18 of TV’s Boldest November Sweeps Programming: TheWrap’s Guide

From Hilary Swank’s “Great American Dog-a-Thon” to a frenzy of winter finales, here are our picks of the season

Last Updated: November 6, 2014 @ 10:28 AM

November sweeps has returned, which means broadcast networks will do practically anything in the hopes of attracting viewers and securing the highest advertising rates possible.

Neilsen’s current measuring period runs through Nov. 27 (Thanksgiving), so the next three weeks should be filled with more stunts, crossovers,  and cliffhangers than the rest of the season combined.

From Hilary Swank‘s animal-centered Fox special “The Great American Dog-a-Thon” to the CW’s 200th “Supernatural” episode, which is said to feature singing, there is bound to be a little something for everyone.

TheWrap scanned ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and The CW’s offerings and assembled the following list of the good, the deliciously bad, and the “let’s just throw this on the wall and see if it sticks” of November sweeps episodes:

“Once Upon a Time” two-parter
“Smash the Mirror Part 1” / “Smash the Mirror Part 2” – In Arendelle when the Snow Queen (guest star Elizabeth Mitchell) tries to pit Elsa (Georgina Haig) and Anna (Elizabeth Lail) against each other and it proves more difficult than she anticipates, she takes drastic measures. Meanwhile, in Storybrooke Emma’s (Jennifer Morrison) powers are out of control and her fear of hurting loved ones pushes her away from everyone she cares about. In her confusion Emma turns to Gold (Robert Carlyle) for help getting her powers under control, in this special two hour showing.
“Once Upon a Time’s” two-hour special airs Sunday, Nov. 16 at 8 p.m. on ABC.

“Grey’s Anatomy’s” winter finale and a very special Michelle Obama-designed episode
“Risk” – Maggie (Kelly McCreary) and Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) disagree with Derek (Patrick Dempsey) about the best way to approach a patient’s case, which leads to a bigger argument between the couple. Meanwhile Callie (Sara Ramirez) feels responsible when one of her veterans is pushed too far and one doctor’s routine procedure results in a devastating diagnosis on the winter finale of “Grey’s Anatomy.”

If that wasn’t enough, Thursday’s “Grey’s” episode entitled “Don’t Let Start” was developed by series creator Shonda Rhimes and First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama. It aims to raise awareness for homeless veterans.
“Grey’s Anatomy’s” FLOTUS-inspired episode airs Thursday, Nov. 6 and its fall finale airs Thursday, Nov. 20, both at 8 p.m. on ABC

“Scandal’s” winter finale
“Where the Sun Don’t Shine” – Command is always two steps ahead and everyone in Olivia’s (Kerry Washington) life is in danger. Meanwhile, Cyrus (Jeff Perry) is forced to face the consequences of his behavior, and Huck (Guillermo Diaz) and Quinn (Katie Lowes) finally figure out just what Elizabeth North has been planning, but they might be too late to stop it.
“Scandal’s” fall finale airs Thursday, Nov. 20 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.

How to Get Away With Murder, Viola Davis


“How to Get Away with Murder’s” winter finale
“Kill Me, Kill Me, Kill Me” – It’s the evening of the bonfire and we finally see what exactly happened on the night of Sam’s death on Shondaland’s newest hit.
“How to Get Away with Murder’s” fall finale airs Thursday, Nov. 20 at 10 ET on ABC.

“Frasier’s” David Hyde Pierce joins “The Good Wife”
David Hyde Pierce started his guest starring arc on “The Good Wife” on Sunday and will appear alongside Julianna Margulies twice more on Nov. 16 and Nov. 23 episodes. He plays Frank Prady, a legal commentator on TV, who is fed up with politics in general and the rise in crime in Chicago.
David Hyde Pierce continues his “Good Wife” arc on Sunday, Nov. 16 at 9 p.m. on CBS.

“CSI” sees double with Mark-Paul Gosselaar
“Saved By the Bell” vet Mark-Paul Gosselaar plays twins on “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation’s” Nov. 16 episode, which has The CSI team is seething with frustration when a new victim of the Gig Harbor killer is found. Mark Valley and Patricia Arquette guest star.
“CSI: Crime Scene Investigation’s” Mark-Paul Gisselaar event happens Sunday, Nov. 16 at 10 p.m. on CBS.

“Hawaii Five-0” gets a few famous visitors
Bush lead singer Gavin Rossdale appears on the paradise-set procedural on Nov. 7, while Carol Burnett returns alongside music legend Frankie Valli on Nov. 14.
“Hawaii Five-0” airs Fridays at 9 p.m. on CBS.

