PENNY JOHNSON JERALD, 50: The Juilliard alumna who's done fine work in everything from The Larry Sanders Show to DC 9/11: Time of Crisis (as Condoleezza Rice) — and is etched into the memories of 24 viewers as ruthless Penny Palmer — becomes the new top cop on ABC's Castle. Captain Victoria "Iron" Gates is reportedly going to be more interested in her own career advancement than in doing any real police work, and she'll be tougher on Castle and Beckett (Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic) than her predecessor.
SIMON COWELL, 51: He's back! Fox forces can talk all they want to about the many and varied aspects of Simon Cowell's forthcoming American version of his British talent competition show X Factor. They can try to convince us it is different from all the other talent competitions populating the tube but it doesn't matter. What matters is that Cowell, with all of his "dark charm," as network president Kevin Reilly calls it, is back in the judges seat, complete with daffy sidekick Paula Abdul, and Fox has shaped its entire primetime lineup around the show.