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2021 TV premiere dates, including 'Kenan,' 'American Idol': Your favorite shows, new addictions

Erin Jensen
USA TODAY

Continuing to social distance and shelter in place to slow the spread of coronavirus leaves us with a lot of time on our (sanitized) hands. Thankfully, TV shows are here to offer a distraction (and a reason to stay inside) amid chilly temps.

Given the lagging effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on production, offerings are slimmer than usual. But there are still new releases to be excited about. Networks continue to reach to the past for inspiration: This winter will see the premieres of "Walker," CW's remake of "Walker, Texas Ranger"; "The Equalizer," "Clarice" (based on the character from "Silence of the Lambs"); and "Punky Brewster."

Our calendar of major highlights ensures you won't miss the return of your favorite series or the start of a new show you'll fall in love with. (All times EST/PST.) 

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Kyra Sedgwick in a scene from "Call Your Mother."

Jan. 13

"Call Your Mother" (ABC, Wednesdays at 9:30): Kyra Sedgwick stars as an empty-nester who "reinserts" herself into her children's families in this new sitcom. 

"Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer" (Netflix): In 1985, two detectives hunt for a relentless serial killer, a dark blot in the sunny world of L.A. 

Jan. 14

"The Event" (HBO Max): The series centers on chef and restaurateur Wolfgang Puck, as he and his team prepare for special occasions.

Jan. 15

"Bling Empire" (Netflix): A group of rich Asian and Asian American friends enjoy parties and shopping sprees in Los Angeles when they're not running multibillion-dollar businesses and jetting around the world.

"Servant" (Apple TV+)

"WandaVision" (Disney+, weekly): Elizabeth Olsen (Wanda Maximoff) and Paul Bettany (Vision) reprise their Marvel Cinematic Universe characters for the series.

Jan. 17

"Batwoman" (CW, Sundays at 8)

Jan. 18

"All American" (CW, Mondays at 8)

"9-1-1" (Fox, Mondays at 8)

"9-1-1: Lone Star" (Fox, Mondays at 9)

KJ Apa stars in "Riverdale."

Jan. 20

"Riverdale" (CW, Wednesdays at 8)

"Nancy Drew" (CW, Wednesdays at 9)

Jan. 21

"Walker" (CW, at 8): Jared Padalecki stars as Cordell Walker, in this reboot of the Chuck Norris series, "Walker, Texas Ranger" (1993-2001). Padalecki's Cordell has lost his wife and begins questioning her death. 

"Legacies" (CW, at 9)

Jan. 24

"Charmed" (CW, Sundays at 9)

Jan. 25

"Snowpiercer" (TNT, Mondays at 9)

Jan. 26

“To Tell the Truth” (ABC, Tuesdays at 8)

"Mixed-ish" (ABC, Tuesdays at 9:30)

Feb. 3

"Firefly Lane" (Netflix): Katherine Heigl and Sarah Chalke in an adaptation of Kristin Hannah's book about two women who have been besties for decades.

Queen Latifah stars in "The Equalizer."

Feb. 7

"The Equalizer" (CBS, Feb. 7 at approx. 10 EST/7 PST, following the Super Bowl; then Sundays at 8 beginning Feb. 14): Queen Latifah stars in this revamp of the 1980s CBS series as Robyn McCall, "who uses her extensive skills to help those with nowhere else to turn."

Feb. 8

"Black Lightning" (CW, Mondays at 9): Fourth and final season of the superhero drama.

Feb. 10

"Tough as Nails" (CBS, Wednesdays at 8)

Rebecca Breeds embodies FBI agent Clarice Starling in CBS' "Silence of the Lambs" spin-off "Clarice."

Feb. 11

"Clarice" (CBS, Thursdays at 10): Rebecca Breeds stars as FBI Agent Clarice Starling in the series that picks up a year after the Oscar-winning "The Silence of the Lambs” (in which Jodie Foster played Starlileaves off.

Feb. 14

"American Idol” (ABC, Sundays at 8)

Feb. 16

"Young Rock" (NBC, Tuesdays at 8): A "Young Sheldon"-style sitcom inspired by the formative years of wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, with an actor playing a young version of the megastar. 

"Kenan" (NBC, Tuesdays at 8:30): "Saturday Night Live" star Kenan Thompson plays a widowed dad, and host of an Atlanta morning show, in this new comedy. 

Feb. 19

"For All Mankind" (Apple TV+)

Feb. 23

"The Flash" (CW, Tuesdays at 8)

"Superman & Lois" (CW, Tuesdays at 9): Tyler Hoechlin and Elizabeth Tulloch star in the latest series depicting the relationship between Clark Kent's superhero alter ego and journalist Lois Lane. 

Feb. 24

"Snowfall" Season 4 (FX, Wednesdays at 10)

The cast of the "Punky Brewster" revival (from left to right): Lauren Lindsey Donzis, Noah Cottrell, Cherie Johnson, Soleil Moon Frye, Oliver De Los Santos, Quinn Copeland and Freddie Prinze Jr.

