Jennifer Lopez will return to network TV in her first scripted series in 21 -- yup, 21 -- years, NBC said early Sunday in announcing its new fall lineup, which will also include series starring Wesley Snipes, Rob Lowe, America Ferrera, Jenna Fischer and Neil Patrick Harris.
Lopez -- who, of course, is wrapping up the 14th season of "American Idol" -- will headline a series entitled "Shades of Blue," in which (as per NBC) she will play a "single mother and New York cop who is forced to work with the FBI and must betray her own on-the-job brothers."
Lopez hasn't been completely MIA from scripted TV over the years (a cameo on "How I Met Your Mother") but this is the first regular series -- no airdate announced by NBC -- since the long-forgotten "Second Chances" in '93. As fans well know, her career was effectively launched on "In Living Color," as a so-called Fly Girl, which quickly led to a handful of other roles.
Other quick highlights from this morning's announcement: Harris' variety series gets a Tuesday, 10 p.m. slot through November, when it cedes the time slot to "Chicago Fire"; "Undateable," the sophomore sitcom, will air live next season; and the "Heroes" short run series, "Heroes Reborn," arrives on Thursdays.
And Dick Wolf strikes again: The emperor of "Law & Order," and now the "Chicago" franchise, will launch a new "Chicago" series next season, "Chicago Med."
Meanwhile, the Lopez drama, and the Lowe ("You, Me and the End of the World") and Ferrara ("Superstore") comedies will air later in the season.
"World" does sound intriguing indeed -- a comedy/drama with Megan Mullally and Fischer, which NBC describes this way: "In this bold adrenaline-fueled new one-hour comedy drama, the news that a comet is on an unavoidable collision course with Earth sets in motion the most hilariously unexpected chain of events imaginable. Set against the backdrop of apocalyptic chaos and starring Rob Lowe ('Parks and Recreation'), Jenna Fischer ('The Office'), Megan Mullally ('Will & Grace') and Mathew Baynton ('Wonderland'), the story follows an eclectic group of seemingly unconnected characters around the world as their lives start to intersect in the most unexpected ways. When we say eclectic, we mean a rebellious priest, an unhinged white supremacist, a mild-mannered bank manager, a germ-phobic cyber-terrorist and an American five-star general."
(Maybe it's better it's not on in the fall; we need time to digest. But I like it, I like it...)
And here's NBC description of the NPH series, by the way -- which will also be live: "Complete with stunts, skits, pranks, audience interaction, musical numbers, giveaways and unlimited surprises, this show proves that anything can happen, and it can happen to you.Based on the wildly popular British hit 'Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway.' "
Finally, the lineup. Keep in mind, this is for early fall only; NBC, like the other networks, prefers to describe its schedule as "year-round."
Monday: "The Voice," 8 p.m.; "Blind Spot," 10 p.m. (from super-prolific producer Greg Berlanti; young woman found in Times Square; covered in tattoos; one tattoo is...well, let's not give everything away. This is billed as an "international thriller").
Tuesday: "The Voice," 8 p.m.; "Heartbreaker," 9 p.m. (starring Aussie star Melissa George as a doctor in a medical soap); "Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris," 10 p.m. (all live; and will include audience participation, stunts, musical numbers, giveaways and ...)
Wednesday: "The Mysteries of Laura," 8 p.m.; "Law & Order: SVU," 9 p.m.; "Chicago P.D.," 10 p.m.
Thursday: "Heroes: Reborn," 8 p.m. (with Tim Kring, original showrunner back at the helm, this will include some original cast members, most notably Jack Coleman, but also promises "a fresh crop of inspiring heroes"); "The Blacklist," 9 p.m.; "The Player," 10 p.m. (Snipes, and also starring Philip Winchester of "Strike Back," in a Las Vegas thriller, about a former military "operative" turned security expert).
Friday: "Undateable," 8 p.m.; "People are Talking," 8:30 p.m., a sitcom about "two diverse couples who are both neighbors and best friends"; "Grimm," 9 p.m.; "Dateline," 10 p.m.
Saturday: "Dateline Saturday Mystery," 8 p.m.; Saturday Night Live," 10 p.m. ("classic" repeats)
Sunday: Football, 7 p.m. "Sunday Night Football," 8:20 p.m.