Friday: New + Returning Shows |


Friday: New + Returning Shows

MasterChef Junior
Season 2 / 8 P.M. / Fox
”It’s like Christmas Day all over again,” says Gordon Ramsay of his first day back on Fox’s sleeper hit, on which 8-to 13-year-old tykes whip up high-end dishes. In fact, the head judge is so enamored with this year’s kids — who come from more diverse cooking backgrounds than last year — that Ramsay sticks around long after filming to answer questions. ”I go into that headmaster role because I want them to be good, and I want them to know I’m there, with or without the camera,” he says. Exec producer Robin Ashbrook promises Junior’s second season will boast harder challenges, younger contestants, and even a lesson in manners from Ramsay’s mother. ”When she steps on set,” says Ramsay, ”it’s like Mary Poppins. Times 10.” Nov. 7

Hawaii Five-0
Season 5 / 9 P.M. / CBS
The hit procedural is commemorating its 100th episode with a special story line that exec producer Peter Lenkov calls ”The Wizard of Oz meets Sliding Doors meets Hawaii Five-0.” ”It’s a thinking man’s episode,” says star Alex O’Loughlin. ”It’s one that fans of the show will really enjoy and be rewarded by.” Season 5 will also feature a visit from music legend Frankie Valli alongside Carol Burnett, who returns as McGarrett’s aunt. Sept. 26

New Drama / 10 P.M. / NBC
As far as comic-book superheroes go, John Constantine is a big faker. He doesn’t have real superpowers, a gaudy costume, or a secret identity, and he’s not even a terribly good person — but that’s what makes him stand out. ”Even in the comic-book world he’s sort of this offshoot figure,” says exec producer Daniel Cerone, who cast Welsh stage actor Matt Ryan as the sarcastic street magician, who bears no resemblance whatsoever to the 2005 film version played by Keanu Reeves. Expect this Constantine to use his wit and occult knowledge to fight evil while trying to find a loophole in his impending sentence to hell. ”You get to play someone who is tormented and tortured but has this dry, cynical wit to him,” Ryan says. ”He’s got so much going on underneath” — and none of it includes spandex. Oct. 24

What’s Next For…
The Amazing Race
Season 25 / 8 P.M. / CBS
Race is returning to its roots for its 25th go-round: New York City. When the show originally kicked off in Central Park, ”nobody knew what the hell we were doing,” says host Phil Keoghan. This time around, contestants travel to locations such as St. Thomas and Malta. While they’re still keeping challenges close to the vest, co-creator Bertram van Munster lets one micro-spoiler slip: ”We have a little stunt in Singapore that is quite extraordinary.” Sept. 26

Last Man Standing
Season 4 / 8 P.M. / ABC
Don’t expect conservative patriarch Mike Baxter (Tim Allen) to suddenly evolve. ”He just keeps banging away at modern culture and politics and society,” says exec producer Tim Doyle. But with daughter Kristin (Amanda Fuller) newly engaged, change seems inevitable for the Baxters. Or does it? ”We may or may not see a wedding,” hints Doyle. Oct. 3

Blue Bloods
Season 5 / 10 P.M. / CBS
Bloods shakes things up for the Reagans with an interim DA (Holt McCallany) who’s previously shown a romantic interest in ADA Erin (Bridget Moynahan). There’s also a new boss in town. ”So Danny Reagan [Donnie Wahlberg], white Irish rogue cop, is going to have a formidable black woman [LaTanya Richardson Jackson] as a boss,” exec producer Kevin Wade says. ”I put the two of them in a room and I can write it all day.” Sept. 26