Arts & Entertainment

What's new with the old shows

Desperate Housewives will be jumping way into the future, while CSI and NCIS will face a future without some familiar faces.

These are some of the changes afoot on TV's most popular scripted programs when the new TV season kicks off later this month.

Here's what we know (from our usual wire and Web sources) about some of the most popular nonreality series on TV. If you despise even the mildest spoilers to your stories, stop reading now.

'Desperate Housewives'

Last season, Wisteria Lane was the hottest address in prime time again as the mom-edy had its best stories, and ratings, since its rookie year. Not content to rest on his laurels, producer Marc Cherry is fast-forwarding the action five years, and the housewives will be transformed into 40-somethings. But they’ll still be impossibly gorgeous. Premieres Sept. 28 on ABC.

'CSI'

TV's biggest crime drama will lose its founding father, as co-star William Petersen plans to take the money and run. That makes him the third cast member (besides Gary Dourdan and Jorja Fox) to ankle CSI in the past year. Laurence Fishburne will join the force after Grissom rolls off, right around November sweeps. The season premiere, Oct. 9 on CBS, may be the last time you’ll see Gil, Warrick and Sara together on CSI.

'House'

After spending most of the season finale in a dreamscape, Dr. House (Hugh Laurie) awakened to find his best friend's girl dead and a lot of 'splainin' to do to Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard). I dunno; sometimes there seems like too much excitement on this show. Just once, wouldn't you like it if House said to Wilson, "That last case just wore me out. I'm going to the shore for the weekend"? Premieres Sept. 16 on Fox.

'Grey's Anatomy'

Despite all the carping about this show by fans last season, Grey's still is the fourth most-watched scripted show on TV. The big change this season already was announced this spring, as Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) and McDreamy (Patrick Dempsey) decided they would live together. I think, though, that things won’t be right at Seattle Grace until ABC puts Private Practice out of its misery and sends Kate Walsh back to Grey's. Premieres Sept. 25 on ABC.

'CSI: Miami'

Who shot Horatio Crane? Probably not a crazed woman from Austria -- though one is stalking David Caruso in real life -- but we won't find out until the season premiere, which will be missing one prominent cast member, Khandi Alexander, who has left the building. Premieres Sept. 22 on CBS.

'Without a Trace'

The big change here is that CBS is moving the show, again, this time to Tuesdays at 9 p.m., where a lot of not very good shows have lately withered (Smith, Cane). Jack (Anthony LaPaglia) still is battling his demons and not in charge officially, though that won't last. Premieres Sept. 23.

'NCIS'

Considering how much staff turnover there is on this show, it's amazing how NCIS is exactly the same program every time I tune in. Anyway, Rocky Carroll steps in as the latest burr under Mark Harmon's butt. Working for them are three new NCISers. The old NCISers still are with the show, though they've been shipped off to the four corners of the globe until heaven knows when. Premieres Sept. 23.

'ER'

Though hardly the ratings juggernaut it once was, NBC's long-running hospital drama enters its final season and makes one last change of cast. Angela Bassett will play (tell me if you've heard this before) a tough-as-nails attending physician with a troubled secret past. Her real-life husband, Courtney B. Vance, will appear from time to time as her hubby on the show too. Premieres Sept. 25.

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