Here’s the thing: TV is year-round these days. So take a moment to catch your breath from the finales of May and the announcements of a gazillion new shows for next season. Then, get ready to dive in for a plethora of new and returning shows to keep you company on those long summer nights when it’s too hot to even think about going outside.
Premieres: Monday, May 23 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC (moves to the regular 8 p.m. ET timeslot starting Monday, May 30)
Why we’re watching: Bubbly Ashley Hebert is back after Brad Womack’s second “Bachelor” season and says this is the best group of guys “The Bachelorette” has ever had. We are excited to see who she ends up with.
Why we’re watching: FOX’s other competition show (or one of them) is back for another season of dancing. Celebrities not included. We watch because we’re addicted to competition shows. Seriously, there’s something awe-inducing about seeing these dancers defy gravity, even if we do have to put up with Mary Murphy.
Why we’re watching: To tell you the truth, the singing in the promos is reminiscent of cats going at it. But this isn’t a singing contest, it’s a songwriting contest -- which is a novel take. And we’ll check in, because we have to believe that hosts Jewel and Kara DioGuardi wouldn’t lead us astray. Um, right?
Why we’re watching: ABC documents the total makeovers of eight “super obese” people who set out to lose at least half their body weight. We’re all for shows that not only entertain, but also educate and motivate. We also like the fact that the show doesn’t pit the participants against each other in a competition.
Premieres: Tuesday, May 31 at 10 p.m. ET on Lifetime
Why we’re watching: From the creator or “Jersey Shore” -- comes a show nothing like “Jersey Shore.” “Love Handles” is an hour-long reality program combining weight loss and relationship therapy. Similar in concept to “The Biggest Loser: Couples,” relationship counseling will play a bigger role in this series. Each episode will follow the journey of two new couples, as one or both members undergoes 60 days of strenuous workouts and therapy, making room for more stories throughout the eight episode season.
Why we’re watching: Because it’s like getting to watch “Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous” without having to listen to Robin Leach. Bravo’s new docu-series follows five high-end decorators to the stars as they “navigate the high-pressured design industry for their wealthy, famous, and extremely demanding clients.”
Premieres: Wednesday, June 1 at 10 p.m. ET on Oxygen
Why we’re watching: Who would have thought that in 2011 Nicole Richie would be the more pop culture relevant half of “The Simple Life” duo? While Nicole has gotten married, had a couple of babies and gotten serious about her fashion designing, her former partner-in-crime, Paris Hilton has been ... less productive. Bouncing from one ill-fated attempt to stay in the public eye to another, she’s now ready to give us yet another all-access look at her life and her “friends,” including her mother, Charlie Sheen’s ex Brooke Mueller, a former Playmate, an nightclub promoter and her “sweet” assistant. So, yeah, we’re watching just so we can shake our heads that anyone ever envied her and her life.
Why we’re watching: We like a good ghost story. And apparently ghosts and spirits can live not just in houses, but everyday objects, too. That’s where the Zaffis family of paranormal investigators comes in. They track down haunted items, then store them in their museum.
Why we’re watching: We’re not really huge fans of law shows, but this one has two things going for it: Stars Mark-Paul Gosselaar (“Saved By the Bell”) and Breckin Meyer (“Clueless”). It promises to be an off-the-wall take on the legal show, so in our devotion to our nineties-era boy crushes we’ll tune in for the bromance and see if it’s something we’ll stick with all summer.
Why we’re watching: There aren’t a lot of big stories on “Men of a Certain Age,” but the small ones are handled so well, with just the right amount of rueful humor. It’s a pleasure to spend an hour with Ray Romano and his buddies.
Why we’re watching:This is one of our faves... from last fall! The show has taken several hits (including losing its leads to other pilots) and pushed back until we now get to see it as a summer show. The audience pretty much expects it to be a “dead man walking” burn off of episodes, but we’re still fascinated by the show’s vignette-style take on a comedy series. Who knows, it may be really good and worth the wait.
Why we’re watching: The second season of Jamie Oliver’s food crusade got off to a rocky start, what with the LA School District refusing him access to their hallowed halls, low ratings and whatnot. ABC is hoping for better luck on Friday nights during the summer and we’re inclined to cross our fingers for them. The first season was eye-opening and it’s good to see that America’s blind eye towards the obesity epidemic pulled open. Especially in a town know for being body-conscious and image-obsessed.
