Cherry Jones Front-Runner for 2012 Presidential Election: Emmys 2009

I’d folded this into the Andre-Braugher-Is-Fabulous-And-Will-Be-On-House post, but the more I think about it, the more annoyed I get. I think I’ve figured out my problem with the Emmys–it’s that they have neither rhyme nor reason. (Perhaps that is why they used John Hodgman as an announcer, which was genius.) If we could always say, “Well, the Academy skews old, so of course they’ll take the wonderful Little Dorrit over the equally wonderful but very different Generation Kill,” we could make sense of their world. Or if it were, “Well, they’ll always take a star in another medium over someone who mostly does TV, hence Glenn Close, Toni Collette, and Cherry Jones,” we could impose some order. But when you see Kristin Chenoweth honored–HOORAY–90 seconds before Jon Cryer is also victorious–er, what?–it’s dizzying.

Much, much, much worse, however, were the omissions from the In Memorium segment. I’m sure I’m overlooking important people, too, but I can’t help but be a little miffed that they couldn’t be bothered to include Andy Hallett and Kim Manners. Particulary given that Manners was an Emmy nominee. Four different times.

Equally classy was the use of Bear McCreary’s astounding Battlestar Galactica score over the clip package on how wonderful television dramas were this year. Very few people love the BSG score more than I do, but it stings more than a little bit that this music was good enough for their broadcast but not good enough to win an Emmy. Or, you know, be nominated. I mean, it’s not like the score was written by manatees or anything, so I guess I can see why it wouldn’t be good enough to be considered for an award. 

And yet…Chenoweth. Michael Emerson was a deserving winner. Bryan Cranston’s delight will never get old (although I’m starting to feel uncomfortable for Hugh Laurie). Perhaps the most fun all night (with the exception of Hodgman) was the original song winners noting dryly that the producers probably expected a little more Justin Timberlake for their money, which makes me want them to win every year. Why can’t the Emmys make any sense?

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LEVERAGE “The Two Horse Job”: Was It Just to Watch Him Die?

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While this week’s new Leverage was another knotty, naughty affair–a shell game with horses instead of a ball under the shells–“The Two Horse Job” was the first time we wondered how long this show can keep those kinds of stories coming. It seems awfully early in the game to be revealing big chunks of character background by making the clients important parts of our heroes’ past. (It also seems kind of early to put Christan Kane on a horse with his luxurious locks flowing behind him, but mileage may vary on that point.)

We’re reassured, however, by the weird wit that sets Leverage apart from other puzzle shows. Hardison’s frustration that no one pays enough attention to his PowerPoint presentations on their new cases rings true for any of us who have to make serious business a song and dance. Parker trying to sneak a sick day because of her equinophobia is odd enough, but her claim that the fear engulfs her because she “once saw a horse kill a clown,” complete with flashback to a childhood birthday party with costumed entertainers fighting, makes it art. We’d cheer for her when she sneaks through ductwork to free a horse, overcoming her terror and declaring brightly that “horses are much less murderous” than she’d originially assumed, but we’re too busy laughing. Toss in genre favorite Mark Sheppard (Firefly, The Middleman, Battlestar Galactica24) as the #2 insurance fraud investigator in the world (second only to the disgraced Nathan Ford, of course) as a semi-permanent adversary, and we’re convinced they’re not going to stop the fun train.

Golden Globe Television Nominees Offer Few Surprises

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The 66th annual Golden Globe nominations were announced this morning by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Although the televised ceremony (AKA the drinky Oscars) is generally a rip-roaring good time due to the mingling of film and television stars and the copious amounts of alcohol consumed by attendees, the awards themselves are invariably somewhat dubious, given as they are by a small group of irrelevant journalists known for being easily swayed by studio marketing campaigns. Still, they’re awards, so we’re gonna talk about ’em.

