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Cable’s best bets this fall are returning drama series

  • SYFY
    “Town of the Living Dead” is a new reality show that follows the making of a zombie movie. Among the players are Gary Carrecker, left, and Nick, James and John Ware.
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Cable’s fall lineup boasts some big-time drama returns, led by ratings champ "The Walking Dead" and awards winner "Homeland." But after their jam-packed summer season, these channels appear content to cede the fall spotlight to the broadcast networks.

Maybe the cablers are stoking up to launch a serious assault in 2015? The new year is when we’ll see big arrivals like AMC’s "Breaking Bad" prequel "Better Call Saul," HBO’s Dwayne Johnson series "Ballers," Syfy’s "12 Monkeys" and Spike’s "Tut," plus returnees ranging from HBO fantasy fave "Game of Thrones" to Tony Shalhoub joining Showtime’s "Nurse Jackie." (Dates are subject to change.)

WHAT’S UP

"Happyland" (MTV, Tuesday) Theme park workers, manufactured happiness — what could go wrong with this "underbelly" dramedy aimed at young viewers? The show’s creators could discuss incest at a news conference. Oops? Or awesome?

"Death Valley" (CMT, Wednesday-Oct. 4) Docusoap miniseries tracks five locals seeking riches in the lawless desert.

"Survivor’s Remorse" (Starz, Oct. 4): Hoops star LeBron James and comic Mike O’Malley are the odd couple behind this basketball dramedy: Young phenom navigates the landscape between his hot contract and his homeboys. Among the cast: Jessie T. Usher, Mike Epps, Tichina Arnold.

"Homeland: (Showtime, Oct. 5): What now? With Damien Lewis’ antagonist gone and Claire Danes’ operative pregnant with his child, last season’s cliffhanger opens up the options. Season 4 returns to the Middle East war-on- terror battle, as filmed entirely in South Africa.

"Town of the Living Dead" (Syfy, Oct. 7): Jasper, Ala., filmmakers have spent six years working on a zombie flick based on a town legend. This unscripted series sees whether they can complete it.

"Somebody’s Gotta Do It" (CNN, Oct. 8): Not such a dirty job: Mike Rowe visits unusual people doing cool things.

"Kingdom" (DirecTV, Oct. 8): Southern California’s mixed martial arts subculture saga stars actors Frank Grillo, Kiele Sanchez, Joanna Going, Jonathan Tucker, Nick Jonas, Matt Lauria.

"American Horror Story Freak Show" (FX, Oct. 8): Carnival sideshow breathes its last in 1950s Florida. Michael Chiklis and Patti LaBelle join Jessica Lange, Sarah Paulson, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett.

"The Walking Dead" (AMC, Oct. 12): Season 5 pumps the accelerator toward Washington. Creators promise an action-packed return as Rick’s crew battles the Terminus gang to chase that elusive zombie cure.

"The Affair" (Showtime, Oct. 12): Shot in Montauk, this new drama explores the impact of an affair on two marriages. Involved: Dominic West, Maura Tierney, Joshua Jackson, Ruth Wilson.

"Mike Tyson Mysteries" (Adult Swim, Oct. 27): Adult Swim’s animated comedy casts the boxer as sleuth, aided by an adopted Korean daughter, a pigeon who was once a man and the ghost of the Marquess of Queensberry.

"Olive Kitteridge" (HBO, Nov. 2-3) Frances McDormand, Richard Jenkins and Bill Murray bring to life the sprawling Pulitzer winner chronicling a scandal-wracked New England hamlet.

"The Missing" (Starz, Nov. 15): James Nesbitt and Frances O’Connor face the fallout when their young son disappears during a French vacation.

"Ascension" (Syfy, Nov. 24): Covert ’60s space mission meant to last a century now reaches its point of no return amid mysterious happenings. With Tricia Helfer, Brian Van Holt, Brandon P. Bell, Andrea Roth.

"Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce" (Bravo, Dec. 2) "House" boss Lisa Edelstein gets top billing in the channel’s first big scripted series.

"The Librarians" (TNT, late fall) Noah Wyle’s movie franchise goes series with John Larroquette overseeing an enlarged team vs. supernatural threats. With Rebecca Romijn, Christian Kane, Matt Frewer.

RETURNING PROGRAMS

» "Awkward" (MTV, started Tuesday)

» "Faking It" (MTV, started Tuesday)

» "Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown" (CNN, Sunday)

» "The Haunting Hour" (Hub, Oct. 4)

» "Are You the One?" (MTV, Oct. 6)

» "Top Chef" (Bravo, Oct. 15)

» "Comedy Bang Bang" (IFC, Oct. 17)

» "The Birthday Boys" (IFC, Oct. 17)

» "Gold Rush" (Discovery, Oct. 17)

» "American Dad" (TBS, Oct. 20, new episodes)

» "Web Therapy" (Showtime, Oct. 22)

» "The Carbonaro Effect" (truTV, Oct. 30, 10 p.m.)

» "The Exes" (TV Land, Nov. 5)

» "Hot in Cleveland" (TV Land, Nov. 5)

» "Covert Affairs" (USA, Nov. 6)

» "White Collar" (USA, Nov. 6)

» "The Comeback" (HBO, Nov. 9)

» "The Newsroom" (HBO, Nov. 9)

» "Kate Plus Eight" (TLC, December)

» "Ground Floor" (TBS, Dec. 9)

HOLIDAYS

» Halloween: "Halloween Wars" (Food, Oct. 5 return), "31 Days of Halloween" (Syfy, Oct. 1-31), "13 Nights of Halloween" (ABC Family, Oct. 19-31), "Ghost Adventures, in Ireland" (Travel, Oct. 31),

» Christmas: "Countdown to Christmas" (Hallmark, starts Oct. 31)

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