Winter TV Premieres: The Welcome Back Kids

Matt LeBlanc, Courteney Cox, and Matthew Perry (Showtime/ABC)

Matt LeBlanc, Courteney Cox, and Matthew Perry (Showtime/ABC)

The winter television season signifies a time of change. Some fall favorites will have disappeared (“The Good Guys,” “Undercovers“), others will have changed time slots (“Fringe,” “30 Rock,” “Blue Bloods“), still others are coming back after way too much time off (“Parks & Recreation,” for instance), and then there are the new shows.

Midseason is always a time to replace clinkers and launch ones that didn’t get the go-ahead in September. This year, with a former “Idol,” two “Friends,” a familiar “Bachelor,” and others returning to prime-time, we’re dubbing the latest crop of shows the welcome back kids. Allow us to illustrate further:

1. Both Matt Le Blanc and Matthew Perry make their debuts on new comedies, “Episodes” (Jan 9.) and “Mr. Sunshine” (Feb 9.),  respectively, while Courteney Cox’s “Cougar Town” returns Jan. 5.

2. “Bachelor” Brad Womack gets a second shot at love on the show’s Jan. 3 premiere.

3.The Amazing Race” ushers in its 18th season, dubbed “Unfinished Business,” with its first ever fan favorites all-stars cast on Feb. 20.

4. Rob Lowe, left for dead on “Brothers & Sisters,” is back – goat beard and all – with a guest role on “Californication” (Jan. 9).

5. Former “American Idol” judge Paula Abdul will turn from singing to dancing with her competition series “Live to Dance,” premiering Jan 4.

6. The funniest – and only – man to host the Golden Globes returns to his post for a second consecutive year (Jan 16.).

7. After a tumultuous 2nd season in Miami, the cast of “Jersey Shore” returns to their Seaside Heights, N.J. roots for what’s already shaping up to be another tumultuous season.

8. Veteran producer David E. Kelly (“Boston Legal,” “The Practice“) steps back into the spotlight with his new legal procedural “Harry’s Law.”

Notice a pattern? But this season isn’t just about the welcome back kids. There’s a slew of other shows premiering with a new crop of fresh faces. There’s also big events like the Golden Globes, the Grammys, and the Super Bowl to keep your DVR humming. To help you keep track of everything, we’ve created a handy list of premiere dates  (below). Print it out or set a DVR recording right now by clicking here. And remember: Most shows are available the next day on

Saturday, January 1
Noon/11c “OWN Special: Oprah Presents OWN,” OWN [one-hour special presentation]
9/8c “Primeval,” BBC America

Sunday, January 2
9/8c “Desperate Housewives,” ABC
10/9c “Brothers & Sisters,” ABC

Monday, January 3
8/7c “The Bachelor,” ABC — WATCH A SNEAK PEEK
8/7c “How I Met Your Mother,” CBS
8/7c “Pretty Little Liars,” ABC Family
9/8c “Greek,” ABC Family
9/8c “Two and a Half Men,” CBS
9:30/8:30c “Mike & Molly,” CBS
10/9c “Castle,” ABC
10/9c “Hawaii Five-0,” CBS

Tuesday, January 4
8/7c “The Biggest Loser: Couples,” NBC
8/7c “No Ordinary Family,” ABC [new timeslot]
10/9c “Detroit 1-8-7,” ABC
10/9c “Parenthood,” NBC
10/9c “Southland,” TNT

Wednesday, January 5
8/7c “Paula Abdul’s Live to Dance,” CBS [new time slot premiere]
8/7c “The Middle,” ABC
8:30/7:30c “Better With You,” ABC
9/8c “37th Annual People’s Choice Awards,” CBS [two-hour special presentation]
9/8c “Friday Night Lights,” DirecTV 101
9/8c “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” NBC
9/8c “Modern Family,” ABC
9:30/8:30c “Cougar Town,” ABC

Thursday, January 6
8/7c “The Big Bang Theory,” CBS
8/7c “Wipeout,” ABC
8:30/7:30c “$#*! My Dad Says,” CBS [ends its run Feb. 24]
9/8c “CSI,” CBS
9/8c “Grey’s Anatomy,” ABC
10/9c “Ace of Cakes,” Food Network
10/9c “Jersey Shore,” MTV
10/9c “The Mentalist,” CBS
10/9c “Private Practice,” ABC

Friday, January 7
9/8c “CSI: NY,” CBS
10/9c “Blue Bloods,” CBS
10/9c “Merlin,” SyFy

Sunday, January 9
8/7c “The Simpsons,” Fox
8:30/7:30c “Bobs Burgers,” Fox [new series]
9/8c “Californication,” Showtime — WATCH A SNEAK PEEK
9/8c “The Cape,” NBC [new series; two-hour premiere – special night — WATCH A SNEAK PEEK]
9/8c “Family Guy,” Fox
9:30/8:30c “The Cleveland Show,” Fox [new time slot]
9:30/8:30c “Episodes,” Showtime [new series WATCH A SNEAK PEEK]
10/9c “Shameless,” Showtime [new series]

Monday, January 10
8/7c “Lie to Me,” Fox [back-to-back new episodes – special time]

Tuesday, January 11
8/7c “NCIS,” CBS
9/8c “NCIS: Los Angeles,” CBS
10/9c “The Good Wife,” CBS
10/9c “Lights Out,” FX [new seriesGO BEHIND THE SCENES]
10/9c “Teen Mom 2,” MTV
10/9c “Tosh.0,” Comedy Central