For the most part the nominees this year are exactly who think they are: 30 Rock, The Office, Mad Men, Dexter, House, etc. Once again we are bored to tears by been-there-done-that nominations for Tony Shaloub, Mariska Hargitay and anyone connected with Entourage. There is some pleasure to be gained by the nods for Cranford, January Jones and Neil Patrick Harris. On the other hand, multiple nominations for Californication and True Blood just go to show that absolutely anything can get nominated for an award if it airs on premium cable, and the total exclusion of Pushing Daisies suggests the HFPA doesn’t even watch TV.

A complete list of television nominees is under the cut…

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Squee! It’s…

Squee! It’s Zeljko Ivanek on Numb3rs tonight. You can have your Andre Drazens from 24; you can take your Governor Devlins from Oz; you can even keep your Steve Atwoods from The West Wing and your John Dickinsons from, well, the American Revolution. I’ll always love Zeljko Ivanek for ADA Ed Danvers on Homicide: Life on the Streets and for giving me the first moment where I knew I loved The X-Files (when we return from commercial to find that the body of the scientist Ivanek’s possessed janitor Roland has killed by sticking his head in a vat of liquid nitrogen has been outlined with tape–including hundreds of little tape Xs for where the shards of his frozen head shattered on impact. Niiiiiiiiice.).

Perhaps a notable guest spot on a network show like Numb3rs will mean Emmy voters will have Ivanek on their minds and will remember to nominate his striking turn as troubled attorney Ray Fiske on Damages this year. Because I’m not sure there was a better performance on TV last season than that.

Fox Banks on Abrams’ FRINGE for Fall

Fox obviously thinks that Fringe is going to be the next Lost, and they may not be wrong. The sci-fi thriller from Lost creator J.J. Abrams is one of only two new shows on the network’s fall schedule–the other being a half-hour comedy tentatively titled Do Not Disturb and starring Jerry O’Connell. Yeah, I don’t really care about that one, either.

So, getting back to Fringe… Fox is so excited about this show that it’s rolling out the marketing campaign today, a tactic more commonly used for feature films than television shows. New Yorkers should keep an eye out for the Fringe street teams today, who will apparently be orchestrating stunts involving Segways and… cows? O-kay. They’ve also unveiled a series of tantalizing posters for the series, complete with Lost-esque typeface and mysterious imagery including an apple, a shadowy figure, a handprint, a leaf, and a puff of smoke in the shape of a creepy human face. Also? The show’s mystery apparently starts with an ill-fated airline flight. Hmmmm.

But as much as they want us to be excited about Fringe, the truth is that they’re holding back most of the good stuff until midseason, when 24 and American Idol return. That means we’ll have to wait until January for the highly-anticipated Joss Whedon series Dollhouse, which will serve as a lead-in on Monday nights for 24. Two new animated comedies are also being held until spring: Sit Down, Shut Up from Mitchell Hurwitz (Arrested Development) and the Family Guy spin off The Cleveland Show.

As usual, Fox is set to launch its fall season earlier than the other networks, starting with a two-hour Prison Break on Monday, Aug. 25, the two-hour premiere of Fringe on Aug. 26, and a two-hour Bones on Aug. 27. Finally, upfront week has given us something to get excited about.

Fall 2008 Schedule

MONDAY
8:00-9:00 PM TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES
9:00-10:00 PM PRISON BREAK

TUESDAY
8:00-9:00 PM HOUSE
9:00-10:00 PM FRINGE

WEDNESDAY
8:00-9:00 PM BONES
9:00-9:30 PM ‘TIL DEATH
9:30-10:00 PM DO NOT DISTURB (wt)

THURSDAY
8:00-9:00 PM THE MOMENT OF TRUTH
9:00-10:00 PM KITCHEN NIGHTMARES

FRIDAY
8:00-9:00 PM ARE YOU SMARTER THAN A 5th GRADER?
9:00-10:00 PM DON’T FORGET THE LYRICS!

