From sitcom family finales to musical unmaskings, we round up 10 returning shows you can't miss
1. Dancing With the Stars — Premieres Monday, September 16, City & ABC
ABCAfter skipping their usual spring edition, DWtS is back this fall with another characteristically eclectic dance card. The stars of season 28 include James Van Der Beek, Christie Brinkley, Lamar Odom, Queer Eye’s Karamo Brown, The Office’s Kate Flannery, pop singer Ally Brooke, soul icon Mary Wilson, country star Lauren Alaina, comedian Kel Mitchell, NFL legend Ray Lewis, recent Bachelorette Hannah Brown... oh, and former White House press secretary Sean Spicer. Needless to say, that last fellow has proven controversial.
2. 9-1-1 — Premieres Monday, September 23, Global & Fox
FoxThe third season of this Ryan Murphy-produced first responder drama doesn’t hold back the disasters, kicking off with a massive tsunami hitting L.A.’s famed Santa Monica pier. Meanwhile, a new face will be joining the cast in a recurring role: former MMA fighter and current WWE superstar Ronda Rousey, who’ll play Lena Bosko, described as “a stoic and fearless member of Los Angeles Fire Department Station 136 who leaps into action to save lives when a disaster hits.”
3. The Voice — Premieres Monday, September 23, CTV2 & NBC
CTVThe Voice’s 17th season will mark its first without Adam Levine, who exited at the end of last season. Joining returning coaches Blake Shelton, Kelly Clarkson and John Legend will be Voice vet Gwen Stefani, who served as coach in seasons seven, nine and 12. “I’m excited to see America’s favourite couple fight it out,” joked Legend in a trailer for the new season, poking fun at the Stefani-Shelton romance, now in its fourth year.
4. The Conners — Premieres Monday, September 23, CTV; Tuesday, September 24, ABC
CTVFollowing the firing of Roseanne Barr and the Roseanne revival being rebranded as The Conners, the focus shifted to middle Conner daughter Darlene, understandable since star Sara Gilbert is an exec producer and the driving force behind the reboot. Unconfirmed reports indicate that producers have been courting former Sons of Anarchy star Katey Sagal to reprise her guest spot from last season, as an old friend whom Dan (John Goodman) gently rebuffed after she let him know she was interested in a romantic relationship. While ABC hasn’t confirmed the rumours, don’t be surprised to see Sagal return in an expanded role for season two.
5. Empire — Premieres Tuesday, September 24, Fox
FoxSeason six will be the swan song for this soapy music-biz drama, which at one time was among the highest-rated series on TV. While ratings have dropped sharply in recent years, the show recaptured the public’s attention for all the wrong reasons this past winter, when co-star Jussie Smollett claimed to be the victim of a hate crime on the streets of Chicago, only for those claims to be refuted by police and Smollett brought up on charges of filing a false report. That case was dropped, but the situation remained murky enough that Smollett’s character Jamal was written out before the end of the season, sent off on a (possibly never-ending) honeymoon after marrying his boyfriend. An early report from Variety indicated the writers were exploring ways to bring Jamal back for the second half of this final season, but that was vehemently denied by exec producer Lee Daniels. So how will the character’s absence be addressed? Entertainment Weekly cites sources claiming Jamal will move to London, and be mentioned only in passing by his fellow Lyons—though apparently, “there are also contingency plans in place for him to potentially make an appearance down the road.”
6. This Is Us — Premieres Tuesday, September 24, CTV & NBC
NBCPlot details for the upcoming season of the tearjerker hit are being kept under wraps, although the new season’s poster declares, “If you think you know what’s coming next... you don’t know us.” Chatting with Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live, star Chrissy Metz hinted, “Well, we’re going to meet some new characters, which is exciting. And we’re going to see how they’re all sort of intertwined and how they all affect the Pearsons. That’s a pretty good clue, that’s a pretty good hint for you.” During his appearance on WWHL, Milo Ventimiglia cryptically teased, “The world expands.”
7. The Masked Singer — Premieres Wednesday, September 25, CTV & Fox
FoxWhat do you call a singing competition where celebs dress up as demented sports mascots while the world’s most famous anti-vaxxer tries to guess if it’s a legendary athlete, a Grammy-winning singer or an Emmy-winning actor crooning from inside that glittery bumblebee? Ratings gold, that’s what! Having distinguished itself as Fox’s most-watched unscripted series, The Masked Singer also earned a promotion from midseason to the primo real estate of the fall schedule for season two. Judges Jenny McCarthy, Ken Jeong, Nicole Scherzinger and Robin Thicke, as well as host Nick Cannon, are all back as 16 new celebs (up from season one’s 12) don the garb of, among other costumes, a cyberpunk fox, a sci-fi butterfly, a Tudors-inspired leopard and an anthropomorphized egg that simply refuses to stop haunting our dreams. Season three is already slated for February 2, post-Super Bowl.
8. Modern Family — Wednesday, September 25, Global & ABC
ABCOne of the most successful sitcoms in TV history is prepping for its last laugh. After a season-10 finale that saw eldest daughter Haley give birth to twins, much of season 11 will focus on Haley, her husband Dylan and their offspring adding a little chaos to the Dunphy household. As co-creator Steven Levitan told Entertainment Weekly: “We gave them twins because they’re going to need more help, and it gives Phil and Claire and the rest of the family something to really be engaged with... There might be some interesting things that happen with [Haley’s] job, so some of the stuff falls on Phil and Claire a bit. We didn’t want to give them a baby and off they go into their own little household. We want them to be even more dependent on the family for a while.” Word has it, this final season will be a bit shorter than usual, at 18 episodes, which would wrap the show at a “nice round” total of 250.
9. Survivor— Premieres Wednesday, September 25, Global & CBS
CBSThe 39th season has been dubbed “Island of the Idols,” and will feature the return of two legendary Survivor winners: “Boston” Rob Mariano and Sandra Diaz-Twine. This time, however, they won’t be competing, but will serve as mentors to a group of 18 new players. Boasting a combined 200 days playing the game, the duo will share their knowledge, skills and strategy with the new castaways.
10. How to Get Away With Murder — Premieres Thursday, September 26, CTV & ABC
CTVWhen last we left ruthless lawyer Annalise Keating (Emmy winner Viola Davis) and her various protégés, Laurel (Karla Souza) had just been abducted as part of a plot by her nefarious brother and the governor, while Emmett (Timothy Hutton) collapsed of an apparent poisoning, just after he was accused of murder on live TV by that same governor. It set up another dark, twist-happy season for the Shondaland thriller; alas, it will also be the show’s last. Creator Peter Nowalk teased in a statement: “Deciding to end this series was a brutal decision, but ultimately the story tells you what to do—as it did here. For me, Annalise Keating’s journey has always hadaclearending... I can’t wait for you all to see how it ends, with twists and turns and all the craziness we love to create every Thursday night. Buckle up.”