Quantum Leap


Scott Bakula reunites with a “Quantum Leap” co-star on “NCIS: New Orleans”
Dean Stockwell guest stars in a Nov. 25 Thanksgiving-themed episode of “NCIS: New Orleans.” It will be a “Quantum Leap” reunion for he and series lead Scott Bakula.
The “Quantum Leap” reunion happens Tuesday, Nov. 25 at 9 p.m. on CBS.

The CW
“The Flash”
Kelly Frye (“Anger Management”) guest stars as Plastique and Clancy Brown (“Sleepy Hollow,” “The Shawshank Redemption”) as General Eiling on an episode of The CW’s smash freshman hit titled “Plastique.”
“The Flash” episode airs Tuesday, Nov. 11 at 8 p.m. on the CW.

Supernatural 200th Party in Vancouver

Diyah Pera/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

“Supernatural’s” 200th episode
Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) get down and dirty with demons for the 200th time on Nov. 11. The special Season 10 episode, which is described as a cross between “Supernatural” and Wes Anderson‘s “Rushmore,” will reportedly even have its fair share of singing.
“Supernatural’s” 200th episode airs Tuesday, Nov. 11 at 9 p.m. on the CW.

Rebekah returns to “The Originals”
Rebekah (Claire Holt) left “The Vampire Diaries” spin-off after only one season, but she’s set to return to New Orleans for a Nov. 24 episode of “The Originals.”
Rebekah returns to “The Originals” on Monday, Nov. 24 at 8 p.m. on the CW.


Simpsons/Futurama crossover


On a special crossover episode of “The Simpsons,” “Futurama’s” The Planet Express crew (guest voices Billy West, Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio, Maurice LaMarche, Phil LaMarr, Lauren Tom and Tress MacNeille) comes to present-day Springfield to prevent the Simpsons from destroying the future. Hilarity will likely ensue.
“The Simpsons” / “Futurama” crossover episode airs Sunday, Nov. 9 at 8 p.m. on Fox.

Harvey Dent joins “Gotham”
Trying to close the Wayne murder case, a young Harvey Dent (guest star Nicholas D’ Agosto) and Gordon (Ben McKenzie) team up, much to Mayor James’ (guest star Richard Kind) chagrin. Meanwhile, Penguin (Robin Taylor) makes contact with Mooney’s (Jada Pinkett Smith) secret weapon, Liza (guest star Mackenzie Leigh).
Harvey Dent joins “Gotham” Monday, Nov. 17 at 8 p.m. on Fox.

Hilary Swank and a dog


Hilary Swank’s Great American Dog-a-Thon
Actress and animal advocate Hilary Swank is executive-producing and co-hosting “The Great American Dog-a-Thon” on Thanksgiving night. Throw the philanthropist a bone and watch her doggone rescue special.
“The Great American Dog-a-Thon” airs Thursday, Nov. 27 at 8 p.m. on Fox.

“The Biggest Loser: Glory Days” gets a visit from NFL superstars
It’s a special week for the “Biggest Loser” contestants when three NFL Super Bowl champs – Donald Driver and NFL Network analysts Michael Irvin and Willie McGinest – arrive to put them through a vigorous NFL-style workout. The visit is even more special for the two former NFL players who are contestants this season, Scott Mitchell and Super Bowl champ Damien Woody, who was a teammate of McGinest’s when they played together for the New England Patriots.
The special episode of “The Biggest Loser” airs Thursday, Nov. 6 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.

“Chicago Fire” / “Law & Order: SVU” / “Chicago PD’s” crossover
First, a routine house fire reveals evidence that demands the attention of the Chicago PD. Next, a child pornography ring sends the Chicago PD to New York City, where they team up with Sgt. Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and the Manhattan SVU. Then, the SVU travels back to Chicago to help take down a pedophilia ring at its source.
“Chicago Fire” / “Law & Order: SVU” / “Chicago PD’s” crossover begins Tuesday, Nov. 11 at 10 p.m. and runs through Wednesday, Nov. 12 on NBC.

The Voice, Gwen Stefani, Pharrell


“The Voice’s” Top 12 artists perform
The reality competition show’s top 12 artists perform live in front of coaches Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani and Pharrell Williams. Carson Daly will host.
“The Voice’s” Top 12 episode airs Monday, Nov. 17 at 8 p.m. on NBC.