Why we’re watching:This show was a sleeper for us last summer, but we watched and got hooked. It both celebrates and pokes fun of Florida, the character development doesn’t take a backseat to the procedural’s murder cases. It’s sort of everything you’d want from a “big sky” show during the summer months.
Why we’re watching: If you’ve had your fill of vampires, but are still looking for your monster fix, MTV’s retooling of “Teen Wolf” if the show for you. Hot guys + dangerous love = your new summer obsession. Plus, it’ll pass the time until “The Vampire Diaries” comes back on.
Why we’re watching: Confession: we like the softer side of Gordon Ramsay almost as much as we love seeing him cuss and thro a fit. The first outing of “Masterchef” gave us an outlet for the kinder Gordon, and the lack of “Top Chef” this summer means we’ll have to get our serious culinary competition kicks from somewhere.
Premieres: Monday, June 6 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC Family
Why we’re watching:We’re not too jaded to say that our interest is piqued by the idea of two girls reunited after growing up with the wrong families. More specifically, we like that one of the girls is deaf and we look forward to watching how she’ll deal with a new family and school and vice versa.
Why we’re watching: Because former crook Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer) and FBI agent Peter Burke (Tim DeKay) are one of the most fun pairings on TV right now. The supporting cast ain’t too shabby either, particularly now that Hilarie Burton has been made a regular.
Why we’re watching: Piper Perabo had us from hello, but the show around her grew and got better as its first season went on. We have high hopes that Season 2 will continue that arc -- plus we wouldn’t want to miss out on the baddest blind man on the planet, Auggie (Chris Gorham), doing his thing.
Why we’re watching: This premieres right around the time our bodies will go into “Glee” withdrawal and we’ll be stumbling around singing “Don’t Stop Believing” under our breath while chewing our hair. So really, consider it an antidote to the long “Glee” hiatus. Plus, Darren Criss is in the first episode, and other Gleeks make subsequent appearances.
Premieres: Tuesday, June 14 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC Family
Why we’re watching: Did you see the Season 1 finale?! We need answers, people. Is Ian really dead? Who saved Spencer? Are Melissa and the baby OK? Will Hanna forgive Caleb? Is Emily leaving Rosewood forever? Are Aria and Ezra heading for splitsville? Who is A?! OK, we¿ve pretty much given up on that last one, but we¿re dying to know the rest.
Why we’re watching: We love Jason Lee in just about anything, and the first season of “Memphis Beat” was fantastic thanks to his great work as a Memphis police detective. The best part of the show, though? The music. We love the bluesy soundtrack that makes the show feel authentic even though it’s shot in Los Angeles, not Tennessee.
Premieres: Tuesday, June 14 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC Family
Why we’re watching: Prepare to meet the cat-version of Buffy. Seriously. She’s young, blond, cute and quite quippy. Chloe King isn’t your average 16 year-old. She’s part of a race called the Mai, she has retractable claws and -- you guessed it -- nine lives. Also, you can’t go wrong with a love triangle.
Why we’re watching:This show could be filed in the underrated, under-viewed show category. There’s a crazy amount of shows focusing on the lives of doctors, but this one gives us a peek at the underappreciated nurses. Jada Pinkett Smith as the lead is reason enough to watch. Throw in a complicated on-screen romance with Michael Vartan (“Alias”) and we’re there.
Premieres: Wednesday, June 15 at 11 p.m. ET on Bravo
Why we’re watching: We were pretty sure we watched celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito’s entire career implode during the second of NBC’s “The Restaurant.” We were wrong. Instead, Rocco went on from that disaster to lick his wounds, slim down and become a go-to guest on talk shows, “The Biggest Loser” and “Top Chef.” He even competed on “Dancing With the Stars.”
Premieres: Wednesday, June 15 at 10:30 p.m. ET on TV Land
Why we’re watching: We’ll be the first to admit that we were skeptical of Fran Drescher’s newest sitcom attempt after the short-lived “Living with Fran.” Her latest project piques our interest not only because she’ll star alongside John Michael-Higgins (who in our minds, can do no wrong), but because Drescher co-created the show with her very own ex-husband, Peter Marc Jacobson. “Happily Divorced” will be based largely on their divorce, including Jacobson’s admission to being gay following the split. The two also collaborated on “The Nanny” back in the ‘90s.
Why we’re watching: The Canadian setting is a refreshing change for a cop drama and we love the chemistry between all the rookies -- romantic and platonic. Also, we know for a fact two people get shot in the Season 2 premiere -- a series regular included.
