CNN launches a two-week anthology of documentary shorts with a look back at the 1987 near-tragedy of Baby Jessica, who fell in a Texas well. Summer Olympics coverage dominates the weekend lineup with track & field, gymnastics events finale and much more. A new buddy comedy from cable’s Bounce network introduces four friends all named Johnson (otherwise not related). TCM kicks off its monthlong “Summer Under the Stars” series of movie-star marathons with one of the greats: Bette Davis.
58 Hours: The Baby Jessica Story
SATURDAY: It seems like yesterday for those who were riveted to the live coverage, but the 58-hour rescue effort to retrieve 18-month-old Jessica McClure from a well in Midland, Texas happened way back in 1987. The first of four CNN “Summer Shorts” documentaries, airing this and next Saturday, relives the crisis which millions watched as it played out on TV. Director Mark Bone opens up his report to describe what happened to little Jessica during her long ordeal and how the event impacted the community and her rescuers once the story was over. Followed at 10/9c by Super Reviewers: Rate, Review, Repeat, a look behind the lens at the online subculture we think of as “influencers.”
SATURDAY & SUNDAY: Olympics fans may never leave their TV room this weekend given the array of sports available for streaming and channel surfing among NBC’s various networks and platforms. In prime time Saturday, live coverage of women’s beach volleyball and swimming finals will also feature qualifying and final rounds of track & field. Sunday’s lineup also includes an elimination round of women’s beach volleyball and coverage of gymnastics event finals—which can be watched live early Sunday on Peacock along with much track & field. For a complete listing of events and where and when to watch, go to nbcolympics.com/schedule.
SUNDAY: If this dramedy’s four Atlanta buddies, all surnamed Johnson, ever make it to L.A., what are the odds they’ll look up the black-ish Johnsons? That would make a pretty good episode—not that Johnson lacks appeal on its own. From Cedric the Entertainer’s production company, Johnson looks at relationships and Black life from the male point of view. The engaging cast includes co-creator Deji LaRay as Greg, who’s on the verge of moving in with his lady after a year; co-executive producer, and former NFL running back Thomas Q. Jones as Omar, unhappily heading into divorce territory; and their two BFFs, Derrex Brady as slick real-estate pro Jarvis, whose interracial marriage creates some identity conflicts; and scene-stealing Philip Smithey as the romantically naïve Keith. Comedian D.L. Hughley is a welcome presence in a recurring role as Omar’s uncle, a popular local radio personality who’s seen it all and isn’t afraid to share his opinions with this group of friends.
Summer Under the Stars
STARTING SUNDAY: Each day and night in August, in one of cable’s great traditions, TCM devotes 24 hours to a different movie legend, and this year’s summer festival kicks off with a salute to one of Hollywood’s greatest and most forceful talents: two-time Oscar winner Bette Davis. The lineup begins early with 1937’s obscure Marked Woman, where she plays opposite Humphrey Bogart as a prosecutor who tries to get her to flip on a gangster who’s done her wrong. Highlights include her Oscar-winning role in Jezebel (8/7c) from 1938 and her iconic Oscar-nominated title performance in the Hollywood Gothic classic from 1962 What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (12:30 am/11:30c).
- On Showtime, The Chi (Sunday, 9/8c) wraps its fourth season with lots of personal turmoil going down while Tracy (Tai Davis) throws a block party. Followed by Black Monday (10/9c, with an eventful New Year’s Eve of 1989 closing the third season, and Flatbush Misdemeanors (10:30/9:30c) finishing its first season of Brooklyn shenanigans with an eye toward a second.
- On Epix, the sci-fi thriller War of the Worlds (Sunday, 9/8c) plots a final attack on the alien invaders—although how final can it be when the series has been renewed for a third year? Followed by the first-season finale of the historical epic Domina (10/9c), where Livia (Kasia Smutniak), the powerful wife of Roman emperor Augustus “Gaius” Caesar (Matthew McNulty), enlists her sons to join her secret mission to restore the Republic.
- Kevin Can F**k Himself (Sunday, 9/8c, AMC): The polarizing dark comedy, which flips between witless sitcom parody and glum revenge drama, ends with put-upon wife Allison (Annie Murphy) facing questioning from detectives while her odious boob of a husband, Kevin (Eric Petersen), decides to run for city council.
Inside Weekend TV:
- Two beloved NBC hits head to Netflix, with the arrival of seven seasons of the uproarious 30 Rock and five seasons of the moving Friday Night Lights.
- Eden: Untamed Planet (Saturday, 8/7c, BBC America, AMC and AMC+): Travel to the ancient Namib Desert to seek hidden water sources that sustain indigenous species including lions, elephants and giraffes.
- Love, for Real (Saturday, 9/8c, Hallmark): Those seeking a romantic respite might check out this twist on a Bachelor-type dating show, where cynical Hayley (Chloe Bridges) signs on only to help further her career. Will she fall instead for the bachelor (High School Musical’s Corbin Bleu) or maybe the show’s producer (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s Scott Michael Foster)?
- Naked and Afraid (Sunday, 8/7c, Discovery): A new season of the bare-it-all reality series sends all-star veterans to an Ecuador rain forest. And in a first, four survivalists from different countries head to South Africa for a USA-vs.-the World challenge. (The Olympics aren’t enough?)
- The White Lotus (Sunday, 9/8c, HBO): Everyone’s spiraling in the fourth chapter of the exotic limited-series satire set in a Hawaii resort. For honeymooning bride Rachel (Alexandra Daddario), the only thing worse than having her spoiled spouse (Jake Lacy) refuse to take her professional ambitions seriously is for his monster-in-law mom (a frighteningly funny Molly Shannon) to suddenly appear.