SATURDAY
8:00-8:30 PM COPS
8:30-9:00 PM COPS
9:00-10:00 PM AMERICA’S MOST WANTED: AMERICA FIGHTS BACK
11:00 PM-Midnight MADtv
Midnight-12:30 AM TALKSHOW WITH SPIKE FERESTEN

SUNDAY
7:00-8:00 PM THE OT (NFL post-game)
8:00-8:30 PM THE SIMPSONS
8:30-9:00 PM KING OF THE HILL
9:00-9:30 PM FAMILY GUY
9:30-10:00 PM AMERICAN DAD

New Series for Fall 2008 or Midseason 2009

FRINGE
From J.J. Abrams, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, the team behind Star Trek, Mission: Impossible III and Alias, comes a new thriller that will explore the blurring line between science fiction and reality. When an international flight lands at Boston’s Logan Airport and the passengers and crew have all died grisly deaths, FBI Special Agent Olivia Dunham (newcomer Anna Torv) is called in to investigate. After her partner, Special Agent John Scott (Mark Valley, Boston Legal), is nearly killed during the investigation, a desperate Olivia searches frantically for someone to help, leading her to Dr. Walter Bishop (John Noble, Lord of the Rings), our generation’s Einstein. There’s only one catch: he’s been institutionalized for the last 20 years, and the only way to question him requires pulling his estranged son Peter (Joshua Jackson, Dawson’s Creek) in to help. When Olivia’s investigation leads her to manipulative corporate executive Nina Sharp (Blair Brown, Altered States), our unlikely trio along with fellow FBI Agents Phillip Broyles (Lance Reddick, The Wire), Charlie Francis (Kirk Acevedo, Oz) and Astrid Farnsworth (Jasika Nicole, Law & Order: Criminal Intent) will discover that what happened on Flight 627 is only a small piece of a larger, more shocking truth.

DO NOT DISTURB (working title)
This workplace comedy centers around the upstairs/downstairs dynamic at a hip New York City hotel. The hotel’s top-notch reputation is due in large part to Neal (Jerry O’Connell, Crossing Jordan) the egotistical, hyper-stylish, detail-oriented general manager, although The Inn’s charismatic owner R.J. (guest star Robert Wagner) takes all the credit. Rhonda (Niecy Nash, Reno 911!) is the head of Human Resources who does her best to keep the back of the house in line and the front of the house out of trouble. At the front desk handling check-in while wearing 6-inch Manolos is aging model Nicole (Molly Stanton, Twins). Fresh from Nebraska is Jason (Brando Eaton, Zoey 101), the naive bellman who would prefer to work behind the scenes, but was hired to show off his chiseled face and perfect pecs at the front of the hotel. The downstairs staff includes Molly (Jolene Purdy, Donnie Darko), a reservations clerk who dreams of pop-singer stardom as much as she craves to be part of the action upstairs; and Larry (Jesse Tyler Ferguson, The Class), the head of housekeeping who spends more time on the phone cleaning up his messes at home than he does cleaning up after the guests upstairs.

DOLLHOUSE
Joss Whedon, creator of groundbreaking cult favorites Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly, returns to television and reunites with fellow Buffy alumna Eliza Dushku for a thrilling new drama. Echo (Dushku) is an “Active,” a member of a highly illegal and underground group who have had their personalities wiped clean so they can be imprinted with any number of new personas. Confined to a secret facility known as the “Dollhouse,” Echo and the other Actives including Sierra (Dichen Lachman, Neighbours) and Victor (Enver Gjokaj, The Unit) carry out engagements assigned by Adelle (Olivia Williams, X-Men: The Last Stand, Rushmore), one of the Dollhouse leaders. The engagements cater to the wealthy, powerful and connected, and require the Actives to immerse themselves in all manner of scenarios romantic, criminal, uplifting, dangerous, comical and the occasional “pro bono” good deed. After each scenario, Echo, always under the watchful eye of her handler Boyd (Harry Lennix, Commander in Chief, 24), returns to the mysterious Dollhouse where her thoughts, feelings and experiences are erased by Topher (Fran Kranz, Welcome to the Captain), the Dollhouse’s genius programmer. Echo enters the next scenario with no memory of before. Or does she? As the series progresses, FBI Agent Paul Smith (Tahmoh Penikett, Battlestar Galactica) pieces together clues that lead him closer to the Dollhouse, while Echo stops forgetting, her memories begin to return and she slowly pieces together her mysterious past. Dollhouse revolves around Echo’s blossoming self-awareness and her desire to discover her true identity. But with each new engagement, comes a new memory and increased danger inside and outside the Dollhouse.

