Televised fireworks displays, movies celebrating Americana and daylong sci-fi marathons. It must be Independence Day. Here's a look at the special programming across the TV landscape Wednesday, the Fourth.
Bombs bursting in air
Live telecasts of big-city fireworks displays will showcase New York, Boston, Washington, Dallas and Houston.
If you want a Texas-style celebration, WFAA/Channel 8's local coverage of the Fair Park Fourth fireworks display from the Cotton Bowl begins at 9 p.m. Channel 8 news anchors Shelly Slater and Ron Corning are hosts. Meanwhile, KTXA/Channel 21 serves up a two-hour telecast from Houston, beginning at 8 p.m. and featuring performances by country music artists Billy Currington and Sara Evans.
Macy's 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular from New York begins at 8 p.m. on NBC (KXAS/Channel 5). The show features musical performances by chart-toppers Katy Perry and Kenny Chesney.
The Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular airs at 9 p.m. on CBS (KTVT/Channel 11), with Jennifer Hudson performing with the Boston Pops. As usual, the big finale will be a fireworks display during the Pops' iconic performance of Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture."
A Capitol Fourth from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol airs at 7 p.m. on PBS (KERA/Channel 13). In addition to the National Symphony Orchestra, performers include American Idol champ Phillip Phillips, Broadway stars Matthew Broderick, Kelli O'Hara and Megan Hilty and country artist Josh Turner.
Proud to be an American moviegoer
Turner Classic Movies presents a toe-taping lineup of patriotic films, beginning with 1776, the film version of the stage musical, at 4 p.m. It's followed, at 7 p.m., by Yankee Doodle Dandy, starring James Cagney as composer George M. Cohan. Then there's Stars and Stripes Forever, starring Clifton Webb as composer John Philip Sousa, at 9:15.
AMC counters with The Patriot, starring Mel Gibson as a Revolutionary War leader, at 3:30 p.m. and Independence Day, the alien-invasion blockbuster, at 7 p.m.
History channel recaps the story of the American Revolution with an 11-hour marathon of The Revolution, beginning at 6 a.m. The Military Channel covers the same chapter in our history with 17 straight hours of The Revolutionary War, beginning at 10 a.m.
History's sister network, H2, offers 11 hours of a different documentary series, The Presidents, also beginning at 6 a.m. Then H2 airs the acclaimed documentary America the Story of Us, at 7 p.m.
National Geographic Channel's lineup of July 4th documentaries includes July 4: Exploding the Myths at 8 a.m., America Before Columbus at 2 p.m. and The Real George Washington at 5 p.m.
And Spike TV goes to war with a marathon of HBO's acclaimed WWII drama Band of Brothers, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
It has been a Syfy tradition for nearly two decades to mark the Fourth with a Twilight Zone marathon, not that one has anything to do with the other. The 21-hour lineup of Rod Serling classics begins at 7 a.m.
Two other incongruous science fiction-and-the Fourth combos: a Star Trek: The Next Generation marathon on BBC America, beginning at 7 a.m., and a Firefly festival on the Science Channel, at 7 a.m.
Food-filled marathons include 21 hours of BBQ Pitmasters on Destination America, beginning at 8 a.m., and nine hours of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives on the Food Network, beginning at 9 a.m.
And still there's more: NCIS (13 hours, beginning at 9 a.m.) on USA; House (24 hours, beginning at 5 a.m.) on Cloo; Scare Tactics (20 hours, beginning at 5 a.m.) on Chiller; Auction Kings (nine hours, beginning at 8 a.m.) on Discovery; Dog Whisperer (20 hours, beginning at 6 a.m.) on National Geographic Wild; Kendra on Top (eight hours, beginning at 9 a.m.) on WE; and Cajun Pawn Stars (eight hours, beginning at 7 p.m.) on History.