TV lights up the night (and day) on the Fourth of July

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - On Tv -

Tele­vi­sion never misses the chance to help Amer­ica cel­e­brate its in­de­pen­dence, and so it is again this year.

As usual, hol­i­day spe­cials, movies and se­ries marathons will mark the oc­ca­sion Thurs­day, July 4 – in­clud­ing two tra­di­tional of­fer­ings guar­an­teed to be enough to set off fire­works, lit­er­ally.

NBC will tele­vise its Macy’s 4th of July Fire­works Spectacula­r, with mu­sic ac­com­pa­ny­ing the vi­su­als, some of it pro­vided by per­form­ers on site in New York. Among sched­uled par­tic­i­pants are Luke Bryan, Maren Mor­ris and Brad Pais­ley.

PBS will pre­sent the an­nual, largely mu­si­cal show­case “A Capi­tol Fourth” (check lo­cal list­ings), with John Sta­mos in his third con­sec­u­tive year as host. Based in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., the show will spot­light vet­eran singer-song­writer Ca­role King – per­form­ing her­self, and joined by the Broad­way cast of the stage hit in­spired by her life and songs, “Beau­ti­ful” (which has just welcomed Vanessa Carl­ton as King). Col­bie Cail­lat, Vanessa Wil­liams and Yolanda Adams also are on the bill.

On the July 4th film front, Turner Clas­sic Movies also main­tains tra­di­tion with two ap­pro­pri­ate fea­tures typically shown there on that date. “Yan­kee Doo­dle Dandy” cel­e­brates Ge­orge M. Co­han, the show­man “born on the Fourth of July,” with James Cag­ney in an Os­car-win­ning per­for­mance. Then, “1776” brings to film the stage mu­si­cal about the sign­ing of the Dec­la­ra­tion of In­de­pen­dence, with much of the orig­i­nal Broad­way cast.

Show­time of­fers Harrison Ford as a U.S. pres­i­dent fight­ing hi­jack­ers aboard “Air Force One,” and also presents the Civil War drama “Glory,” fea­tur­ing Denzel Wash­ing­ton in the per­for­mance that earned him his first Academy Award.

Tom Cruise soars among “the best of the best” as Para­mount Net­work presents “Top Gun” – and this is a good time to catch up with it, since the ac­tor will reprise the role of pi­lot Mav­er­ick in a se­quel slated for re­lease next sum­mer.

As for an­other all-Amer­i­can hero, Rocky Bal­boa goes sev­eral rounds on EPIX, which shows Sylvester Stal­lone’s first five “Rocky” movies in or­der. Out-of-this-world heroes also have their day on the Fourth, with TNT ex­hibit­ing sev­eral of the “Star Wars” ad­ven­tures that fol­lowed the orig­i­nal tril­ogy. And FX gives the hol­i­day over to heroes of the Mar­vel kind with a movie marathon that in­cludes “The Amaz­ing Spi­der-Man 2,” “Cap­tain Amer­ica: The First Avenger” and “X-Men: Apoca­lypse.”

And July 4th se­ries marathons run from K to Z (“Keep­ing Up With the Kar­dashi­ans” on E! En­ter­tain­ment Tele­vi­sion, and zom­bies on “The Walk­ing Dead” on AMC), with “Law & Or­der” (Sun­dance), “Two and a Half Men” (IFC), “Gil­more Girls” (UP) and “Last Man Stand­ing” (WGN Amer­ica) also in the mix.

Wher­ever your pa­tri­otic tastes run this Fourth of July, then, TV should have you well-cov­ered.


Brad Pais­ley per­forms on Thurs­day’s NBC broad­cast of the Macy’s 4th of July Fire­works Spectacula­r.

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