This Independence Day weekend, if you choose to exercise your unalienable right to the pursuit of sitting around and watching TV, here’s a roundup of some of the best patriotic shows and specials, and movie and series marathons, to enjoy! All times are Eastern unless otherwise indicated; programming subject to change.
Wimbledon: Men’s Semifinals — July 1 noon-5pm on NBC.
“Ax Men” Marathon — July 2 from 7am-8pm on History. If you happen to be lying on the couch sawing logs, why not tune in to this marathon of the series about actual loggers?
98th Tour de France — Stage 1 coverage begins July 2 at 8am on Versus. Once again, Versus broadcasts one of the most famous sporting events in the world. Last year’s champion Alberto Contador returns for another shot at the title (after serving a suspension earlier this year). Coverage continues until the grand entry into Paris on July 24.
Wimbledon: Women’s Final — July 2 9am-2pm on NBC.
Sunny’s All-American Celebration — July 2 at 10am on Food Network. Sunny Anderson travels to Ft. Bragg, NC, and Fort Lee, VA, to look back on her time in the military, celebrate men and women in uniform, reconnect with her active duty family members and show viewers why food is often the glue holding military families together.
“NCIS” Marathon — July 2 3pm-11pm on USA Network.
“Pawn Stars” Marathon — July 3 from 8am-8pm on History. Several episodes of History’s hot series about people finding rare collectibles.
“Teen Mom” Marathon — July 3 8am-9pm on MTV. There have been plenty of offscreen fireworks associated with this series, but you can watch the onscreen drama all day today.
Wimbledon: Men’s Final — July 3 9am-3pm on NBC.
“The Twilight Zone” Marathon — July 3 at 9am to July 4 at 5am; and July 4 at 8am to July 5 at 4am on Syfy. After last year’s failed experiment in showing a marathon of Greatest American Hero episodes, Syfy must have gotten a firecracker lit under it by viewers to bring back this annual favorite. All the goodies are here, including classic episodes such as “To Serve Man,” “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet,” “Time Enough at Last” and others. You can find a complete schedule here.
“Deadliest Catch” Marathon — July 3 at 10am to July 4 at 3am on Discovery Channel.
“Law & Order: SVU” Marathon — July 3 2pm-11pm on USA Network. Christopher Meloni has declared his independence from this series, but you can still watch him during this marathon of episodes.
The Revolution — July 3 at 8pm to July 4 at 4am; and July 4 8am-11pm on History International. This documentary series explores the founding of the United States.
Food Network Star: “Diners, Drive-Ins and 4th of July” — July 3 at 9pm on Food Network. In this 90-minute episode, the 10 finalists must prove they can entertain and cook. Guy Fieri explains that each finalist will take part in a taping at Mel’s Drive-In. Then, the contestants put their spin on American classics for a Fourth of July All-American Food Festival, with the special ingredient they must use being … MGD 64? Well, I guess water is a key ingredient in many recipes.
“Hard Knocks” Marathon — July 4 4am-7pm on NFL Network. Leading up to the NFL Network premiere of Hard Knocks: Training Camp With the New York Jets, the most recent in the hit Hard Knocks franchise, there will be a daylong marathon of the previous Hard Knocks season, starting with the Kansas City Chiefs, followed by the Dallas Cowboys, then the Cincinnati Bengals. The Jets episodes air at 8pm and 9pm nightly July 4-7.
“Royal Pains” Marathon — July 4 6am-6pm on USA Network.
“Project Runway” Marathon — July 4 6am-8pm on Style Network.
“Cake Boss” Marathon — July 4 6am-10pm on TLC.
“Hoarders” Marathon — July 4 7am-10pm on A&E.
“How the States Got Their Shapes” Marathon — July 4 from 8am-8pm on History. History’s fascinating new series about how America’s states got their current borders and shapes airs several episodes.
“American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior” Marathon — July 4 at 9am to July 5 at 9am on Discovery Channel.
Independence Day Action Movie Marathon –– July 4 at 9am to July 5 at 3:30am on Spike. A day of ass-kicking flicks is fitting for Spike, and the network will be airing Man on Fire; The Fugitive and its lesser sequel, U.S. Marshals; Training Day; the 2004 version of Walking Tall; and Bangkok Dangerous.
“Star Wars: The Clone Wars” Marathon — July 4 9am-6:30pm, and July 5 9:30am-11am on Cartoon Network. Cartoon Networks wants the “4th to be with you” in this marathon of episodes from the newest season of Clone Wars.
Rockyfest — July 4 at 10:30am to July 5 at 5:30am on AMC. Rocky, Rocky II, Rocky III, Rocky IV and Rocky V all air today (not in order). True patriots will particularly want to tune in to IV, with the Italian Stallion (Sylvester Stallone) fighting for our country’s honor against the nasty Soviet brute Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren).
“Law & Order” Marathon — July 4 noon-10pm on TNT.
2011 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest — July 4 at noon on ESPN. Competitors from around the world converge on Coney Island, New York, for this famous event. Defending four-time champ Joey Chestnut will be bringing his iron gut to the table once again.
“Single Ladies” Marathon — July 4 3pm-11pm on VH1.
A Capitol Fourth 2011 — July 4 at 8pm Live (repeat at 9:30pm) on PBS. This celebration takes place on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, and features musical performances by some of the country’s best known and award-winning musicians, capped off by a huge fireworks display accompanied by a rousing rendition of Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture.” Twenty cameras are stationed around the city — including the U.S. Capitol, the White House, the Washington Monument and across the Potomac River — to capture the pyrotechnics display.
“Jerseylicious” Marathon — July 4 at 8pm to July 5 at 3am on Style Network.
Yankee Doodle Dandy — July 4 at 8pm on TCM. Guest programmer Conan O’Brien joins Robert Osborne to introduce this 1942 James Cagney classic about the life of George M. Cohan, who composed such legendary American tunes as “You’re a Grand Old Flag” and “The Yankee Doodle Boy.”
Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular 2011 — July 4 at 9pm (with repeat at 10pm) on NBC. This celebration of America’s birthday includes an all-star lineup of performances by artists such as Beyonce and Brad Paisley. Nick Lachey hosts.
Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular –– July 4 at 10pm Live (tape-delayed in Pacific Time Zone) on CBS. Lionel Richie Martina McBride joins the Boston Pops under the leadership of Keith Lockhart for this Fourth of July concert, now in its 38th year. Michael Chiklis hosts the festivities on the banks of Boston’s Charles River, with the final 20 minutes of the broadcast, featuring the fireworks display, airing commercial-free.
We now conclude this post for the day. Happy Fourth of July, America!
Rocky IV: © United Artists
How the States Got Their Shapes: Credit Kyle Christy/History
Yankee Doodle Dandy: Credit TCM