Wednesday, January 12
8/7c “Human Target,” Fox [back-to-back new episodes]
9/8c “Chase,” NBC [new time slot premiere]
9/8c “Criminal Minds,” CBS
10/9c “Off the Map,” ABC [new series WATCH A SNEAK PEEK]

Friday, January 14
9/8c “The Ricky Gervais Show,” HBO
10/9c “Real Time with Bill Maher,” HBO

Saturday, January 15
9/8c “The Miss America Pageant,” ABC [two-hour special presentation]

Sunday, January 16
7:30/6:30c “American Dad,” Fox [new time slot]
8/7c “The 68th Annual Golden Globe Awards,” NBC [three-hour special presentation]
9/8c “Big Love,” HBO

Monday, January 17
8/7c “Chuck,” NBC
8/7c “House,” Fox
9/8c “Being Human,” SyFy [new series]
9/8c “The Cape,” NBC [time slot premiere]
10/9c “Harry’s Law,” NBC [new series WATCH A SNEAK PEEK]
10/9c “Heavy,” A&E [new series]
10/9c “Skins,” MTV [new series]

Tuesday, January 18
10/9c “White Collar,” USA

Wednesday, January 19
8/7c “American Idol,” Fox [two-hour premiere]
8/7c “Paula Abdul’s Live to Dance,” CBS [new series: two-hour premiere]
10/9c “Hot in Cleveland,” TV Land
10/9c “Blue Bloods,” CBS [new time slot — will air in this upgraded slot for one month as a “trial”)

Thursday, January 20
8/7c “American Idol,” Fox [Thursday premiere]
8/7c “Community,” NBC
8:30/7:30c “Perfect Couples,” NBC [new seriesWATCH A SNEAK PEEK]
9/8c “Bones,” Fox [new time slot]
9/8c “The Office,” NBC
9/8c “Royal Pains,” USA
9:30/8:30c “Parks & Recreation,” NBC
10/9c “30 Rock,” NBC [new time slot]
10/9c “Fairly Legal,” USA [new series; 75-minute premiere]
10:30/9:30c “Outsourced,” NBC [new time slot]

Friday, January 21
8/7c “Kitchen Nightmares,” Fox
9/8c “Fringe,” Fox [new time slot]
10/9c “Onion News Network,” IFC [new series]
10/9c “Spartacus: Gods of the Arena,” Starz [new series]
10:30/9:30c “Portlandia,” IFC [new series]

Sunday, January 23
10/9c “Kourtney & Kim Take New York,” E! [new series]
10:30/9:30c “Holly’s World,” E!

Monday, January 24
8/7c “90210,” The CW
9/8c “Gossip Girl,” The CW

Tuesday, January 25
8/7c “One Tree Hill,” The CW
9/8c “Hellcats,” The CW [new time slot]
9/8c “Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best?,” WE [new series]

Wednesday, January 26
9/8c “Human Target,” Fox [new time slot]

Thursday, January 27
8/7c “The Vampire Diaries,” The CW — WATCH AN EXTENDED PREVIEW
9/8c “Nikita,” The CW
10/9c “Archer,” FX

Friday, January 28
8/7c “Smallville,” The CW
9/8c “Supernatural,” The CW

Sunday, January 30
8/7c “17th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards,” TNT [two-hour special presentation]

Tuesday, February 1
10/9c “Million Dollar Listing,” Bravo

Friday, February 4
8/7c “Who Do You Think You Are?,” NBC
8/7c “The Defenders,” CBS [new time slot]

Sunday, February 6
6/5c Super Bowl XLV, Fox
10:30/9:30c “Glee,” Fox [Super Bowl episode – special night & time]

Monday, February 7
10/9c “The Chicago Code,” Fox [new seriesWATCH A SNEAK PEEK]

Tuesday, February 8
9/8c “Raising Hope,” Fox
9:30/8:30c “Traffic Light,” Fox [new series]
10/9c “Law & Order: Los Angeles,” NBC

Wednesday, February 9
9:30/8:30c “Mr. Sunshine,” ABC [new seriesWATCH A SNEAK PEEK]
10/9c “Justified,” FX

Sunday, February 13
8/7c The 53rd Annual Grammy Awards, CBS

Wednesday, February 16
8/7c “American Idol,” Fox [two-hour episodes begin]
8/7c “Survivor: Redemption Island,” CBS
10/9c “Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior,” CBS [new series]

Sunday, February 20
8/7c “The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business,” CBS

Monday, February 21
8:30/7:30c “Mad Love,” CBS [new series]

Wednesday, February 23
8/7c “America’s Next Top Model,” The CW

Thursday, February 24
8:30/7:30c “Rules of Engagement,” CBC [new time slot]

Sunday, February 27
8:30/7:30c The 83rd Annual Academy Awards, ABC [three-hour special presentation]

Monday, February 28
9/8c “The Event,” NBC

Sunday, March 6
8/7c “The Marriage Ref,” NBC
9/8c “Celebrity Apprentice,” NBC

Monday, March 7
10/9c “Parenthood,” NBC [new time slot]

Monday, March 21
8/7c “Dancing With The Stars,” ABC

Tuesday, March 29
10/9c “Body of Proof,” ABC [new series]

Friday, April 1
8/7c “Chaos,” CBS [new series]

Wednesday, April 6
9/8c “Breaking In,” Fox [new series]

Wednesday, April 13
10/9c “Happy Endings,” ABC [new seriesWATCH A SNEAK PEEK]

Which new and returning shows are you looking forward to?

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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