SECRET MILLIONAIRE
This unscripted series takes America’s wealthiest individuals away from their lavish lifestyles, sprawling mansions and private planes and places them undercover into some of the most impoverished neighborhoods in America. Shot under the guise of a documentary, the series reveals the dramatic personal return that millionaires will get when they leave their fortunes to invest in those less fortunate. Challenged with living on minimum wage, the millionaires will immerse themselves in situations beyond their comprehension. They will work side-by-side with community members and befriend those in need to decide who should ultimately receive their gifts of a lifetime. On the final day, the Secret Millionaires meet with the chosen recipients and reveal their true identity and intention: to give them at least $100,000.

THE CLEVELAND SHOW (working title)
Many years ago, Cleveland Brown (voiced by Mike Henry) was a high school student madly in love with a beautiful girl named Donna. Much to his dismay, his love went unrequited, and Donna wound up marrying another man. Cleveland once told Donna he would always love her, and if this man ever done her wrong, he’d be there when she called. Well, this man done her wrong. Donna’s husband skipped town with another woman, leaving Donna with a daughter and a baby. Now she’s come to Cleveland and offered him another chance at love. Unattached after the Loretta-Quagmire debacle and true to his word, Cleveland joyously accepts and he and Cleveland Jr. move to Stoolbend, VA, to join their new family. Once in Stoolbend, Cleveland has a few surprises in store for him, including a flirtatious new stepdaughter, a 5-year-old stepson who loves the ladies, as well as a collection of neighbors that includes a loudmouth redneck couple, a British family seemingly stuck in the Victorian era and a family of bears living at the end of the block.

SIT DOWN, SHUT UP (working title)
From Emmy Award-winning writer Mitchell Hurwitz (Arrested Development) and Eric and Kim Tannenbaum (Two and a Half Men) comes an animated comedy that focuses on the lives of eight staff members at a high school in a small northeastern fishing town (Go Baiters!) who never lose sight of the fact that the children must ALWAYS come second. We watch them grapple with their own egos, needs and personal agendas, their petty insecurities and prejudices, unrequited loves, and ruthless battles for power and that’s just at the staff meeting. Sue Sezno (Kenan Thompson, Saturday Night Live), a woman who frequently says “no,” is the acting principal of the school (the actual principal is recovering from a series of unfortunate accidents that might be seen as escape attempts). Then there’s Vice Principal Stuart Prozackian (Will Forte, Saturday Night Live) who has a terrifically positive and upbeat attitude… possibly from the performance-enhancing medication he’s been secretly put on by the other teachers. There is one educator who feels the focus should be on academics, but despite the old adage, at this school, those who can teach, teach gym and that’s where Larry Slimp (Jason Bateman, Juno, Arrested Development) has been exiled to. Immensely frustrated, Larry nurses a crush on science teacher Miracle GroheI (Maria Bamford, Stuart Little 2), a woman whose superficial grasp on science is balanced by her superficial grasp on spirituality. Rounding out the staff is the aging German teacher Willard Deutschebog (Henry Winkler, Arrested Development, Happy Days), a deeply defeated man whose yearbook quotation reads “If I believed in reincarnation, I’d kill myself tonight.” Uptight Helen Klench (Cheri Oteri, Saturday Night Live) is a librarian whose life’s work in research and archiving can now be surpassed by the average Google search from the average cell phone. Proud Andrew Sapien (Nick Kroll, Best Week Ever, Cavemen) is the flamboyant drama teacher. Ennis Hofftard (Will Arnett, Arrested Development) is a fellow teacher and a self-obsessed body builder who yearns to be thought of as a “cool dude” by his students. And finally there’s Happly (Tom Kenny, SpongeBob SquarePants), the plotting secretive custodian who’s assumed to be Hispanic despite the fact that his real name is Muhannad Sabeeh Fa’ach Nuaba. With a distinctive new look a combination of animation against a live-action backdrop Sit Down, Shut Up lampoons modern society while exposing the dreams, flaws and struggling humanity of our first and most formative authority figures: teachers.

