News Column

Weekend TV: 'The Watsons Go to Birmingham' takes viewers back to 1963 on Hallmark

September 19, 2013


Sept. 19--As the networks gear up for next week's Premiere Week, that leaves little new programming the final week of the summer. Still, there are a few bright spots.

The answer is ...

On Thursday, viewers, if they are still interested, can catch the first season finale of "Million Second Quiz" at 7 p.m. on NBC, channel 2, cable 9.

Despite the network's best efforts and those of show host Ryan Seacrest, this million-second game show has consistently lost ratings over the past 12 days. Still someone is going home with millions tonight.

Survive & thrive

Also Thursday, former "Today" host Meredith Vieira talks to beloved TV star Valerie Harper about her terminal brain cancer diagnosis, competing on "Dancing With the Stars" and living life after being given a death sentence. The special "Valerie's Story" airs at 9 p.m. Thursday on NBC, channel 2, cable 9.

Blast from the past

Hallmark takes viewers back to the summer of 1963 and the anniversary of events in the civil rights movement with its new film "The Watsons Go to Birmingham." The film debuts at 7 p.m. Friday on cable 165.

An all-star cast gathers for this film, adapted from Christopher Paul Curtis' 1996 award-winning book. In it, the Watson family decides their juvenile delinquent son needs a dose of Grandma's no-nonsense influence, and they leave Flint, Mich., headed to Alabama. But what they find there is a world they are unfamiliar with and one that teaches them to stand up for what is right.

The cast includes Tony Award winner and Grammy Award nominee Anika Noni Rose, three-time Tony Award nominee and Grammy Award nominee David Alan Grier, Skai Jackson, Wood Harris, and LaTanya Richardson.

Friday night lights up

ABC launches its Friday night lineup with the season premieres of "Last Man Standing" at 7 p.m., "The Neighbors" at 7:31 p.m. and "Shark Tank" at 8 p.m., all on channel 8.

On "Last Man," Mike gets ready for a manly moose hunt. On "Neighbors," Amber and Reggie tell their families that they are dating, and Jackie calls for a family conference so both families can vote on whether the young couple gets to stay together. And on "Shark Tank," Lori and Barbara compete for deals with entrepreneurs for the first time.


In case you missed it, Fox is rebroadcasting "Sleepy Hollow" at 8 p.m. Friday on channel 23, cable 5. The fantasy drama, a take on the headless horseman tale, opened big Monday as Fox's highest-rated fall drama premiere in seven years, since "Standoff" in 2006, according to

Kickoff awards

Start the Emmy party with Saturday's "2013 Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards" -- the ceremony for all of those winners who won't be receiving awards during Sunday's big show. See highlights of the event at 7 p.m. Saturday on FXX, cable 262.

Creative awards include all sorts of things besides art direction like outstanding guest actor (a first win for classic TV actor Bob Newhart) and actress in drama and comedy series, outstanding reality host, variety special, animated program, documentary filmmaking, casting, and many more.

Star bright

Neil Patrick Harris returns to entertain as host of the big show -- TV's "65th Primetime Emmy Awards" at 7 p.m. Sunday on CBS, channel 6.

All the stars come out to see who will win on this night saluting excellence in TV programming. Will Tulsa's Bill Hader come away with back to back Emmy wins? Of the most nominated dramas, can "American Horror Story: Asylum" dethrone "Game of Thrones?

See for yourself. The pre-shows begin at 4 p.m. on E!, cable 60, with "Red Carpet Countdown," followed at 5 p.m. by "Red Carpet: The 2013 Emmy Awards" on the same cable channel.

Also airing Sunday is the series finale of "Dexter" at 9 p.m. on Showtime, cable 350. Blood splatter expert and serial killer Dexter (Michael C. Hall) is "faced with impossible odds as he attempts to end things his way, once and for all.

Will he choose his new found humanity or fall back to the ways of The Code?" Find out Sunday as the series ends after eight seasons.


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