The Middle The Middle

The Middle
8:30/7:30c ABC
Originally developed — and shelved — for the 2006-07 TV season with Ricki Lake in the lead, this sitcom was finally given the green light when Patricia Heaton came on board. No offense to Ms. Lake, but with a two-time Emmy winner as the star, The Middle probably has a better shot at breaking out of the pack. The Everybody Loves Raymond vet plays a harried, married mother of three in a quirky Midwestern family that will no doubt be compared with the Malcolm in the Middle clan, but clever dysfunctional slapstick never goes out of style. — Joe Friedrich

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
9/8c NBC
Eric McCormack played a lawyer for eight seasons on Will & Grace, and tonight he plays a man in need of one. As Vance Shepard, McCormack is the hip, easygoing CEO of an online dating service. But things become problematic for him when the body of a female member of his dating site turns up stuffed inside a suitcase. Benson and Stabler bring Shepard in for questioning, and allegations are made that he was the victim's sugar daddy. — Jennifer Sankowski

8/7c ABC
Kelsey Grammer returns to prime time with a sitcom that is also about a return, albeit an unplanned and unwanted homecoming. Grammer plays Hank Pryor, a sports-retail entrepreneur who went from being at the top of his game to being permanently benched. In the opener, he takes his wife and two children back to their home state of Virginia to rebuild their lives. But what the workaholic Hank learns he has to do first is get to know his children better and rebuild his family. — Bill Ecklund

10/9c ABC
The ladies are understandably curious about the enigmatic Darryl Van Horne who's moved into town and seemingly awakened powers within them, so Joanna does some digging and interviews a retired reporter (Martin Mull) and a reclusive eccentric (Cybill Shepherd) who may know something about Darryl's past. Meanwhile, Roxie has her hands full with a new neighbor whom she's having troubling visions about, and Kat tries to proceed with plans to end her marriage, even though Raymond has returned home. — Jennifer Sankowski

Bank of Mom and Dad
10/9c SOAPnet
How far will some people go to get help with their poor spending habits? The women on this new reality show resort to having their parents move in with them for a week and take control of their finances! Money coach Farnoosh Torabi is also on hand to provide guidance to the women and get them back on the right track. In the premiere episode, a jet-setting New York City gal with a mountain of bills and no health insurance learns to readjust her priorities and live less lavishly. — Jennifer Sankowski