Premieres: Sunday, June 19 at 9 p.m. ET on Lifetime
Why we’re watching: Could this be the season that Grayson finally discovers Jane’s secret identity? Of course, we’re sure it won’t be quite as simple as waking up in the hospital and suddenly seeing Deb’s face through Jane -- but we imagine his near death experience will bring him one step closer to his former fiance. At least, we hope it will. Guest stars this season include LeAnn Rimes, Mario Lopez, Wendy Williams and even more Paula Abdul.
Premieres: Sunday, June 19 at 9 p.m. ET on TNT (moves to 10 p.m. on June 26)
Why we’re watching: We’ve seen a little bit of this Steven Spielberg-produced series about the aftermath of an alien invasion, and we’re pretty close to hooked. There’s a good balance of action and character, the visual effects are first-rate, and the lead performance by Noah Wyle is as good as you’d expect.
Why we’re watching: At this point, we’re inclined to rename the show “Who’s Burning Who?” and make it a British comedy about various agents being intentionally (and accidentally) burned by each other. Michael is poised to finally be unburned in the Season 5 premiere... but that may not end up being what he really wants.
Why we’re watching: Another legal dramedy? We know, we know. But this one, about a hotshot corporate lawyer working with an unlicensed prodigy, features three cast members we’re very much interested in: Gabriel Macht (“Love and Other Drugs”), Gina Torres (“Firefly”) and Patrick J. Adams (“Lost,” “Friday Night Lights”).
Why we’re watching: We could not be more excited about this addition to the FX comedy lineup. Elijah Wood takes on his first TV series leading role in this Aussie import, in what we expect will be a smart buddy comedy. Creator Jason Gann promises to intertwine a deep psychological story with that classic “boys will be boys” (or in this case, “boys will be dogs”) humor.
Premieres: Thursday, June 23 at 10:30 p.m. ET on FX
Why we’re watching: “Louie” is not always easy to watch. The stories comedian Louis C.K. tells often start from a painfully real (and sometimes just plain painful) point. But when the show is at its best, it can deliver a combination of laughs and sharp observations about everyday life that not many other series can match.
Why we’re watching: We. Love. Capers. This smartly written show is vastly underrated, featuring a rag-tag “Ocean’s 11" type gang of con artists who have become do-gooders... in a roundabout, Robin Hood sort of way.
Why we’re watching: So many reasons we’re back for Season 4. Sookie (Anna Paquin) explores her powers as she tries to nurse Eric (Alexander Skarsgard) back from an amnesia courtesy of the new ghouls in town: Witches. And where does that leave Bill as Season 3 found him on the wrong side of vamp leadership? Waiting truly sucks.
Premieres: Wednesday, June 29 at 10 p.m. ET on Showtime
Why we’re watching: It’s been a fun ride with Nancy Botwin and her dysfunctional brood, and though Showtime has yet to pull the plug, creator Jenji Kohan has hinted that Season 7 may be the last for our favorite nomadic family. Season 6 wraps with Momma bear Botwin taking the fall for Shane, and rumor has it we’ll pick up this summer three years later in New York City. If we know Nancy, there’s no way jail has kept that girl down.
Premieres: Wednesday, June 29 at 8:30 p.m. ET on ABC Family
Why we’re watching: We just love the will they are won¿t they chemistry between two of our favorite `90s icons ¿ Melissa Joan Hart and Joey Lawrence. Here’s hoping they will when the show returns this summer.
Premieres: Wednesday, June 29 at 8:30 p.m. ET on ABC Family
Why we’re watching: Raven-Symoné is back as Georgia in the new family friendly comedy, “State of Georgia.” Starring as an aspiring actress in New York City, she is joined by a geeky best friend and a former flame who attempts to bring her back home to her roots. It’s been four years since “That’s So Raven” left the Disney airwaves, and we’re interested to see her transition into a new role for a slightly older audience.
Why we’re watching: We like the idea of spending TV time in the Hampstons without Jill Zarin, Kelly Bensimon and the rest of the “Real Housewives” set. Back for its third season, “Royal Pains” chronicles the crazy world of concierge medicine.
Premieres: Wednesday, June 29 at 10 p.m. ET on USA
Why we’re watching: Hello, it stars Marc Blucas a.k.a. Riley Finn from ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer.’ We’re tuning in for him alone. As if Blucas wasn’t enough eye candy, “True Blood’s” Mehcad Brooks stars as a bad boy football star who is rehabilitated by a psychotherapist (Callie Thorne).
