If the new fall lineup is losing its luster for you fickle TV fans, take heart: Celebs will drop in for short-term visits during November sweeps. Here’s our roundup of who’ll pop up where.
SHOW ”Smallville” (The WB, Wednesdays at 8 p.m.)
WHEN Oct. 29
AS Perry White, the infamous editor of The Daily Planet
WHY WE CARE McKean (pictured with Tom Welling) blew us away in ”A Mighty Wind” and ”Spinal Tap,” so we expect no less than genius from him as the Planet’s hot-tempered, hard-headed editor. Plus, we can’t resist the cute factor: McKean’s real-life wife, Annette O’Toole, plays Clark Kent’s mom on the show.
SHOW ”ER” (NBC, Thursdays at 10 p.m.)
WHEN Oct. 30 (three episodes)
AS An architect suffering from macular degeneration who finds a connection with Dr. Susan Lewis (Sherry Stringfield)
WHY WE CARE Beneath that deadpan wit lurks the soul of a heartbreaking dramatic actor just dying to get out. If ”Lost in Translation” star Bill Murray can do it, so can Newhart.
SHOW ”Will & Grace” (NBC, Thursdays at 9 p.m.)
WHEN Nov. 6 (three episodes)
AS A handsome stranger who meets Will (Eric McCormack, left) in a park while each man is taking his wheelchair-bound mother for a stroll
WHY WE CARE Will has been in dire need of a boyfriend for years. And now we know he’s just been holding out for someone really, really hot.
SHOW ”Boston Public” (Fox, Fridays at 9 p.m.)
WHEN Oct. 31 (in his second of a five-episode arc)
AS A money-grubbing investment banker who, convicted of securities fraud, sidesteps jail by agreeing to teach math at an inner-city school
WHY WE CARE Dennis Miller (right, with Victor McCay) is to teaching as Colin Farrell is to babysitting. If executive producer David E. Kelley lets this guy ad-lib, the students won’t know what hit them.
SHOW The Lyon’s Den (NBC, Sundays at 10 p.m.)
WHEN Nov. 2
AS A Department of Justice lawyer who faces off against her former fiancé, Jack Turner (Rob Lowe) in court
WHY WE CARE Did you see ”Ride With the Devil”? Neither did we. But if she can go toe-to-toe with Tobey Maguire, she can handle these legal eagles.
SHOW ”King of the Hill” (Fox, Sundays at 7:30 p.m.)
WHEN Nov. 2
AS Unintelligible Boomhauer’s equally incomprehensible brother Patch, who shows up with his latest girlfriend (voiced by Laura Dern). The catch? She’s Boomhauer’s ex.
WHY WE CARE Pitt mastered bizarro gypsy muttering in ”Snatch”; he’s a natural for playing Boomhauer’s mush-mouthed sib. And when these two face off, we’ll understand… absolutely nothing.
James Earl Jones and Beau Bridges
SHOW ”Everwood” (The WB, Mondays at 9 p.m.)
WHEN Nov. 3
AS Coal miners trapped in a mine who must rely on Dr. Brown (Treat Williams) and his fellow doctors to keep them alive
WHY WE CARE As Darth Vader, Jones (right, with Gregory Smith) wowed us with his rumbling baritone, but the idea of hearing that big bad voice echo off the walls of a mine really generates goosebumps.
SHOW ”Gilmore Girls” (The WB, Tuesdays at 8 p.m.)
WHEN Nov. 4
AS Gil, a musician Lane Kim (Keiko Agena) discovers while looking to replace her band’s guitarist. Lane’s thrilled when she hears Gil’s killer demo tape, but freaked out to learn he’s an ”old” guy in his 30s.
WHY WE CARE Seeing Skid Row’s golden god of early-’90s hair metal cast as a talented geezer makes us want to hide in a corner and check for liver spots, but we’re dying to hear him rock out old-school again.
SHOW ”Scrubs” (NBC, Thursdays at 8:30 p.m.)
WHEN Nov. 13 (four episodes)
AS Danni, the kid sister of Jordan (Christa Miller). Expect the hospital to catch a wave of love sickness when she gets romantically entangled with series star J.D. (Zach Braff, pictured with Reid).
WHY WE CARE We’ve seen more of Reid on the party circuit than we have in theaters lately, so it’s nice to get a reminder about what she does for a living.
SHOW ”Yes, Dear” (CBS, Mondays at 8 p.m.)
WHEN Nov. 17
AS Himself. Researching a part as a security guard, he calls on Jimmy (Mike O’Malley, left) for help.
WHY WE CARE Hey, it’s Walker, the original Texas ranger! We can only hope he puts O’Malley into an episode-long choke hold.
SHOW ”That ’70s Show” (Fox, Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m.)
WHEN Nov. 19 (recurring)
AS Brook, the high school valedictorian and dream girl who hooks up with Kelso (Ashton Kutcher)
WHY WE CARE She may be a nice girl this time around, but in our hearts she’ll always be naughty Nadia from ”American Pie.”
SHOW ”Arrested Development” (Fox, premieres Sun., Nov. 2 at 9:30 p.m.)
WHEN Nov. 23 (four episodes)
AS The recently widowed high-society nemesis of Michael’s mother, Lucille (Jessica Walter, left). The catfighting probably won’t out-scratch ”Dynasty” divas Alexis and Krystle, but it’ll come close.
WHY WE CARE We mocked her creepy union with David Gest, but their brutal divorce made us feel guilty. The least we can do is watch her doing what she does best: scenery-chewing.
SHOW ”Two and a Half Men” (CBS, Mondays at 9:30 p.m.)
WHEN Nov. 24
AS The on-again, off-again girlfriend of Charlie (Richards’ real-life husband, Charlie Sheen)
WHY WE CARE If Sheen can make sparks fly with his famously wooden wife, we’ll know he’s not only a great actor, but has fearsome magic powers to boot.
SHOW ”Curb Your Enthusiasm” (HBO, Sundays at 9:30 pm, premieres Jan. 2004 — no, not this fall, but who cares? We can’t wait!)
WHEN March (one episode)
AS Himself, in the fourth-season finale, which will center around Larry David making his Broadway debut
WHY WE CARE Seinfeld pairing up with David is as close as we’ll get to seeing Jerry and George back in action. We’ll take it.