Monday, July 7
Grab some popcorn, 'cuz it's Movie Day here at B&C Week. Film critic Elvis Mitchell—he of the righteous dreadlocks—hosts the debut of Under the Influence at 8 p.m. ET on TCM. Mitchell studies the work of the late Sydney Pollack. For the al fresco set, HBO's film series features The Man Who Came to Dinner under the stars at Bryant Park in Manhattan. Real estate is a blood sport in New York, and fighting over the scarce turf in the cozy Midtown park is no different. If you can't make it out to Bryant, HBO has a summer-long Monday documentary series on its flagship channel. The premiere of The Art of Failure: Chuck Connelly Not for Sale, about the prickly painter, airs at 9.
Tuesday, July 8
The Television Critics Association (TCA) has its annual cable tour at the Beverly Hilton, giving the critics a peek at the brightest cable prospects. HDNet president Mark Cuban shares the stage with director Peter Bogdanovich to preview HDNet flicks, while the Rev. Al Sharpton hosts a TV One panel for Murder in Black and White, about unsolved civil rights murders. Sticking with the theme of wrongful death, P.O.V. premieres The Ballad of Esequiel Hernandez, about the killing of a Mexican teen at the hands of the U.S. military. Narrated by Tommy Lee Jones, it's on PBS at 10.
Wednesday, July 9
Bravo's Top Chef tour, featuring an 18-wheel Chef-mobile, pulls into Pittsburgh to offer locals a “first-hand look at how to make it as a Top Chef, complete with cooking demonstrations [Pitts-burgers, anyone?], gourmet tips and show secrets.” No word on whether stunner Chef host Padma Lakshmi will turn up. Martin Lawrence, meanwhile, is cooking up laughs on Starz, as his 1st Amendment Stand-Up returns at 10 p.m. Back in L.A., the cast and braintrust of AMC's Mad Men, including Jon Hamm and January Jones, take the TCA stage.
Thursday, July 10
USA debuts a new season of sleeper spook hit Burn Notice, with Jeffrey Donovan as a South Beach spy and Gabrielle Anwar as an IRA castoff, at 10. And the TCA tour has enough cool stuff today to put a smile on the face of even the crankiest critic. Discovery takes its turn, as Ludacris and Tommy Lee dish on their new show Battleground Earth—which sees the pair “battle against the toxic forces destroying Mother Earth”—such as, for one, Tommy Lee. Spike Lee details some ESPN films, Elvis Costello croons about peace, love, understanding and, of course, his new Sundance series, and David Simon is sure to liven things up when he chats about his HBO project Generation Kill.
Friday, July 11
It's Teen Cruelty Night at The N, which debuts the “ultimate mean girl makeover reality series” Queen Bees at 9, followed by The N's Student Body at 10. The latter, hosted by Laila Ali, brings together 12 less-than-svelte students to get in shape. And as the election shapes up, CNN stars Wolf Blitzer, Soledad O'Brien and John King take the TCA stage to handicap McCain-Obama. No word on whether King's Magic Wall will make a cameo.