Back in Prime Time

updated 09/26/2005 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/26/2005 AT 01:00 AM EDT

•JENNIFER LOVE HEWITT
From Party of Five to Ghost Whisperer

CBS, FRIDAYS, 8 P.M. ET
After five years of film work, Hewitt returns to a show that could alternatively be named I Know What You Did in the Afterlife. The actress, whose last series was the Party of Five spinoff Time of Your Life, plays a newlywed who can communicate with the dead. To prepare, she followed one of the show's psychic consultants for a day on the job. "I watched her ghost-bust some houses in L.A.," says Hewitt, 26. "Her head doesn't spin around like you would think. But it's really neat."

•HOLLY ROBINSON PEETE
From Hangin' with Mr. Cooper to Love, Inc.

UPN, THURSDAYS, 9:30 P.M. ET
Portraying a fast-paced businesswoman in her new series isn't much of a stretch for the multitasking Peete, 41, the mother of four kids ages 7 months to 7 (her husband is retired NFL quarterback Rodney Peete, 39). She also has a deal to design a line of maternity clothing and recently published a woman's guide to pro football called Get Your Own Damn Beer, I'm Watching the Game. Finally having a Mr. Mom at home helps—after a period of adjustment. "All of a sudden, he's home," she says. "It was like, 'Damn, isn't there a team that needs you?' "

•BENJAMIN BRATT
From Law & Order to E-Ring

NBC, WEDNESDAYS, 9 P.M. ET
To shoot the military drama, Bratt, 41, and his wife, actress Talisa Soto, 38, relocated from New York City to L.A. "It's a big adjustment," says Bratt, who played L&O detective Rey Curtis for four seasons. "The logic of taking the series was I would have more free time and a home life. It ain't happening. I leave in darkness and get home in darkness. That [work-life] balance needs constant attention." The couple, who have a 2-year-old, Sophia, will welcome another baby this fall. "I can't tell you the last date I went out on, and I'm hurting for sleep," he says. "But it's all worth it."

•DON JOHNSON
From Miami Vice and Nash Bridges to Just Legal

THE WB, MONDAYS, 9 P.M. ET
So what on earth drew Johnson to the role of Grant Cooper, a washed-up trial lawyer? "I don't want to betray any confidences," says the twice-divorced Johnson, 55, "but I've had a lot of experience with attorneys." Johnson's ex Melanie Griffith coincidentally has a new show, Twins, on the same network. "Melanie's working? I'm kidding!" says Johnson, who has two kids with wife Kelley Phleger, 37. He and Griffith "have a beautiful daughter together [Dakota, 15]. I'm gonna bet that she watches both shows. I still got the leash on her with the driver's license and the car."

•BRADLEY COOPER
From Alias to Kitchen Confidential

FOX, MONDAYS, 8:30 P.M. ET
"I've learned so much, like never eat sushi on Mondays, avoid hollandaise sauce, be careful about brunch," rattles off the star of the new sitcom based on chef Anthony Bourdain's 2000 tell-all about the New York City restaurant scene. Coming off a breakout role as the tormenting fiancé in this summer's Wedding Crashers, Cooper—who played Jennifer Garner's journalist friend on Alias and appeared on Jack & Bobby last year—isn't using his new visibility to secure better tables at restaurants. "I'm one of those guys where all I do is cook," says the 30-year-old bachelor. "It's therapeutic for me, so whenever I can get a couple hours in the kitchen, I take it."

•MING-NA
From ER to Inconceivable

NBC, FRIDAYS, 10 P.M. ET
After playing Dr. Deb Chen on ER, Ming-Na, 41, is back on another NBC drama as... a doctor? The setting is a fertility clinic—but think Nip/Tuck, not the Discovery Channel. "You need sex to have the baby!" she says. "It's not just all medicine." After signing on, she found out she was expecting. "I threw them a curveball," says the actress, who is due in October and will have her pregnancy written into the show. "You know, I'm such a Method actor!"

•BRIAN AUSTIN GREEN
From Beverly Hills, 90210 to Freddie

ABC, WEDNESDAYS, 8:30 P.M. ET
It's hard to believe it has been 15 years since Green's debut as 90210's David Silver—until he starts telling stories. "Tiger Beat would bring actors on a bus to take pictures at Sea World," he recalls. "We'd just wreak havoc, spraying silly string in [Saved by the Bell star] Dustin Diamond's hair." Green, 32, who has a 3-year-old son with ex-fiancée Vanessa Marcil, exhibits a more mature form of male bonding playing Freddie Prinze Jr.'s best friend. "From the first night," says Green, "we sat and had drinks, we were cracking on each other."

MORE ON: Bradley Cooper

From Our Partners