While a few seasonal returns have already jumped the gun — NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” ABC’s “Mistresses,” Fox’s “Wayward Pines” — most have held their fire to launch when viewers’ thoughts turn toward long-awaited leisure.
The broadcast networks continue to take a few scripted shots in summer. (CBS did get three seasons out of now-canceled “Under the Dome.”) But they’re increasingly happy to fill time with competitions, game shows and, for lucky rights-holder NBC, this year’s Olympics.
True year-round programming remains largely a cable-led effort. That’s no surprise, when you realize summer has launched such audience and awards successes as AMC’s “Mad Men,” FX’s “Rescue Me,” Syfy’s “Warehouse 13” and TNT’s “The Closer.”
Will we meet more hits this summer? Here are some shows you need to know.
'Feed the Beast'
Feed the Beast (premieres June 5, 10 p.m., then Tuesdays at 10, AMC) David Schwimmer and Jim Sturgess star as Bronx best friends, trying to open a restaurant beset by family concerns and mob debts.
'Rizzoli & Isles'
Rizzoli & Isles (9 p.m. June 6, TNT) Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander start the final season of their high-rated cop hour.
UnReal (June 6, 10 p.m., Lifetime) Backstage scheming at a “Bachelor”-style competition only accelerates in the second season of this smarter-than-expected sendup. A black “bachelor” (BJ Britt, “Being Mary Jane”) fuels fresh conflict among the show’s supposed creator (Craig Bierko), his ex-who-does-all-the-work (Constance Zimmer) and an ambitious young producer (Shiri Appleby).
'O.J.: Made in America'
O.J.: Made in America (June 11, 9 p.m., ABC) This ESPN “30 for 30” production gets launched by its ABC network sibling, before returning to cable June 14-18 at 9 p.m. It chronicles O.J. Simpson’s rise from poverty to football fame and acting stardom, then his fall to a murder charge and current prison sentence.
'The American West'
The American West (June 11, 10 p.m., AMC) Producer Robert Redford explores the post-Civil War years 1865 to 1890. Sharing space with tales of 19th century legends (Jesse James, Wyatt Earp, Sitting Bull) are modern portrayers (Tom Selleck, Burt Reynolds, Kiefer Sutherland). Eight episodes follow the final hours of drama series “Hell on Wheels” (9 p.m.).
Tony Awards (June 12, 8-11 p.m., CBS) Late-nighter James Corden hosts the 70th anniversary salute to Broadway’s best, sure to be “Hamilton”-heavy.
'House of Lies'
House of Lies (June 13, 9 p.m., Showtime) Series finale: Don Cheadle and Kristen Bell wind up, with an episode shot in Havana.
Guilt (June 13, 9 p.m., Freeform) If this channel’s name change from ABC Family wasn’t clear evidence that it wants to grow up, here comes a dark thriller that ranges from the British royal family to London sex clubs. Emily Tremaine (“Vinyl”) crosses the pond to aid her sister, suspected of a tabloid murder.
BrainDead (June 13, 10 p.m., CBS) “The Good Wife” producers now attack politics in Washington, D.C., where they find alien spawn eating Capitol Hill brains. Comic thriller stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Danny Pino, Tony Shalhoub.
'To Tell the Truth'
To Tell the Truth (June 14, 8 and 10 p.m., ABC) Anthony Anderson hosts the first in a slew of familiar revivals on ABC. (They include Steve Harvey’s “Celebrity Family Feud,” Alec Baldwin’s “Match Game” and Michael Strahan’s “The $100,000 Pyramid”).
Uncle Buck (June 14, 9 and 9:30 p.m., ABC) Mike Epps takes over as the hustling relative who’s probably not the best choice to care for your kids.
Animal Kingdom (June 14, 9-11 p.m., TNT) Ellen Barkin, Scott Speedman and Shaun Hatosy star as the possibly criminal family that takes in a needy 17-year-old (Finn Cole). From “ER” producer John Wells.
'Skin Wars: Fresh Paint'
Skin Wars: Fresh Paint (June 15, 10 p.m., GSN) RuPaul Charles already has a hit with Logo’s “Drag Race.” Now he hosts this body-painting series spinoff, as six artists try it for the first time.
'Orange Is the New Black'
Orange Is the New Black (June 17, Netflix) Back for women-in-prison Season 4: Taylor Schilling, Uzo Aduba, Laura Prepon, Laverne Cox.
'Mother, May I Sleep With Danger?'
Mother, May I Sleep With Danger? (June 18, 8 p.m., Lifetime) Showbiz wild card James Franco crafts this homage/sendup reboot of TV’s notorious 1996 chick-in-jeopardy flick, adding vampires to a mix including ’90s stars Tori Spelling and Ivan Sergei.
'The Jim Gaffigan Show'
The Jim Gaffigan Show (June 19, 10 p.m., TV Land) One of last summer’s most delightful surprises is back, with more Manhattan fathering, standup gigs, priest meetups and other wacky/heartfelt happenings.
'Odd Mom Out'
Odd Mom Out (June 20, 10 p.m., Bravo) Quirky parenting comedy stars creator Jill Kargman as the offbeat mom in her Upper East Side circle. On her Season 2 agenda: career resumption and Yom Kippur.
Greenleaf (June 21, 10 p.m., OWN) Oprah Winfrey plays a blues club owner in this hour tracking Memphis megachurch melodrama. Keith David and Lynn Whitfield are its patriarch and matriarch, with younger family members Merle Dandridge and Lamman Rucker.
American Gothic (June 22, 10 p.m., CBS) From Steven Spielberg’s company, a Boston family finds itself linked to chilling murders, dredging up secrets and suspicions. With Juliet Rylance, Antony Starr, Virginia Madsen.
'Adventures in Babysitting'
Adventures in Babysitting (June 24, 8 p.m., Disney) The channel’s 100th original movie takes off from Elisabeth Shue’s 1986 big-screen hit.
Roadies (June 26, 10 p.m., Showtime) Backstage tour crews get their tales told by writer-director Cameron Crowe (“Almost Famous”), with Luke Wilson, Carla Gugino, Ron White.
'Gold Medal Families'
Gold Medal Families (June 28, 9 p.m., Lifetime) Olympic dreams require sacrifice not just from athletes but from their parents and siblings, seen by following six American contenders (gymnastics, swimming, boxing).
'The Night Of'
The Night Of (July 10, 9 p.m., HBO) John Turturro and Michael Kenneth Williams in a limited series about a complex murder case, its impact felt throughout New York City’s politics, law enforcement, legal system and Rikers Island.
Vice Principals (July 17, 10:30 p.m., HBO) See the funny side of cult icon Walton Goggins (“The Shield,” “Justified”), facing down Danny McBride (“Eastbound & Down”) in an epic high school power struggle. That same week, Goggins gets serious in “Six” (July 18 at 10 p.m., History), a new drama series about a Navy SEAL team working Afghanistan.
Shooter (July 26, 10 p.m., USA) Ryan Phillippe and Omar Epps star: Former Marine sniper returns to action to fight a plot to kill the president. Produced by Mark Wahlberg. The series premiere was originally set to air July 19, but was pushed after the fatal shooting of police in Dallas and other recent tragic events in elsewhere.
What did TV have to show for in 2016? Plenty, Newsday critic Verne Gay is happy to report. Here’s his ranking of the year that was, from 26 to No. 1, including a tie.Ultimate Emmys: Critic's picks for TV's best What if Lucille Ball competed with Julia Louis-Dreyfus for an Emmy? Here, she does.