To TV audiences, actor Dylan McDermott is best known for his dramatic roles.
His most recent was as a police investigator specializing in stalker cases who had a bit of a stalking issue of his own, in 2014’s “Stalker.”
Before that, he played an FBI agent who leads a team to kidnap the family of a surgeon who is scheduled to operate on the U.S. president. His aim: to get her to kill the president during surgery, or he’ll kill a member of her family. That role was in 2013’s “Hostages.”
In the 2011 premiere season of “American Horror Story,” he played the adulterous therapist husband and patriarch who moves his family to California into a haunted house so he can start a private practice. He later kills the woman he had slept with, buries her in the backyard, and is plagued by visions of her dead form. He also shows up in the show’s second season, “AHS: Asylum,” as the troubled son of the journalist who exposes the abuses at a psychiatric asylum when she was a patient working under cover.
Perhaps his most recognizable role, though, was Bobby Donnell, the attorney who led “The Practice” after a few brief appearances on “Ally McBeal.” Both legal dramas were created by David E. Kelley, both were set in Boston, and both had a reputation for handling quirky and oddball cases that relied on creatively crafted legal arguments, though where “Ally McBeal” leaned toward light comedy, “The Practice” was mostly dark and serious.
So it is perhaps a refreshing turn to see McDermott as the sarcastic and jokey pilot on Fox’s new workplace comedy, “LA to Vegas,“ premiering Tuesday. McDermott plays Dave, the pilot of Jackpot Airlines, a low-cost carrier that makes weekend trips as the title would suggest. They have a snarky and hopelessly scatterbrained in-flight crew, and a group of passengers that includes regulars like a gambling addict, an exotic dancer, and a college professor-slash-single-dad trying to work things out with his son.
The show has some high-falutin’ credentials, including an executive-producer roster of Will Ferrell, Adam McKay (director of, among other things, “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy,” and former writer for “Saturday Night Live”), Lon Zimmel (producer of “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”), and UW-Madison alum Steven Levitan, of “Modern Family” fame. The jokes are quick, smart, and easy, with a few moments of non-levity thrown in for good measure. “LA to Vegas” premieres at 8 p.m. Tuesday on Ch. 47.
What’s your emergency? The cast of Fox’s new drama, “9-1-1,“ doesn’t take that question lightly. Starring a crew of first responders – Angela Bassett as the police officer, Peter Krause as the firefighter, and Connie Britton at the call center who asks the question – the high-paced drama offers emergencies large and small. “9-1-1” premieres Wednesday on Ch. 47.
Sing, sing, sing: There’s another avenue for vocal stardom coming down the pike: “The Four Battle for Stardom,” featuring four recording artists competing for their spot against challengers. Judging their positions are established names in the music industry, including performers and executives: Sean “Diddy” Combs, DJ Khaled, Megan Trainor and Charlie Walk. “The Four,” hosted by singer Fergie, premieres Thursday at 7 p.m. on Ch. 47.
They’re baaack: A handful of established shows – and one new one that previewed recently – return this week. Monday, ABC’s “The Bachelor“ starts up again, with race car driver Arie Luyendyk Jr. as the object for 29 women’s affection; the two-hour premiere airs at 7 p.m. on Ch. 27. NBC’s “Ellen’s Game of Games,” which had a preview Dec. 18, will officially premiere Tuesday at 7 p.m. on Ch. 15. It’s the 30th season of “The Amazing Race,” and the globe-trotting contestants are said to be the most competitive yet. The travelers include retired NBA players, a “Big Brother” power couple, world-class debaters from Yale, Indy Car drivers (including one who won the Indianapolis 500), firefighters, retired professional skiers, Instagram models, and Goat Yoga instructors. The “Race” kicks off Wednesday at 7 p.m. on Ch. 3.
And the truth is out there – as is their son – and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) and Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) are still searching for them both on “The X-Files,” returning Wednesday at 7 p.m. on Ch. 47.
Looking into Waco: ABC News takes an in-depth look at the Branch Davidians disaster 25 years later with “Truth and Lies: Waco,” airing Thursday at 8 p.m. on Ch. 27. The special includes interviews with ATF and FBI agents and survivors of the fire focused on the 51-day siege on the compound run by cult leader David Koresh. The tragedy began with a shootout that left four ATF agents and six members of the Branch Davidian cult dead; the siege ended when the compound burned to the ground, killing nearly all of its residents.
Ringing in the year: The offerings to celebrate the new year abound. On ABC, “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2018“ gets started Sunday at 7 p.m. on Ch. 27 with Seacrest hosting from New York. Musical performances include Britney Spears from Las Vegas; Kelly Clarkson, Fitz & the Tantrums, and Florida Georgia Line, among others, from Los Angeles; Imagine Dragons and Walk the Moon from New Orleans; and Camilla Cabello, Nick Jonas, and Sugarland from New York. “Fox’s New Year’s Eve with Steve Harvey: Live from Times Square“ begins at 7:06 p.m. (preceded by a preview of “The Four”) on Ch. 47. The celebration, featuring surprise guests, pauses for local news at 9 p.m., then returns at 10 p.m. for the East Coast Times Square countdown to 2018. And it’s supercool with twice the AC on CNN’s “New Year’s Eve Live,” with Andy Cohen joining host Anderson Cooper after seven-year foil Kathy Griffin was fired by the network earlier this year. The live show, broadcast from New York and checking in with celebrations all over the world, begins airing at 7 p.m. Sunday.