Fall Sweeps: Who and What Is Hot On the Big Shows

Gwyneth Paltrow, Timothy Olyphant, Michael J. Fox, Kim Kardashian (Andrew H. Walker/Frazer Harrison/Jason Merritt/Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

Gwyneth Paltrow, Timothy Olyphant, Michael J. Fox, Kim Kardashian (Andrew H. Walker/Frazer Harrison/Jason Merritt/Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

November Sweeps, a tradition nearly old as the boob tube itself, kicks off this fall on Thursday, Oct. 28. For what’s now become a helluva lot longer than one week, the networks pull out all their bells and whistles to attract us (and thus advertisers) with spectacular stunts and guest stars. (One word: Gwyneth.) What do this year’s sweeps treats look like? Here’s our handy day-by-day guide to some select highlights.

This list will be updated as more information becomes available.

Thursday, Oct. 28
The Office‘ (NBC): Timothy Olyphant (‘Justified’) continues as salesman Danny
The Apprentice‘ (NBC): Kristin Chenoweth
CSI‘ (CBS): Katee Sackhoff (‘Battlestar Galactica’) plays Detective Frankie Reed
Oprah‘ (Syndication): The entire cast of ‘The Sound of Music,’ including Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer
The Vampire Diaries‘ (The CW): Stefan and Damon devise a plan to deal with Katherine at a masked ball

Friday, Oct. 29
School Pride‘ (NBC): Lady Antebellum
Supernatural‘ (The CW): Serinda Swan (‘Smallville’) is a reporter investigating a slew of suicides

Monday, Nov. 1
Chuck‘ (NBC): Linda Hamilton (continuing to 11/29), Ana Gasteyer (‘SNL’) and ex-007 Timothy Dalton
Gossip Girl‘ (The CW): Musical guest Robyn performs
How I Met Your Mother‘ (CBS): Will Forte returns as GNB’s Randy
Hawaii Five-O‘ (CBS): Kelly Hu (‘X-Men 2’) plays a government safety liaison
Oprah‘ (Syndication): Portia de Rossi shares details of life with her wife, Ellen DeGeneres
Saturday Night Live‘ (NBC): The Women of SNL special with Tina Fey, Ana Gasteyer, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Laraine Newman, Amy Poehler and Kristen Wiig

Tuesday, Nov. 2
One Tree Hill‘ (The CW): Brooke tries to bond with Julian’s mother (Sharon Lawrence)
Oprah‘ (Syndication): Ricky Martin discusses raising twin boys, and his decision to come out as a gay man

Wednesday, Nov. 3
Hellcats‘ (The CW): An ’80s-themed party features a musical number with Vanessa (Sharon Leal)
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit‘ (NBC): ‘ER’ vets Maria Bello and Alex Kingston play a mystery woman and returning defense attorney Miranda Pond
Criminal Minds‘ (CBS): Robert Newman (‘Guiding Light’), Melissa Claire Egan (‘All My Children’) and Internet phenomenon Justine Ezarik

Thursday, Nov. 4
Community‘ (NBC): Hilary Duff and Andy Dick
30 Rock‘ (NBC): Elizabeth Banks returns as Jack’s baby momma, Avery
The Big Bang Theory‘ (CBS): Eliza Dushku (‘Buffy’) is an FBI agent grilling the boys
Bones‘ (FOX): Stephen “tWitch” Boss (‘So You Think You Can Dance’) plays a suspect in the murder of a street dancer
Fringe‘ (FOX): Shawn (‘X-Men’) and Aaron Ashmore (‘Smallville’) play alternate twins of each other

Friday, Nov. 5
Medium‘ (NBC): Judy Reyes and Rena Sofer
CSI: NY‘ (CBS): John Larroquette begins a 3-episode arc as the Deputy Chief of Manhattan Detectives
Smallville‘ (The CW): Michael Ironside and Peyton List (‘Mad Men’) return as Lois’ dad and sis

Sunday, Nov. 7
The Simpsons‘ (FOX): Daniel Radcliffe (‘Harry Potter’) and Hugh Laurie (‘House’) voice a ‘Twilight’-y vampire and a castaway in the annual “Treehouse Of Horror” special

Monday, Nov. 8
Rules of Engagement‘ (CBS): Sara Rue (‘Less Than Perfect’) and Joan Collins (‘Dynasty’) are Jeff and Audrey’s lesbian surrogate and Russell’s mom, respectively
90210‘ (The CW): Joe Jonas is Adrianna’s date for an important party
Gossip Girl‘ (The CW): Chuck and Blair decide to end their vindictive games
House‘ (FOX): Amber Tamblyn (‘Joan Of Arcadia’) joins the team as med student Martha Masters

