Labor Day will be here before we know it, marking the unofficial end of the summer season. After that, the schools that haven’t already opened will welcome back students, and the routine of a new season will be getting underway. On cable TV, a slew of original series and specials are lined up to capture the attention of viewers, from reality to comedy to drama.
Comedy Central has what may be one of the most interesting specials of the fall season scheduled for Monday, September 19, at 10 p.m. (all times Eastern). That’s when the Comedy Central Roast of Charlie Sheen airs, and if history is any guide, it promises to be a wild time.
The next night, new seasons of hit original series Tosh.0 and Workaholics get underway at 10 and 10:30 p.m., respectively. Comedy Central will also be the cable home to 30 Rock this fall, airing weeknights from 7-8 p.m. beginning on September 19.
If you’re looking for some anarchy, check out FX next month, as Sons of Anarchy returns for a new season on September 6 at 10 p.m. The compelling series, FX’s most popular ever, promises more twists and turns in its 13-episode season this fall, including a guest appearance by “The Hoff,” David Hasslehoff.
It often seems like anarchy of a different sort on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, which returns for a seventh season beginning September 15 at 10 p.m. On tap for this season: the gang produces a children’s beauty pageant, attends their high-school reunion and prepare for an apocalypse (really).
Finally, animated spy spoof Archer returns for a special three-episode run at 10:30 p.m. on September 15, 22 and 29, whetting fans’ appetites for an all-new third season premiering early next year.
At Hallmark Channel, a new daytime series, Emeril’s Table featuring the one and only Emeril Lagasse airs weekdays at 11 a.m. starting September 26. The half-hour show will welcome five guests, offering cooking lessons, sharing advice and discussing his love for food. Following Emeril’s new show, Martha Stewart’s Martha Bakes is back for a second season weekdays at 11:30. Each episode looks at one baked item—like cookies or a coffee cake—and shows how a basic recipe can be tweaked to produce a number of different tasty treats.
TLC welcomes back five original series in September. Sister Wives is back on September 25 at 9 p.m., Cake Boss on September 26, 19 Kids & Counting and The Little Couple on September 27 and Extreme Couponing on September 28.
Among TLC’s specials in September is World’s Smallest Man, documenting the life of Edward Hernandez. The 24-year old Columbia man stands 27 inches tall and experienced “overnight” fame once he was certified as the world’s shortest man. The special premieres September 18 at 10 p.m.
OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network has an intriguing new documentary movie next month: Most Valuable Players premieres September 8 at 9 p.m. The film looks at the Freddy Awards, an event that recognizes outstanding achievements in high-school musical theater in parts of New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The film shows that artistic activities can give students the same confidence and sense of accomplishment as athletic activities.
ESPN has its own documentary series premiering September 27 at 8 p.m. The first film is Catching Hell, directed by Oscar winner Alex Gibney. Chicago Cubs fans probably still remember the 2003 National League Championship Series…particularly game six, as a fan unintentionally tipped a foul ball away from the Cubs’ Moisés Alou, costing the team an out, and, in the minds of many frustrated fans, ultimately the chance to go to the World Series. Gibney explores fans’ strong reactions to the incident and how they directed their anger at the fan, Steve Bartman, who has maintained his silence about the events of the game.
If phrases like “How you doin’” and “We were on a break” bring back fond memories of the 1990s, then Nick at Nite will be there for you with the newest addition to their comedy lineup. Friends debuts with 10-hour marathons nightly from September 5-11 (8 p.m.-6 a.m.), before settling in to its regular weeknight slot from 10-11 p.m.
Going back just a bit further in time, Discovery presents Dinosaur Revolution on September 4 and 11 from 9-11 p.m. each night. The four-part series brings the prehistoric era to life through cutting-edge animation and the most up-to-date research about the lives and behaviors of the creatures that once ruled the earth.
Returning series on Discovery include Man, Woman, Wild on September 2 at 9 p.m., followed by Swamp Loggers at 10 p.m. American Chopper and Swamp Brothers return on September 5 at 9 and 10 p.m., respectively, and Storm Chasers is back tracking the world’s deadliest weather on September 28 at 10 p.m.
At E!, the real lives of the stars who bring the romance and intrigue of daytime drama to life are at the center of Dirty Soap, premiering September 25 at 10 p.m. Celebrities profiled will include Kelly Monaco and Kirsten Storms of General Hospital, Farah Fath and JP Lavoisier of One Life to Live, and Nadia Bjorlin and Galen Gering of Days of Our Lives.
Finally this month, I’d like to shift gears as we look at what’s coming up on cable in September.
September 11, 2011, of course, marks the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The solemn occasion will be the subject of a number of special programs, including:
Voices from Inside the Towers (premieres September 9 at 9 p.m.) uses recorded phone calls from victims and survivors of the attacks, providing a chronicle of what was happening in the World Trade Center.
9/11: The Days After (premieres September 10 at 9 p.m.) looks at the ways, weeks and years that followed the attacks, using archival footage from around the world.
102 Minutes that Changed America (airing September 11 at 8:46 a.m., also airing on all A&E networks) uses unfiltered material taken from nine witnesses to tell the story of the attacks on the World Trade Center.
Making the 9/11 Memorial (premiering September 11 at 8 p.m.) documents the development and construction of “Reflecting Absence,” a memorial to victims to be unveiled at Ground Zero earlier in the day.
Nick News: What Happened?: The Story of September 11, 2001 (premiering September 1 at 9 p.m.) presents the facts about what happened that day, offering a companion discussion guide for parents, educators and caregivers to help them talk to children who have questions about 9/11. Experts taking part in the show include former CNN anchor Aaron Brown, former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer; former Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security Juliette Kayyem; Chairman of the 9/11 Commission Tom Kean, and others.
9/11: Heroes of the 88th Floor (premiering September 4 at 9 p.m.) explores the story of two men whose courage and heroism helped save more than 75 people who were in the North Tower of the World Trade Center when the attack happened.
The Space Between (premieres September 11 at 9 p.m.) stars Melissa Leo and Anthony Keyvan as a flight attendant and a young boy who are on a plane grounded in Texas on September 11, 2001. The boy’s father works in the World Trade Center, leading to a cross-country drive to reach New York.
If you have any questions or comments about upcoming cable programs, you can use the comments section below, our contact form or contact your Comcast Spotlight representative.