Returning Fall 2008 or Midseason 2009

· 24
· AMERICAN DAD
· AMERICAN IDOL
· AMERICA’S MOST WANTED: AMERICA STRIKES BACK
· ARE YOU SMARTER THAN A FIFTH GRADER?
· BONES
· COPS
· DON’T FORGET THE LYRICS!
· FAMILY GUY
· HELL’S KITCHEN
· HOUSE
· KING OF THE HILL
· KITCHEN NIGHTMARES
· THE MOMENT OF TRUTH
· PRISON BREAK
· THE SIMPSONS
· TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES
· ‘TIL DEATH

Canceled Series

· BACK TO YOU
· CANTERBURY’S LAW
· K-VILLE
· NASHVILLE
· NEW AMSTERDAM
· THE NEXT GREAT AMERICAN BAND
· THE RETURN OF JEZEBEL JAMES
· UNHITCHED

24 Movie Set for Fall

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It turns out that 24 fans disappointed by the strike-related postponement of their favorite show will get Jack Bauer back a little sooner than they thought. Fox has announced plans for a a two-hour prequel to the upcoming seventh season.

The 24 movie, which will bridge the two-year gap between seasons, is set to air this fall, priming audiences for the show’s January return. According to The Hollywood Reporter, producers began securing the show’s core cast members for the film on Wednesday.

Squee! It’s…

Squee! It’s John Hawkes on a rerun of Without a Trace tonight! Hawkes is one of those delightful stories of a great character actor who you know you’ve seen before (in this case, in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The X Files, ER, The Practice, 24, Monk, Profit…) getting a couple of big breaks at the same time. There was never enough Sol and Trixie on Deadwood, and I could have watched 10 more hours of Me and You and Everyone We Know, but I guess we’ll have to settle for a Hawkes fix from Without a Trace.

Picking Up the Pieces: What’s Left of the TV Season?

Assuming the outcome of today’s WGA vote is positive, we’re only hours away from an end to the strike. So, in the immortal words of President Josiah Bartlet, “What’s next?”

A number of showrunners have already gone back work, making plans for the remainder of the season and scrambling to figure out how many episodes they can throw together. The networks, meanwhile, are making their own lists, deciding which shows will go on the block and which ones will live to fight another day. ABC got the ball rolling today, announcing nine pickups for next season, and the other networks are expected to follow suit in the coming days.

To try and help you make sense of all of this, I’ve scoured the trades and entertainment sites and come up with a (mostly) comprehensive list of what’s coming, what’s going, and what’s gotten stuck in limbo. Of course, a lot of this is still just speculation right now, and all of it is subject to change. But I’ll keep updating as new information becomes available, so check back for the latest–shows with new or updated information will be marked with an asterisk (*).

24 (FOX) – Jack Bauer’s seventh season has been completely torpedoed by the strike and will most likely be postponed until January 2009. Yeah, you read that right–2009.

* 30 ROCK (NBC) – Look for Liz Lemon and crew to return in on April 10. NBC is hoping to produce five additional episodes this season, depending on the availability of Alec Baldwin, who’s scheduled to start work on a feature film.

ALIENS IN AMERICA (CW) – Eight pre-strike episodes (bringing the season total to a respectable 18) will air starting March 2, but no more will be produced this season. The show is still considered to be in contention for renewal next season, though.

* ARMY WIVES (LIFETIME) – A mini-season is planned to air in June, with a full second season premiering in December.

* BACK TO YOU (FOX) – Will return Feb. 26 with three pre-strike episodes followed by eight additional episodes.