Feb. 25

"Punky Brewster" (Peacock): The revival of the 80s comedy revisits Punky, now a single mom with three children, who bonds with a child in foster care named Izzy.

March 26

"Solar Opposites" (Hulu) 

Earlier premieres:

Dec. 4

"The Great British Baking Show: Holidays: Season 3" (Netflix): Four favorite contestants return to the tent to bake holiday treats.

"Selena: The Series" (Netflix): A series about the life of the late Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla-Perez, starring Christian Serratos. 

Dec. 6

"Power Book II: Ghost (Starz, Sundays at 9)

"Shameless" (Showtime, Sundays at 9): The final season. 

"Your Honor" (Showtime, Sundays at 10): Bryan Cranston stars as a morally upstanding New Orleans judge who faces a heartbreaking choice when his teenage son (Hunter Doohan) kills a boy on a motorcycle in a hit-and-run accident.

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Dec. 14

"Celebrity IOU": Season 2 (HGTV, Mondays at 9)

"Tiny Pretty Things" (Netflix): After a star student is attacked, her replacement enters the cutthroat world of ballet competition. 

Dec. 17

"The Stand" (CBS All Access, Thursdays): In the limited series inspired by Stephen King’s novel, Whoopi Goldberg plays centenarian Mother Abagail, who is tasked with saving the world from Randall Flagg, aka the Dark Man played by Alexander Skarsgård.

Dec. 25

"Bridgerton" (Netflix): A romantic series about the eldest daughter of a powerful family who makes her debut in Regency London's competitive marriage market and catches the attention of a high society scandal sheet. From Shonda Rhimes' production company Shondaland. 

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Dec. 27

"The Masked Dancer" (Fox, Sunday at 8 EST/5 PST for premiere, then Wednesdays at 8 EST/PST beginning Jan. 6): For the show hosted by actor/comedian Craig Robinson, the identities of costumed celebs are guessed from their dancing. Standup Ken Jeong, singer/choreographer Paula Abdul, actor Brian Austin Green and "High School Musical" star Ashley Tisdale will serve as the celebrity panel.

Dec. 31

"Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: Part 4" (Netflix)

Jan. 1

"Cobra Kai" (Season 3) (Netflix)

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Jan. 3

"Call Me Kat" (Fox, Sunday at 8, then Thursdays at 9 beginning Jan. 7): Mayim Bialik's Kat is a happily single 39-year-old woman who owns a cat café in Kentucky, until her good friend (and onetime crush), Max (Cheyenne Jackson), returns to Louisville. 

"The Great North" (Fox, preview Sunday at 8:30, then Feb. 14): Fox's latest animated series stars Nick Offerman as an Alaskan dad. 

"Last Man Standing" (Fox, Sunday at 9:30, then Thursdays at 9:30 beginning Jan. 7): The final season. 

"The Simpsons" (Fox, Sundays at 8)

"The Rookie" (ABC, Sundays at 10)

It's Matt James' turn as "The Bachelor."

Jan. 4

"The Bachelor" (ABC, Mondays at 8)

Jan. 5

"Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist" (NBC, Tuesdays at 8)

Jan. 7

Celebrity Wheel of Fortune” (ABC, Thursdays at 8): Pat Sajak and Vanna White host celebrity challengers as they try to rack up cash for their selected charity.   

"Mr. Mayor" (NBC, Thursday at 8; then 8:30 on Jan. 14): Ted Danson stars as a retired businessman who runs for mayor of Los Angeles in this comedy produced by Tina Fey.

"Hell's Kitchen" (Fox, Thursdays at 8)

"Go-Big Show" (TBS, Thursdays at 9): An amped-up version of "America's Got Talent" that features monster trucks and alligator wrangling. Snoop Dogg and Rosario Dawson are among the judges.

The Chase” (ABC, Thursdays at 9): "Jeopardy!" legends Ken Jennings, James Holzhauer and Brad Rutter take turns performing the role of the Chaser for the series, in which "three competitors must pit their wits and face off against a ruthless quiz genius determined to stop them from winning cash prizes." 

“The Hustler” (ABC, Thursdays at 10): Craig Ferguson hosts the new game show in which five players – one of which is the Hustler – answer questions. 

"Coyote" (CBS All Access): Michael Chiklis ("The Shield") stars as a border patrol agent who's forced to work for the "very people he spent his career trying to keep out of America." 

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Jan. 8

"Dickinson" Season 2 (Apple TV+)

Jan. 10

“American Gods” (Starz, Sundays at 8)

Jan. 12

"The Resident" (Fox, Tuesdays at 8)

"Prodigal Sun" (Fox, Tuesdays at 9)

"Two Sentence Horror Stories" (The CW, Tuesdays at 8)

Contributing: Carly Mallenbaum, Kelly Lawler, Gary Levin and Bill Keveney

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