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Boomer Stars Are All Over TV

These age 50+ favorites are in new and returning shows

  • Mark Harmon in NCIS.
    CBS Broadcasting Inc.

    Mark Harmon

    People magazine’s "Sexiest Man Alive" of 1986 is now 61 years old. Harmon’s credits include TV classics like St. Elsewhere. Today he headlines the cast of NCIS as it goes into its 11th season as the top-rated scripted drama on TV — and number one show overall last year.

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  • Allison Janney and Anna Faris in Mom.
    Monty Brinton/CBS/Getty Images

    Allison Janney

    Viewers remember Janney, 53, as C.J. Cregg, the calming, maternal presence for the staff on The West Wing. In the new CBS sitcom Mom, she’s the anti-C.J. — a boozy, impulsive mother who takes in her granddaughter and newly sober daughter (Anna Farris, near left).

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  • Andre Braugher in Brooklyn Nine-Nine
    Courtesy Fox/Getty Images

    Andre Braugher

    The fed-up older police chief trying to reign in a hotshot young detective is an old cop show trope, but if anyone can make the cliché feel fresh, it’s Braugher. The wily vet, 51, pairs up with former Saturday Night Live comic Andy Samberg on the new Fox sitcom Brooklyn Ninety-Nine.

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  • Blair Underwood in Ironside.
    Will Hart/NBC Universal

    Blair Underwood

    The former L.A. Law star (with costar Kenneth Choi) has always had a cocky, brash appeal. He’ll need all his bravado to take on the role of Ironside, the wheelchair-bound detective created by Raymond Burr in NBC’s reboot of the classic cop show. Underwood turns 50 next year.

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  • Christine Baranski and Josh Charles in The Good Wife.
    CBS Broadcasting, Inc.

    Christine Baranski

    The veteran stage and screen actress (pictured with TV partner Josh Charles) returns for season five of the hit CBS legal drama The Good Wife. It may be Julianna Margulies’ show, but Baranski, 61, has nabbed four Emmy nominations as the good wife’s boss, formidable attorney Diane Lockhart.

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  • Ed O'Neill and Rico Rodriguez in Modern Family.
    Peter “Hopper” Stone/ABC/Getty Images

    Ed O’Neill

    His two most famous roles, as Al Bundy on Married… with Children and “Papadaddy” Jay Pritchett on ABC’s Modern Family, might just trace the evolution of modern fatherhood over the past two decades. O’Neill, 67 (with TV stepson Rico Rodriguez), stands tall in the pantheon of TV dads.

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  • Kim Roberts and Isaiah Whitlock, Jr. in Lucky 7.
    John Medland/ABC/Getty Images

    Isiah Whitlock Jr.

    On the new ABC sitcom Lucky 7, Whitlock, 58, (with Kim Roberts) is among a group of gas station workers who share a winning lottery ticket. That news might have prompted Clay Davis, the politico played by the actor on The Wire, to utter his famous catchphrase (which we can't reprint here).

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  • Jane Lynch in Glee.
    Adam Rose/Fox/Everett Collection

    Jane Lynch

    Leave it to serial scene-stealer Lynch, 53, to turn Sue Sylvester, the abrasive cheerleading coach at McKinley High, into the most watchable character on Glee, Fox’s high school musical drama, which begins a fifth season in September.

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  • Kevin Bacon in The Following.
    Sarah Shatz/Fox/Everett Collection

    Kevin Bacon

    As an FBI agent chasing a serial killer, Bacon, 55, stepped into his first regular TV role with Fox’s The Following, and it’s clear he brings star power to the complicated character. It was a breakout midseason hit and returns for its second season in early 2014.

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  • Sean Hayes and Linda Lavin in Sean Saves the World
    Courtesy NBC Universal

    Linda Lavin

    Lavin, 75, hasn’t been on TV since she was slinging hash at Mel’s Diner in Alice, which signed off the air in 1985. After several decorated decades in theater, she returns to a sitcom as the nosy mom of Will & Grace alum Sean Hayes (pictured) on NBC’s Sean Saves the World.

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  • Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin in Homeland
    Kent Smith/Showtime/Everett Collection

    Mandy Patinkin

    As CIA agent Saul Berenson on Showtime’s award-winning Homeland, Patinkin, 60, whose TV credits include Chicago Hope and Criminal Minds, appears to be a caring father-figure and mentor to analyst and operative Carrie (Claire Danes, pictured).

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  • Marcia Gay Harden, Bradley Whitford and Gianna LePera in Trophy Wife.
    Peter “Hopper” Stone/ABC/Getty Images

    Whitford and Harden

    The West Wing vet Bradley Whitford and Oscar winner Marcia Gay Harden, both 53, play exes on ABC’s new sitcom Trophy Wife. It’s Harden’s first regular role on a network show in a dozen years, though she’s recently had meaty parts on cable hits Damages and The Newsroom.

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  • Michael J. Fox and Jack Gore in The Michael J. Fox Show.
    Eric LIebowitz/NBC

    Michael J. Fox

    His last regular TV role (Spin City) was a dozen years ago. Since then, Fox, 52, with TV son Jack Gore, has focused on Parkinson’s disease advocacy. He returns in The Michael J. Fox Show, based on his own family ties as a celeb dad living with Parkinson’s and raising kids in Manhattan.

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  • Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar in The Crazy Ones.
    Richard Cartwright/CBS

    Robin Williams

    It’s a lot of years since Robin Williams’ previous TV sitcom, Mork & Mindy, but he may be perfectly cast in CBS’ The Crazy Ones. Williams, 62, returns to prime time as an ad man running an agency with his daughter (Sarah Michelle Gellar, pictured).

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  • Ted Danson and Gary Sinise in CSI
    Monty Brinton/CBS Broadcasting Inc.

    Ted Danson

    CBS struck gold in 2011 when Danson, 65, joined the CSI cast. The series enters its 14th season. (Until recently, Gary Sinise, 58, pictured with Danson, was on CSI:NY.) Danson’s history made a prime-time return appealing: After all, sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name.

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  • Tom Selleck in Blue Bloods.
    Jojo Whilden/CBS Broadcasting Inc.

    Tom Selleck

    The 68-year-old was already a huge TV star — the man was Magnum, P.I. after all — long before Blue Bloods premiered on CBS in 2010. As principled NYC police commissioner Frank Reagan, he’s as comforting and reliable as a Sunday family dinner.

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  • Michael Desmond/ABC/Getty Images
    Michael Desmond/ABC/Getty Images

    Tony Goldwyn

    As President Fitzgerald Grant on ABC’s addictive political drama Scandal, Goldwyn, 53, is a brand-new kind of TV commander-in-chief: an Oval Office inhabitant (and philanderer) who isn’t even the most powerful person on his own show. That would be Kerry Washington (pictured), as Olivia Pope.

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