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (SCI FI) – Season four will debut April 2, with the first 11 of the show’s final 20 episodes already in the can. Production on the second half of the season may resume in March, but it’s unknown exactly when they’ll air.

* THE BIG BANG THEORY (CBS) – Will return on March 17 for the first of nine new episodes. Has also been picked up for the 2008-09 season.

BIG LOVE (HBO) – Production on season three begins in March, and the premiere date will most likely be pushed back to the end of the year.

BIG SHOTS (ABC) – It’s unlikely we’ll be subjected to any more episodes of this testosterone-laden flop. Hurrah!

BIONIC WOMAN (NBC) – Say goodbye to this expensive disappointment, which won’t resume production and won’t be back next year. RIP Jaime Sommers.

* BONES (FOX) – Will return with four pre-strike episodes on April 14, and may produce 2-6 additional episodes, although the airdate for those is still undetermined.

* BOSTON LEGAL (ABC) – Two pre-strike episodes remain and eight more are already slated for production. The series is expected be one of the first dramas to resume shooting post-strike and given Kelley’s notoriously quick turnaround time it looks like they might actually complete their entire 22-episode order. But the legal drama wasn’t included on ABC’s list of pickups for 2008-09, so this season may be the last.

BROTHERS & SISTERS (ABC) – One pre-strike episode remains and 4-5 more episodes are expected to be produced for airing in April and May. The series has also been picked up for the 2008-09 season.

BURN NOTICE (USA) – Production on season two is expected to start in late April, with new episodes airing this summer.

* CANE (CBS) – No new episodes will be produced this season and it wasn’t included on a recent list of pickups for 2008-09, so the future is looking dim for this stinky soap.

CANTERBURY’S LAW (FOX) – This Julianna Margulies vehicle from the producers of Rescue Me will premiere April 14 for a six-episode run.

* CHUCK (NBC) – The bad news is that the good folks at the Buy More won’t be back this season. The good news is that they will be back–NBC has ordered 13 episodes for 2008-09.

THE CLOSER (TNT) – Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson should return for her fourth season in June, about three weeks later than originally planned.

* COLD CASE (CBS) – Will return on March 30 with five new episodes. Has also been picked up for the 2008-09 season.

* CRIMINAL MINDS (CBS) – Will return on April 2 with seven new episodes. Has also been picked up for the 2008-09 season.

* CSI (CBS) – Will return on April 3 with six new episodes. Has also been picked up for the 2008-09 season.

* CSI: MIAMI (CBS) – Will return on March 24 with eight new episodes. Has also been picked up for the 2008-09 season.

* CSI: NEW YORK (CBS) – Will return on April 2 with seven new episodes. Has also been picked up for the 2008-09 season.

DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES (ABC) – Expected to return in April with 4-7 new episodes. The ladies of Wisteria Lane have also been picked up for a fifth season.

DIRT (FX) – Returns for a seven-episode sophomore season on March 2.

DIRTY SEXY MONEY (ABC) – Three pre-strike episodes have yet to air, but don’t expect to see them until the Darling family returns to ABC’s schedule next fall.

ENTOURAGE (HBO) – The new season has been pushed back to fall, rather than the summer return originally planned.

* E.R. (NBC) – Yes, this fossil will actually be coming back on April 10 with six new episodes. And the network is reportedly in negotiations to bring the dang thing back for yet another season. Will it ever die?

EVERYBODY HATES CHRIS (CW) – Will return March 2 with 12 pre-strike episodes to bring the season total to 22. Still in contention for renewal next season.

FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS (NBC) – Last week’s episode may very well be the last we’ll see of the mighty Dillon Panthers, as the forecast is grim for this critical darling (which has been on Ben Silverman’s hit list all season). Apparently clear eyes and full hearts can lose. No less than three different fan ventures have been launched in an attempt to save the show–one involves sending mini footballs to NBC, another is sending light bulbs, and a third group is sending Clear Eyes eye drops. So clever, those fans.

