception:
“Supernatural” returns Oct. 8, for the final episodes of its 15-season run. The show had planned to conclude this spring, but was hit by the virus shutdown; instead, its last episode will be Nov. 10.
Surrounding it will be a collction of quirky shows. The Friday line-up starts Sept. 18 and there will be a four-hour “iHeartRadio Music Festival” on Sept. 27-28, but the others begin in October.
CW doesn’t have Saturday shows and has been filling Mondays with “Penn and Teller: Fool Us,” preceded by “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” The other nights are:
– Fridays: “Masters of Illusion” continues at 8 and 8:30 p.m.; “World’s Funniest Animals” debuts at 9 and 9:30 on Sept. 18.
– Sundays: “Pandora,” a sci-fi show, is 8 p.m., starting Oct. 4. It was intended as a summer show, but CW held this second season to fall. It may be followed by “Two Sentence Horror Stories.”
– Tuesdays: “Swamp Thing” debuts with a 90-minutes episode at 8 p.m. Oct. 6. The next week, “Tell Me a Story” starts its second season at 9. Both have already been on streaming networks – “Swamp Thing” on DC Universe, “Tell Me a Story” on CBS All Access.
– Wednesdays: “Devils” debuts at 8 p.m. Oct. 7; it’s a French/Italian financial thriller, but includes Patrick Depsey. “Coroner,” a Canadian drama, starts its second season that night at 9.
– Thursdays: “Supernatural” returns at 8 p.m. Oct.8, with “The Outpost” – another fantasy show delayed from its summer run – at 9.
ABC, CBS and NBC
They haven’t set new start dates, but networks have a few stopgaps:
— ABC starts “Dancing With the Stars” on Sept. 14, now with Tyra Banks as the host.
– “CBS” launches “Love Island” from 8-10 p.m. Aug. 24, then airs it at 9 p.m. each night (except Wednesdays), with two-hour recaps on Saturdays. (On two of those nights, it will be alongside “Big Brothers,” providing two hours of sexy singles who were quarantined before the show.) It also has Sunday afternoon football, beginning Sept. 13.
– NBC will have the Canadian drama “Transplant” on Tuesdays, starting Sept. 1, with the new “American Ninja Warrior” season Mondays, starting Sept. 7. It has primetime football on one Thursday (Sept. 10) and then on Sundays.
Some of the busier networks include:
– The FX ones, led by the fourth season of “Fargo,” starting 10 p.m. Sept. 27; the first season won an Emmy for best mini-series and the other two were nominated. Also: “Archer” starts Sept. 16 on FXX … “A Wilderness of Errors” (a documentary series about the Jeffrey MacDonald murder case) starts Sept. 25 on FX … and “Teacher,” a 10-week miniseries, starts in November on FX’s Hulu hub.
– AMC. “The Walking Dead” – a perpetual ratings-leader – hasn’t had a new episode since April 5. It returns at 9 p.m. Oct. 4, almost exactly a half-year later, to air a season-finale. That will be followed at 10 p.m. by the debut of a spin-off, “Walking Dead: The World Beyond.” A week later, “Fear the Walking Dead” returns. AMC also debuts “Soulmates” – an anthology, set in a time when a computer finds one’s exact soulmate – on Oct. 5 and returns Eli Roth’s “History of Horror” on Oct. 10.
– Other networks in the AMC universe. BBC America starts “Wonderstruck,” focusing on baby animals, at 8 p.m. Sept. 12; and it use animations to re-create a long-lost “Doctor Who” at 8 p.m. Oct. 7-9 … IFC starts the fifth and final season of the “Baroness von Sketch show” on Oct. 14 … Sundance
debuts “Deutschland 89,” a spy tale triggered by the fall of the Berlin Wall, at 11 p.m. Oct. 29; and it starts a new “The A Word” season – after a two-year break – at 11 p.m. Nov. 4.
This network is booming ahead as if there had never been a shutdown. It has the usual flood of documentaries, plus:
– Concerts, all at 9 p.m. The Royal Ballet does “Romeo and Juliet” at 9 p.m., Sept. 11 … Wynton Marsalis leads “A Swinging Sesame Street Celebration” on Oct. 30 … and Lea Salonga sings on Nov. 27. And on Oct. 16, “Grammy Salute to Music Legends” ranges from Chicago and Roberta Flack to Iggy Pop and Public Enemy.
– Light dramas at 8 p.m. Sundays. “Last Tango in Haslifax:” returns Sept. 20 to Oct. 11; then Dawn French plays a small-town gossip in “The Trouble With Maggie Cole,” Oct. 18 to Nov. 22.
– “Masterpiece” mini-series at 9 p.m. Sundays. “Van Der Valk” (a Dutch detective) is Sept. 13-27 … “Flesh and Blood” (a widowed Francesca Annis romances Stephen Rea, alarming her children), Oct. 4-25 … and “Roadkill” (Hugh Laurie as a scheming politician), Nov. 1-22.
– And “COBRA,” at 10 p.m. Sundays, Oct. 4 to Nov. 8. It’s set during a British crisis, in Cabinet Office Briefing Room A.