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Broadcast Season Gets Rolling

Quantum Leap on NBC
(Image credit: NBC)

The traditional TV season begins September 19, with the broadcast networks launching a wide variety of programs. That includes Quantum Leap on NBC and The Cleaning Lady on Fox, and sees Dancing with the Stars make its debut on Disney Plus after 30 seasons on ABC. 

The concept of the TV season may seem antediluvian, with every network, cable and streaming ones in particular, launching new shows and fresh seasons all year round. But mid and late September still sees a large group of series make their season starts. 

ABC has football Monday, September 19, with the Vikings facing off against the Eagles. ESPN has Titans-Bills for its Monday Night Football premiere. ABC and ESPN are both owned by Disney, and the two games September 19 replace the annual NFL doubleheader that ESPN used to show. 

Dancing with the Stars may be on a new network, but retains the 8 p.m. slot from its broadcast days. Charli D'Amelio and Sam Champion are cast members. 

CBS has the premieres of season five of The Neighborhood and season four of Bob Hearts Abishola September 19, then the starters for season 20 of NCIS and season two of NCIS: Hawai’i

Fox has the openers for season six of 9-1-1 and season two of The Cleaning Lady. (Drama Monarch premiered earlier, on September 11.)

On NBC, it’s season 22 of The Voice at 8 p.m. on Monday, with Camilla Cabello and Gwen Stefani joining John Legend and Blake Shelton as coaches, and Quantum Leap at 10. Quantum Leap aired on NBC from 1989 to 1993, with Scott Bakula starring. The new series has Raymond Lee as Dr. Ben Seong.  

September 20 has a bunch of its own premieres, including season six of The Resident on Fox and the FBI block on CBS. On September 21, it's season eight of The Masked Singer and season three of Lego Masters on Fox, season 43 of Survivor on CBS and new seasons of rookie smash Abbott Elementary on ABC, along with season three of drama Big Sky. The latter has a new name, in Big Sky: Deadly Trails, and a new cast member, in Reba McEntire. 

Showrunner/executive producer Elwood Reid shared a bit about the new approach to Big Sky during a TCA session. “The challenge that I got from the network this year was, could we tell an enclosed mystery story along with our longer arced out story of the season. And being a grumpy writer, my first response was hell, no,” he said. “And then I had a moment at night and I was like, yeah, maybe there's a way to do it.”

Reid saw creative opportunities, he said, with more serialized storytelling. 

Other fall premieres on broadcast include a Law & Order crossover on NBC September 22, which sees the three L&O shows mix casts and plotlines, spinoff The Rookie: Feds, with Niecy Nash, on ABC September 27, and CBS drama So Help Me Todd on September 29. The latter has Marcia Gay Harden as a tough attorney and Skylar Astin has her aimless son who is hired to be the law firm’s in-house investigator. ■

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.