* THE GAME (CW) – Will return on March 23 with nine new episodes.

GIRLFRIENDS (CW) – This long-running series was expected to end after this season and it’s unlikely any new episodes will be produced, but the CW is reportedly working with the show’s producers to bring some closure with a retrospective or clip show of some kind.

* GHOST WHISPERER (CBS) – Will return on April 4 with six new episodes. Has also been picked up for the 2008-09 season.

* GOSSIP GIRL (CW) – Will return on April 21 with five new episodes. It’s also rumored the network may expand its order and bring the series back over the summer.

GREY’S ANATOMY (ABC) – Expected to return in April with 4-7 new episodes. And yes, the docs at Seattle Grace will be back for a fifth season.

HEROES (NBC) – Won’t be back until the series returns with 22+ episodes next season.

* HOUSE (FOX) – Our favorite cranky doc won’t be back until late April or early May, but Fox may extend the current season into summer. David Shore says the storyline originally planned for the second half of the season will most likely be thrown out altogether.

* HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER (CBS) – Will return on March 17 with nine new episodes. The comedy wasn’t included on a recent list of pickups for 2008-09, but sources say it still has a good chance of renewal.

JERICHO (CBS) – Returns tonight with the first of seven new episodes (and in case you’re looking to jump in, EW has a handy cheat sheet to catch you up). No more episodes are expected to be produced this season, and as for next season… well, I guess it depends on the ratings tonight.

LAS VEGAS (NBC) – Two pre-strike episodes remain, but no more are expected this season. The show’s fate next season is uncertain.

* LAW & ORDER (NBC) – Will be back on April 23 with seven pre-strike episodes. It’s unclear how many additional episodes will be produced this season.

* LAW & ORDER: SVU (NBC) – Will return on April 15 with 4-6 new episodes.

LIFE (NBC) – Won’t be back this season, NBC has ordered 13 episodes for 2008-09 and plans to give the struggling show a proper relaunch. Let’s hope people actually start watching.

LIFE IS WILD (CW) – I’ve never even heard of this show, but apparently it’s a moot point now, as it’s not expected to return. Ever.

* LOST (ABC) – Six pre-strike episodes remain and five more will be produced in order to finish out the fourth season properly. That’ll make for a 13-episode season–three short of the 16 originally planned. Carlton Cuse says he hopes to incorporate the three “missing” episodes further down the line somehow. He also predicts there will be a four-week gap between the airdate of the last pre-strike episode and the first post-strike episode, rather than the uninterrupted season they were hoping for.

* MEDIUM (NBC) – Six pre-strike episodes remain in its current run and seven more are expected to be produced this season.

MEN IN TREES (ABC) – Will return Feb. 27 with 11 pre-strike episodes, but the series was not among ABC’s pickups for next season.

* MOONLIGHT (CBS) – Will return on April 11 with four new episodes. The vampire drama wasn’t included on a recent list of pickups for 2008-09 so its future is still up in the air.

* MY NAME IS EARL (NBC) – Earl Hickey will be back on April 3 with an hour-long episode, the first of 8-9 new episodes to be produced.

* NCIS (CBS) – Will return on April 7 with seven new episodes. Has also been picked up for the 2008-09 season.

* THE NEW ADVENTURES OF OLD CHRISTINE (CBS) – Six pre-strike episodes remain, but CBS is reportedly waiting to see how it performs before deciding whether to produce any more. The comedy also was left off a recent list of pickups for 2008-09, casting more doubt on its future.

NEW AMSTERDAM (NBC) – This mid-season drama will premiere March 4 for an 8-episode run.

NIP/TUCK (FX) – Will complete its fifth season on Feb. 19. Production is expected to resume on season six this summer.

* NUMB3RS (CBS) – Will return on April 4 with six new episodes. Has also been picked up for the 2008-09 season.

OCTOBER ROAD (ABC) – Four pre-strike episodes remain, but the series was not among ABC’s pickups for next season.

