September 05, 2012 12:30pm PT by Philiana Ng , Lesley Goldberg , Michael O'Connell
Fall TV: Matthew Perry, ABC's 'TGIF' Block and the Season's 5 Biggest Comebacks
Comebacks are the name of the game every television season – and this year is no different, from the high-profile (The X Factor’s Britney Spears) to the retro (ABC’s “TGIF” comedy block).
The Hollywood Reporter looks at the five biggest comebacks the networks are banking on this upcoming television season.
Britney Spears: Fox is taking a huge gamble with the inclusion of Spears on The X Factor, but if it all pans out, it could be the definition of “high risk and high reward.” Spears, who has never toplined a high-profile TV series like X Factor, and hit her heyday in the ‘90s/early ‘00s; it remains to be seen whether her pull -- however enticing – will translate into bigger viewership than season one, which featured a judging panel of Nicole Scherzinger, Simon Cowell, L.A. Reid and Paula Abdul. If Spears’ gig does prove fruitful, there is little doubt her career will be reinvigorated. (Premieres Sept. 12)
Matthew Perry: A year after ABC's short-lived Mr. Sunshine, Perry is back on the network that helped launch his career, reteaming with Friends and Joey scribe Scott Silveri on NBC's Go On. Perry plays a sports radio talk show host who turns to a support group to grapple with the death of his wife. After 10 seasons on Friends, Perry hasn't been able to catch lightning in the bottle a second time, with both Sunshine and Aaron Sorkin's Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip failing to earn second seasons. Audiences sampling Go On following the Olympics last month seemed to accept the broad comedy, with more than 16 million tuning in. (Premieres Sept. 11)
Hayden Panettiere: Returning to series work more than two years after NBC's Heroes, Panettiere plays a rising country star in ABC's soapy musical Nashville. After turns as Amanda Knox in Lifetime's TV movie based on the true crime story and as the bitch in Scream 4, she holds her own as a bitchy starlet opposite Connie Britton. Plus she puts her musical skills to good use and, like Britton and a throng of her Nashville co-stars, she performs all her own songs. (Premieres Oct. 10)
“TGIF” comedy revival: Though wacky '90s fonts and Bronson Pinchot won't likely be coming along, ABC's long-dead branded block of Friday night programming stages a return this fall. Anchored by Tim Allen’s Last Man Standing and Reba McEntire’s Malibu Country, network topper Paul Lee says he plans to reinvigorate the stagnant night with comedies and ratings standby Shark Tank. “I think its time for Friday night to be a destination again for broad family comedy," he said at the time of the decision. NBC has its own Friday comedy plan with Community and Whitney. (Premieres Nov. 2)
Will & Grace showrunners: The dynamic duo, David Kohan and Max Mutchnick, behind Will & Grace have never matched the success of their 1998-2006 NBC comedy, but they might approach it with the tonally similar Partners. The story of two best friends (Michael Urie and David Krumholtz), one gay and one straight, it's semi-autobiographical and follows on the heels of the Emmy winners' flops Four Kings and $#*! My Dad Says. (Premieres Sept. 24)