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 Jun 29 - Jul 5, 2017 
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Idiot Box

Fireworks and Food

Independence Day around the dial

By Devin D. O’Leary

The 4th of July hits on a Tuesday this year. A lousy Tuesday! Odds are you’ll get your fill of parties and barbecues on Saturday and Sunday, and by the time Tuesday rolls around, you’ll be sitting at home just trying to stay cool. You know what that means, don’t you? Another holiday spent glued to the idiot box!

So what sort of 4th of July-oriented programming are the various broadcast and cable networks offering us this fine Independence Day? Let’s fire up the remote and take a look.

There are two directions this sort of programming experience can take: highly patriotic or highly caloric. ESPN goes the caloric way, starting us off bright and early with “The 2017 Hot Dog Eating Contest” (ESPN2 10am) live from Coney Island, N.Y. Naturally, the Cooking Channel is sticking with food, offering a day-long marathon of grillin’ and chillin’. “Big Bad BBQ Brawl” (Cooking 12pm to 9pm) features a sauce-slathered mess of episodes from the past season. Be sure to tune in at 5:30pm to catch host Shannon Ambrosio smokin’ it up in a head-to-head battle with Albuquerque’s own Pepper’s BBQ. Not to be left out, “Chopped Junior” (Food Network 6pm) serves up its “Cookin’ For a Cookout” episode in which the young chefs must concentrate on three rounds of grilled and smoked meats. I’m full just reading about these.

On the patriotic side of things, HBO goes all historical on us, giving us “The Words That Built America” (HBO 5pm). In this speech-centric documentary, filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi (daughter of Nancy Pelosi) brings together over 100 people—including all living presidents and vice presidents—to read the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Of course, you can’t really love America, the political documents that founded it or the delicious fire-cooked meats it consumes every year at this time without some good old explosives. If you’re looking for fireworks. check out “Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular” (KOB-4 7pm). Musicians Lady Antebellum, Brad Paisley, Hailee Steinfeld and the West Point Glee Club will be on hand to provide some musical accompaniment as things explode in the sky over New York City. Akbar Gbajabiamila and Matt Iseman from “American Ninja Warrior” (extra patriotic!) host. If you’re looking for something a little more low-key, there’s “A Capitol Fourth” (KNME-5 7pm) from Washington, DC. Dan Aykroyd and Jim Belushi will be there performing as the Blues Brothers—which sounds kinda weak, but John’s dead and there’s nothing we can do about it. Also, they’ve got The Beach Boys “featuring John Stamos and Mark McGrath”—which sounds like the totally wrong direction to go in if we want to make America great again. Oh well, pass me some more of that barbecue.

 
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