* THE OFFICE (NBC) – Expect to see our favorite Dunder Mifflin employees back at work on April 10. Greg Daniels has confirmed that they’ll be producing six new episodes, though they “might be able to squeeze in seven if NBC asks for them.” The first episode will be “The Dinner Party,” a script that was about to start shooting when the strike interrupted production. Another pre-strike script, this one for the annual Christmas episode, will likely be tossed. The writing team is meeting this week to decide how to advance the show’s storylines, but Daniels says he’s “tempted to just leap ahead to where we would have been.” What I want to know is how they’re going to deal with Angela Kinsey’s baby belly.

* ONE TREE HILL (CW) – Six pre-strike episodes remain and six more will be produced this season.

PRISON BREAK (FOX) – About to complete its scheduled 13-episode season. The future of the series beyond that is unknown.

* PRIVATE PRACTICE (ABC) – Won’t be back this season, but has been given a 13-episode order for 2008-09.

PUSHING DAISIES (ABC) – Won’t return until the fall. But we can rest easy in the knowledge that our favorite piemaker will definitely be back.

QUARTERLIFE (NBC) – Will premiere Feb. 26 for a 6-episode run.

* REAPER (CW) – Will return March 13 with three pre-strike episodes, and five more have been ordered for this season.

* THE RETURN OF JEZEBEL JAMES (FOX) – Instead of the previously planned post-Idol preview on March 12, the mid-season comedy will debut with a one-hour premiere on March 14.

THE RICHES (FX) – Season two, which has been downsized from 13 to seven episodes, will premiere March 18.

* THE RULES OF ENGAGEMENT (CBS) – Expected to return on April 14 with six new episodes. The comedy wasn’t included on a recent list of pickups for 2008-09 so its future is still up in the air.

SAMANTHA WHO? (ABC) – Three pre-strike episodes remain and are expected to air in the spring, along with several new episodes, in the post-Dancing with the Stars time slot. The series has also been picked up for 2008-09.

* SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE (NBC) – Will be back on the air Feb. 23 with host Tina Fey. SNL plans to push out four straight weeks of shows (Juno‘s Ellen Page has committed to host on March 1), a tall order for the live series, which rarely goes more than three weeks in row without a break. NBC is keen to catch up on all the ripe political fodder that’s gone un-lampooned during the strike. Maybe now we’ll all finally be able to stop watching that Sarah Silverman/Matt Damon video.

* SAVING GRACE (TNT) – The series is expected to return in June, about three weeks later than originally planned.

* SCRUBS (NBC) – The docs at Sacred Heart will be back on April 10 with four pre-strike episodes. The real question is whether NBC will let Bill Lawrence make the 3-5 additional episodes he needs to give the series a proper send off in its last season. If not, there’s a chance that ABC/Disney will let him produce them for the DVDs. We’re keeping our fingers crossed.

* SHARK (CBS) – Things are looking up for this series–CBS has ordered four more episodes this season, which may bode well for its chances for renewal.

* SMALLVILLE (CW) – Four pre-strike episodes remain and five more have been ordered for this season.

* SUPERNATURAL (CW) – Two pre-strike episodes remain and four more have been ordered for this season.

SWINGTOWN (CBS) – Only a couple of episodes of this mid-season drama have been produced and CBS is still deciding what to do with it.

TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES (FOX) – Four pre-strike episodes remain. What happens after that is still up in the air.

* TWO AND A HALF MEN (CBS) – Will return on March 17 with nine new episodes. Has also been picked up for the 2008-09 season.

UGLY BETTY (ABC) – Expected to return in April with 4-7 new episodes. Has also been picked up for the 2008-09 season.

* THE UNIT (CBS) – No new episodes are slated to be produced this season and it wasn’t included on a recent list of pickups for 2008-09, so its future chances are looking thin.

* WITHOUT A TRACE (CBS) – Will return on April 3 with six new episodes. Has also been picked up for the 2008-09 season.

WOMEN’S MURDER CLUB (ABC) – It’s looking like it may be the axe for this newcomer.