THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 27 | A big night of returning series includes UGLY BETTY (ABC, 8 pm), GREY’S ANATOMY (ABC, 9 pm), THE OFFICE (NBC, 9 pm), CSI (CBS, 9 pm), ER (NBC, 10 pm), and WITHOUT A TRACE (CBS, 10 pm). The new drama BIG SHOTS (ABC, 10 pm) stars Dylan McDermott, Michael Vartan, Joshua Malina, and Christopher Titus as four New Yorkers who are successes in business and losers in love.
FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 28 | STARGATE ATLANTIS (SciFi, 10 pm) launches Season 4.
SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 30 | It’s back to work for DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES (ABC, 9 pm), with Dana Delany and Nathan Fillion joining the cast. Also returning: DEXTER (Showtime, 9 pm), BROTHERHOOD (Showtime, 10 pm), and BROTHERS AND SISTERS (ABC, 10 pm).
MONDAY OCTOBER 1 | In ALIENS IN AMERICA (CW, 8:30 pm), a Wisconsin family’s foreign exchange student turns out to be a Pakistani Muslim; hilarity ensues.
TUESDAY OCTOBER 2 | The Geico pitchsters get their own sit-com, CAVEMEN (ABC, 8 pm). But the fairy-tale noir PUSHING DAISIES (ABC, 8 pm) is the show to watch this fall. Lee Pace (Wonderfalls) plays a young piemaker/private eye who can return the dead to life with his touch. Bryan Fuller (Wonderfalls, Heroes) is one of the executive producers. Jerry O’Connell heads the ensemble cast in the comedy CARPOOLERS (ABC, 8:30 pm). SOUTH PARK (Comedy Central, 10 pm) and THE SARAH SILVERMAN PROGRAM (Comedy Central, 10:30 pm) return.
THURSDAY OCTOBER 4 | It’s Thursday night and Jerry Seinfeld is on NBC. No, it’s not a time warp, it’s the season premiere of 30 ROCK (NBC, 8 pm), with Seinfeld guesting as himself.
FRIDAY OCTOBER 5 | FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS (NBC, 9 pm) suits up for its sophomore season.
FRIDAY OCTOBER 12 | James Patterson’s mystery novels get the TV treatment in THE WOMEN’S MURDER CLUB (ABC, 9 pm); Angie Harmon stars as a San Francisco homicide detective.
MONDAY OCTOBER 15 | The sit-com SAMANTHA WHO? (ABC, 9:30 pm) stars Christina Applegate as — wait for it — an amnesiac.
THURSDAY OCTOBER 18 | VIVA LAUGHLIN (CBS, 10 pm), where characters burst into song (singing along to well-known pop recordings) at key moments, has a preview; it settles into its regular time at 8 pm on Sunday October 21.
THURSDAY OCTOBER 25 | SCRUBS (NBC, 9:30 pm) checks in for another season.
TUESDAY NOVEMBER 27 | Lucy Liu, Miranda Otto, Frances O’Connor, and Bonnie Somerville are the CASHMERE MAFIA (ABC, 10 pm), “four ambitious, sexy women who have been best friends since business school . . . trying to have it all.” Perhaps we should introduce them to the Big Shots.