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Fourth of July: Specials and Marathons to Watch

Fourth of July: Specials and Marathons to Watch

Whether you spend your July Fourth outside enjoying fireworks with friends or inside catching up on your favorite shows, there are plenty of entertainment choices this year.

Lainey Wilson is slated to perform at the Macy's Fourth of July Event. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
Lainey Wilson is slated to perform at the Macy’s Fourth of July Event. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI

From classic TV marathons spanning every genre to special Independence Day programs, here are some highlights for your upcoming holiday:

Alfonso Ribeiro will host the celebration for America’s 248th birthday on PBS with “A Capitol Fourth.” This live event will kick off with a performance by Ribeiro and Britt Stewart from “Dancing with the Stars.” Olympian Shawn Johnson East will recognize athletes heading to the Paris Olympics. Smokey Robinson will perform a tribute to Motown’s 65th anniversary, and Chloe Flower will celebrate the 100th anniversary of “Rhapsody in Blue.”

Other appearances for this year’s show include Loren Allred from “The Greatest Showman,” Sister Sledge, Fantasia from “The Color Purple,” Darren Criss, and Sheila E. The event culminates with a fireworks display over the National Mall. Viewers can tune in at 8 p.m. EDT on PBS and YouTube.

Smokey Robinson will perform a tribute to Motown's 65th anniversary on 'A Capitol Fourth.' File Photo by Gabriele Holtermann/UPI
Smokey Robinson will perform a tribute to Motown’s 65th anniversary on “A Capitol Fourth.” File Photo by Gabriele Holtermann/UPI

Likewise, NBC will air “Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks” at 8 p.m. EDT. This 48th annual show will feature performances by Lainey Wilson and Luis Fonsi, known for their hits “Things a Man Oughta Know” and “Despacito,” respectively. Other performers include Shaboozey, Bell Biv DeVoe, Tanner Adell, and The War and Treaty. This year’s event will showcase 60,000 fireworks over the Hudson River for the first time in over ten years.

“It’s so great to be back on the Hudson,” said Gary Souza, the show’s designer. “We get to use bigger fireworks, bigger toys, and have more fun. There’s more bang out there.”

If you miss the live broadcast, you can catch the encore presentation at 10 p.m. EDT.

Joey Chestnut will not participate in this year's hot dog eating contest. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
Joey Chestnut will not participate in this year’s hot dog eating contest. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI

Also on the Fourth of July, ESPN will broadcast “Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest.” The event, held at Coney Island in Brooklyn, will start with the women’s competition at 10:45 a.m. EDT, followed by the men’s at noon. Miki Sudo, the reigning women’s champion, consumed 48.5 hot dogs in 10 minutes in 2020.

Joey Chestnut, who set a record eating 76 hot dogs in 2021, won’t be participating this year due to his decision to represent a plant-based hot dog brand. “For nearly two decades, we have worked under the same basic hot dog exclusivity provisions,” said Major League Eating officials. “However, it seems Joey and his managers have prioritized a new partnership with a different hot dog brand over our long-time relationship.”

The women’s contest will be on ESPN2, and the men’s contest on ESPN3.

Comedy Central will air a marathon of 'The Office,' which stars John Krasinski. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
Comedy Central will air a marathon of “The Office,” which stars John Krasinski. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI

If you’re into spooky stories, SYFY will hold its annual “Twilight Zone” marathon starting at 6 a.m. EDT on July 4 and running until 5:30 a.m. EDT the following day. The 24-hour event will kick off with “And When the Sky was Opened,” a tale about the disappearance of three people following a desert plane crash. The marathon will close with “Black Leather Jackets,” which blends an extra-terrestrial invasion with mid-20th-century biker culture.

“The worst fear of all is the fear of the unknown working on you, which you cannot share with others. To me, that’s the most nightmarish of the stimuli,” said Rod Serling, the creator of the series.

Comedy Central will begin a marathon of “The Office” at 9 a.m. EDT. This mockumentary follows the employees of Dunder Mifflin paper company, played by Steve Carell, Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski, and Jenna Fischer. The marathon will continue until midnight.

“The Office,” adapted from a BBC series, has inspired a new spin-off about a dying newspaper staffed by volunteer reporters. The spin-off, starring Domhnall Gleeson from “Harry Potter” and Sabrina Impacciatore of “The White Lotus,” will begin production this month.

Paramount will run a marathon of 'Yellowstone,' which stars Kevin Costner. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI
Paramount will run a marathon of “Yellowstone,” which stars Kevin Costner. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI

Paramount will start a marathon of “Yellowstone” at 11 a.m. EDT. The series stars Kevin Costner as John Dutton, who tries to protect his ranch, the largest in the country. The drama aired for five seasons and was largely filmed in Montana.

“Amid shifting alliances, unsolved murders, open wounds, and hard-earned respect, the ranch is in constant conflict with those it borders,” a show summary said.

Whichever way you choose to celebrate, there’s no shortage of entertainment options to make your Fourth of July memorable.

Source: UPI