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Fourth of July TV schedule: A star-spangled day of movies, marathons, more

NBC airs the "Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks

NBC airs the "Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular" Thursday at 8 p.m. Credit: NBC/Craig Blankenhorn

As TV salutes Independence Day, it also offers Thursday marathons for leisure viewing.


Hot Dog Eating Contest (ESPN2, noon) — Live coverage of the annual Coney Island chow-down. But first, appetizers, with previous slurpfests airing overnight Wednesday (midnight-6 a.m. on ESPN News). And if you miss 2019’s live hour, its thrills will encore at 3 and 4 p.m. on ESPN2, plus 7 and midnight on ESPN News.

Fireworks — NBC’s traditional Macy’s spectacular airs live at 8 p.m., with Kelly Clarkson, Ricky Martin and Keith Urban. CMT has 11 p.m.’s Nashville pyrotechnics, after 10 p.m.’s live Brett Eldredge concert.


Liberty’s Kids (Encore Family, 6 a.m.-10:40 p.m.) — Animated 2002 history half-hours have legendary newsman Walter Cronkite voicing Ben Franklin.

America: The Story of Us (History, 8 a.m.-8 p.m.) — The country’s entire 400-year history is recounted in this 2010 docu/drama series.

Sons of Liberty (Encore Classic, 1:51-6:19 p.m.) — Miniseries from 2015 tracks revolutionaries played by Ben Barnes, Henry Thomas, Jason O’Mara and Dean Norris.

American musicals (TCM, 8 p.m.-4 a.m.) — James Cagney is patriotic composer George M. Cohan in “Yankee Doodle Dandy.” Next, William Daniels plays John Adams in “1776” (10:15 p.m.), and Robert Preston stars as “The Music Man” (1:15 a.m.).


Watch multiple franchise titles of “Jaws” (Encore, 7 a.m.-2:15 p.m., again 2:15-9:33 p.m.); “Charlie’s Angels” (Showtime, 8-11:30 a.m.); “The Librarian” (UP, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.); “Red” (Paramount, 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m., again 7:30 p.m.-1 a.m.); “X-Men” (FX, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.); “Star Wars” (TNT, 10:50 a.m.-2 a.m.); “Jurassic Park” (USA, 11:43 a.m.-7:30 p.m.), plus “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” (HBO, 10:45 a.m.); “Captain America” (FX, 7 p.m.-12:30 a.m.); “The Bourne Identity” (HBO, 11 p.m.-2:55 a.m.).


Vintage lineups offer John Wayne Westerns (TCM, 7:15 a.m.-1:45 p.m.); film noir faves (Movies!, 8:30 a.m.-6 a.m. Friday); the ‘90s “Addams Family” (IFC, 10:45 a.m.-3 p.m.); ‘80s “Ghostbusters” (UP, 3-8 p.m., again 8 p.m.-1 a.m.); classic musicals (MGM, 4 p.m.-3:30 a.m.); Beach Boys mini/movie (Sony, 4:50-10:10 p.m.); ‘60s beach parties (thisTV, 6 p.m.-4 a.m.).


Comedy stackups include “All in the Family” (getTV, 6 a.m.-6 a.m. Friday); “The Fresh Prince Prince of Bel-Air” (VH1, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.); “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” (Viceland, 8 a.m.-6 a.m. Friday); “The Office” (Comedy, 9 a.m.-midnight); “Meet the Browns” (BET, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.); “The Andy Griffith Show” (TV Land, 9 a.m.-8 p.m.); sketchfest “In Living Color” (Aspire, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Fusion, 7 p.m.-2 a.m.).


Among the options are “The Walking Dead” season 8 (AMC, 9 a.m.-3:10 a.m.); “The Affair” season 1 (SHO2, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.); “Monk” (H&I, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.); “Beverly Hills 90210” (Pop, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.); and new episodes of “Clique” (Pop, 6 p.m.-midnight). Plus, if you know someone with access to Decades, the original “Twilight Zone” (7 a.m.-7 a.m. Friday).


“Stranger Things” season 3 lands Thursday on Netflix.

Other fresh options:

“Veronica Mars” seasons 1-3 (Hulu)—Revisit Kristen Bell’s UPN sleuth fave before she and TV dad Enrico Colantoni return July 26 in their season 4 revival. (Also see their crowdfunded 2014 “Mars” movie Thursday at 9:40 a.m on HBO2.)

“The Great British Baking Show” (PBS Living, via Amazon Prime/Apple TV)—First five seasons, seen on PBS, can now be consumed all at once.

“Scare Tactics” (Netflix)—Tracy Morgan gets uncensored in seasons 4-5 of his Syfy hidden-camera hoot.

“The Simple Heist” (Acorn TV)—Season 2 continues the adventures of Sweden’s 60-something Thelma & Louise, who advance from bank robbery to art theft.

—Diane Werts

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