Tuesday, Nov. 9
NCIS‘ (CBS): Bruce Boxleitner (‘Scarecrow and Mrs. King’) plays a Navy big-wig, Robert Wagner returns as Tony’s father
The Good Wife‘ (CBS): Michael J. Fox (‘Spin City’) is the crafty opposing counsel Alicia must face
Life Unexpected‘ (The CW): Cate snoops for info on Julia, the woman from Ryan’s past
Oprah‘ (Syndication): The Bush Family

Wednesday, Nov. 10
Criminal Minds‘ (CBS): Sally Kirkland and Robert Knepper (‘Prison Break’)

Thursday, Nov. 11
30 Rock‘ (NBC): John Slattery (‘Mad Men’) plays a politician
The Apprentice‘ (NBC): Kim Kardashian
The Big Bang Theory‘ (CBS): Wil Wheaton returns as Evil Wil Wheaton
$#*! My Dad Says‘ (CBS): Missi Pyle (‘Boston Legal’) is Vince and Bonnie’s crazy boss
Oprah‘ (Syndication): Marie Osmond talks about the death of her son, Michael
The Office‘ (NBC): The Dunder Mifflin gang holds a ‘Glee’ viewing party
The Vampire Diaries‘ (The CW): Katherine’s past is revealed
Nikita‘ (The CW): Nikita and Michael team up to target a terrorist who killed Michael’s family

Friday, Nov. 12
Smallville‘ (The CW): Teri Hatcher (‘Desperate Housewives’) is Lois’ late mother, Ella

Sunday, Nov. 14
The Cleveland Show‘ (FOX): David Lynch
American Dad‘ (FOX): Hayden Panettiere

Monday, Nov. 15
Chuck‘ (NBC): Summer Glau (‘Firefly’) and Richard Chamberlain (‘Thorn Birds,’ continuing 11/22)
The Event‘ (NBC): Hal Holbrook (‘Sons Of Anarchy’)
How I Met Your Mother‘ (CBS): Nicole Scherzinger and Alan Thicke play a part in Robin Sparkles’ latest adventure
Lie To Me‘ (FOX): David Sutcliffe and Julie Campbell
Oprah‘ (Syndication): Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah reunite for the 25th anniversary of ‘The Color Purple’

Tuesday, Nov. 16
The Good Wife‘ (CBS): Miranda Cosgrove (‘iCarly’) is an out-of-control teen pop star
Glee‘ (FOX): Gwyneth Paltrow is a substitute teacher with good pipes
One Tree Hill‘ (The CW): Bethany Joy Galeotti (“Haley”) directed this Thanksgiving-themed ep
Life Unexpected‘ (The CW): Krista Allen (‘Days Of Our Lives’) has eyes for Baze
Oprah‘ (Syndication): Barbra Streisand

Wednesday, Nov. 17
The Defenders‘ (CBS): Rockmond Dunbar (‘Prison Break’)
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit‘ (NBC): Christine Lahti

Thursday, Nov. 18
$#*! My Dad Says‘ (CBS): John Mahoney (‘Frasier’)
Bones‘ (FOX): Wayne Knight (‘Seinfeld’) and Tiffany Hines (‘Nikita,’ returning as Cam’s daughter)
Fringe‘ (FOX): Andre Royo (‘The Wire’) returns as Olivia’s alt-verse helper

Friday, Nov. 19
Smalllville‘ (The CW): Tom Welling directs; Alan Ritchson and Michael Hogan (‘BSG’) play Aquaman and Col. Slade
Supernatural‘ (The CW): Dean is abducted by fairies

Sunday, Nov. 21
The Cleveland Show‘ (FOX): Niecy Nash (‘Reno 911’) and Aseem Batra
Family Guy‘ (FOX): Bill Maher
American Dad‘ (FOX): Jason Alexander (‘Seinfeld’)

Monday, Nov. 22
Chase‘ (NBC): David Keith (‘Lone Star’)
Lie To Me‘ (FOX): John Amos (‘Good Times’) is a restaurant owner looking for his daughter’s killer

Tuesday, Nov. 23
NCIS‘ (CBS): Michael Nouri returns as Ziva’s father, Eli David
Glee‘ (FOX): Carol Burnett plays Sue Sylvester’s Nazi-hunter mother
Raising Hope‘ (FOX): Greg Germann (‘Aly McBeal’) and Valerie Mahaffey (‘United States Of Tara’)

Wednesday, Nov. 24
Human Target‘ (FOX): Molly Parker (‘Swingtown’) is the wife of a man Chance once killed
The Biggest Loser‘ (NBC): ‘Where Are They Now?’ special
The Kung Fu Panda Holiday Special‘ (NBC): All-new DreamWorks special

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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