Why we’re watching: More importantly... why wouldn’t we? The U.S. co-produced run of the U.K. sci-fi features an all-star cast (Bill Pullman, Lauren Ambrose) joining returning stars John Barrowman and Eve Myles for an arc-based miniseries about what happens when the everyone on earth stops dying. It boasts a bigger budget, promising more effects and more sex.
Why we’re watching: Because Larry David and co. are pretty, pretty, pretty good. Not to mention the fact that the show has relocated to New York and Larry’s upstairs neighbor is -- wait for it -- Michael J. Fox.
Why we’re watching: Syfy original programming has become appointment viewing in the last few years. We expect nothing less of “Alphas,” a series about a group of rogue civilians with extraordinary mental and physical abilities led by Oscar-nominated actor David Strathairn.
Why we’re watching: This fun mystery series surprised us last yar by becoming one of our favorite summer shows. We watch it for the chemistry between the two leads, Rizzoli (Angie Harmon) and Isles (Sasha Alexander).
Why we’re watching: Another network-based competition, yes. But recent winners Emily Henderson and Antonia Ballatore have proven to be invaluable additions to the HGTV schedule. Also? Judge Candice Olson is forever our HGTV Design Star
Why we’re watching: Tommy Gavin (Denis Leary) has one final shot at redemption as the show begins its last string of episodes. We’ve gone in and out on “Rescue Me” over the years, to be honest, but we’re pretty sure the last act will have our attention.
Why we’re watching: This six-episode series about an artifact hunter - looking for such relics as Arthur’s sword and the Lost Arc of the Covenant - has been compared to “Indiana Jones” and “The DaVinci Code,” so it sounds like the perfect Summer blockbuster fare... without sticky movie theater floors to contend with.
Why we’re watching: Because when we last left this idyllic Maine town that serves as a sanctuary for, well, special people, Audrey had learned a secret about herself and Max Hansen had come back to town. We expect Season 2 will continue to ramp up the excitement.
Why we’re watching: You saw Season 3, right? OK then. Watching Walter White (Bryan Cranston) turn from desperate regular guy to full-blown criminal over the past three seasons has been utterly fascinating to watch, and chances are he’s only going to sink deeper in the coming season. We can’t wait to see where it takes him.
Why we’re watching: Going into the final season of HBO’s “Entourage,” Vince has some serious explaining to do. During his Season 7 downward spiral, mostly thanks to porn star Sasha Grey, Vince’s career and personal life seem to have hit rock bottom. Will Season 8 see him in rehab? It is with both excitement and sadness we’ll be watching the series end, as we look forward to the feature film that is expected to follow.
Premieres: Thursday, July 28 at 9 p.m. ET on Lifetime
Why we’re watching: A slight tweak to the format could give the show a little bit of new energy. The season will start with 20 designers -- the biggest field the show has ever had -- but all of them must make a case to Heidi Klum and the judges as to why they deserve to compete. Four people will be sent home right away, and the remaining 16 will be almost immediately thrown into their first challenge.
Why we’re watching: Because culture clash and ugly-American antics are fun! Snooki, The Situation and Co. head to Florence, Italy, for Season 4 to (in MTV’s words) “learn all about the culture they love and live by.” Which should be interesting, because we weren’t aware that the home of the Medicis and Michelangelo’s David was also the cradle of GTL and fist-pumping.
Why we’re watching: A certain type of person applies to be on “The Bachelor” and “Bachelorette” shows. Watching a group of those people live in a house, compete in “Big Brother"-like challenges, plus go on dates? Sign us up.
Premieres: Sunday, Aug. 14 at 10 p.m. on the Food Network
Why we’re watching: Competition? Food? What’s not to like? The Tyler Florence-hosted show is back for its second season of pitting food trucks against each other in a cross-country race to make food, money and win a $100,000 grand prize.
Why we’re watching: When a poor foster kid, Sutton, discovers that her long lost identical twin sister is living in the lap of luxury, she’s convinced to switch places with Emma for a couple of days. But Emma never returns to switch back. Yes, it sounds a little like the upcoming “The Ringer” - but it’s actually based on a series of books by Sara Shepard, who wrote “Pretty Little Liars,” which never lets us down when it comes to intrigue, romance, and thrilling moments.
Why we’re watching: Expect a late summer return for our favorite gigolo, which will find Ray (Thomas Jane) having a bit of rekindling with ex-wife Jessica (Anne Heche) and contending with increasingly unstable madame Lenore (Rebecca Creskoff).