Coming at the heart of the outdoor entertaining season, the 4th of July isn't really a TV holiday.
But if you're taking a break from the grill or the picnic or the outdoor fireworks displays, here are 10 things to watch between now and Sunday night that could put you into an independent mood.
1. "Friday Night Lights," 7 p.m., Friday on Channel 4. This look at life in a football-obsessed Texas town just oozes America. It's also the best summer drama on network TV. In a little red, white, and blue icing on the cake, it's been winning its time period of late.
2. "America Celebrates July 4 at Ford's Theatre," 9 p.m., Friday, Channel 12. Kelly Clarkson and Dick Van Dyke are on the guest list, along with the president and first lady.
3. "The Revolution," 10 a.m. Saturday, History Channel. There are plenty of historical documentaries popping up this weekend, and this one is the best explainer on what it is we're celebrating this weekend. It runs through 10 p.m. and then airs repeats.
4. "Independence Day," 7 p.m., Saturday, E! Entertainment. Yes, it's a different Independence Day and they're fighting bugs, not Brits, but the 1996 flick with Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum remains fun.
5. "3,2,1 Fireworks," 9 p.m. Saturday, Channel 36. This documentary goes behind the scenes at the Washington, D.C., Fourth of July celebration.
6. Lakefront fireworks, about 9:25 p.m. Saturday, Channel 6. Milwaukee's Fox affiliate will break away from its 9 p.m. newscast for a live, high-definition airing of Milwaukee's lakefront fireworks display.
7. "Yankee Doodle Dandy," 4:3o p.m., Sunday, Turner Classic Movies. Jimmy Cagney plays patriotic song-and-dance man George M. Cohan in one of the more colorful black-and-white flicks you'll see.
8."Macy's 4th of July Fireworks Special," 8 p.m. Sunday, Channel 4. And you though Macy's just sponsored a parade.
9. "The Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular," 9 p.m., Sunday, Channel 58. If you didn't like Macy's fireworks, try this hour of music and pyrotechnics.
10. "The Shootist," 10 p.m., Sunday, AMC. John Wayne's last movie came at the time when the Western itself was dying, so this 1976 flick is a bit of Americana on two fronts. It's preceded at 7 by another of Wayne's finer later movies, "The Cowboys."
On TV: If you have IFC on cable or satellite, the movie channel is repeating Judd Apatow's fine "Freaks and Geeks" starting tonight at 10, with repeats Sundays at 9 and Mondays at 10. Apatow's "Undeclared" will air this fall.
- Ricky Gervais blogs that Steve Carell's departure from "The Office" is "inevitable." "It was expected of me, as executive producer, to persuade him to stay on. With syndication in full swing the more successful the show remains, the more billions we all make. It was tempting, but the truth is, I believe he is doing the right thing.
- Nielsen Media Research reports 99.2 million U.S. viewers have watched at least six minutes of World Cup soccer through Tuesday. That already beats the 91.4 million who watched at least some of the games through the entire 2006 World Cup.
- Following the Larry King successor sweepstakes, CNN U.S. president Jon Klein tells Broadcasting & Cable that "we never have negotiated with Piers" Morgan.
On Time Warner Channel 411: The on-demand version of OnMedia this week features Milwaukee Journal Sentinel local columnist Jim Stingl talking about his innovative video columns.
And here's video from last week's interview with Milwaukee radio veteran Patti Genko. Sorry for the problems with the audio, but we're working on it.
Tim Cuprisin is the media columnist for OnMilwaukee.com. He's been a journalist for 30 years, starting in 1979 as a police reporter at the old City News Bureau of Chicago, a legendary wire service that's the reputed source of the journalistic maxim "if your mother says she loves you, check it out." He spent a couple years in the mean streets of his native Chicago, and then moved on to the Green Bay Press-Gazette and USA Today, before coming to the Milwaukee Journal in 1986.
A general assignment reporter, Cuprisin traveled Eastern Europe on several projects, starting with a look at Poland after five years of martial law, and a tour of six countries in the region after the Berlin Wall opened and Communism fell. He spent six weeks traversing the lands of the former Yugoslavia in 1994, linking Milwaukee Serbs, Croats and Bosnians with their war-torn homeland.
In the fall of 1994, a lifetime of serious television viewing earned him a daily column in the Milwaukee Journal (and, later the Journal Sentinel) focusing on TV and radio. For 15 years, he has chronicled the changes rocking broadcasting, both nationally and in Milwaukee, an effort he continues at OnMilwaukee.com.
When he's not watching TV, Cuprisin enjoys tending to his vegetable garden in the backyard of his home in Whitefish Bay, cooking and traveling.