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What’s on TV Tuesday: Fireworks and ‘The Words That Built America’


A scene from the 2016 “Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular.”

Craig Blankenhorn/NBC

Fireworks light up the skies over New York and Washington, and American presidents, lawmakers and celebrities recite the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

What’s on TV

MACY’S FOURTH OF JULY FIREWORKS SPECTACULAR 8 p.m. on NBC. Jennifer Lopez, Sheryl Crow, Lady Antebellum, Brad Paisley, Charlie Puth and Hailee Steinfeld headline this 41st annual pyrotechnic extravaganza. More than 60,000 fireworks in 23 colors, as well as a “golden mile” finale, will be fired from five barges on the East River between 24th and 41st Streets. Akbar Gbajabiamila, Matt Iseman and Kristine Leahy of “American Ninja Warrior” are the hosts, with the West Point Band and Glee Club performing a musical tribute during the display.

INDEPENDENCE DAY (1996) Starting at 6 a.m. on E! Roland Emmerich’s blockbuster — about a flotilla of imperialists from a galaxy beyond who do not come in peace — gets a 24-hour run. Will Smith plays the Marine pilot Capt. Steven Hiller and Jeff Goldblum the computer whiz David Levinson, who together fly into the mother ship and slip a virus into its system. And Bill Pullman is President Thomas J. Whitmore, ready for combat with some words of inspiration.


Paul Dano in “Love & Mercy.”

Francois Duhamel/Roadside Attractions

THE BEACH BOYS MARATHON Starting at 2 p.m. on AXS TV. This salute features interviews and classic concert footage with hits like “Good Vibrations,” “California Girls” and “Fun, Fun, Fun.” The lineup begins with “Brian Wilson and Friends: Live From the Venetian,” followed by “The Beach Boys: An American Family,” at 3:25; “The Beach Boys 50 — Live in Concert,” at 6:35; Mike Love in “The Big Interview” with Dan Rather at 7:50; “The Beach Boys 50 — Doin’ It Again,” at 8:50; and “The Beach Boys: An American Band,” at 9:50. Then stream Bill Pohlad’s “LOVE & MERCY” (2015) (iTunes and Amazon), starring Paul Dano as a young Brian Wilson, John Cusack as an older one, and Elizabeth Banks as Melinda Ledbetter, the Cadillac saleswoman who more or less saved his life.


Former President Barack Obama and the filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi.


THE WORDS THAT BUILT AMERICA 7 p.m. on HBO. The filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi calls on the living American presidents, vice presidents and Supreme Court justices, as well as senators, governors, celebrities, business leaders and middle schoolers, to read the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The historian David McCullough narrates. Pair it with “JOHN ADAMS” (HBO Go, iTunes and Amazon), Tom Hooper’s Emmy-winning 2008 mini-series based on Mr. McCullough’s biography, starring Paul Giamatti as the country’s second president and Laura Linney as his wife, Abigail.

A CAPITOL FOURTH 8 p.m. on PBS (check local listings). John Stamos hosts this 37th annual concert on the West Lawn of the United States Capitol, with hits and patriotic classics performed by Sam Moore (alongside Dan Aykroyd and Jim Belushi as the Blues Brothers), Mark McGrath, the Four Tops, Trace Adkins, Yolanda Adams and the National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Jack Everly. The evening ends with Tchaikovsky’s “1812” Overture, accompanied by cannon fire from the United States Army Presidential Salute Battery.

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