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PBS Primetime Programming for the Week of August 2

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We're not going to be discussing the Hitchhiker's ride this week. Instead, I'm breaking into that discussion for this very important announcement – all times that you see below are only possible times. If you're interested in watching any of the special programming PBS is airing this week (and PBS is airing special programming) you need to check your local listings. You need to.

Sunday, August 2:

8:00 – 9:30PM

Handel's Messiah Rocks – You've got your rock band (not to be confused with Rock Band), your adult choir, your children's choir, your soloists, your Keith Lockhart, and your people from the Boston Pops. They all combine to update the Handel classic. Can you handle it?

9:30 – 10:30PM

Leonard Cohen Live in London. Last year (2008 for those of you who are counting), Leonard Cohen performed at London's 02 Arena. I'm not saying that he didn't do that before, I'm only saying that the performance from last year is this performance that you can watch on PBS now.

Monday, August 3:

7:00 – 9:00PM

Julia Child Memories: Bon Appetit! In order to capitalize on the upcoming Julie & Julia film (seriously, the description comes awfully close to saying that), PBS is showing a little Julia Child retrospective. Now, I'm not complaining about their timing, I think it's brilliant. And, PS, the movie stars Meryl Streep.

9:00 – 10:30PM

Happiness 101 with Tal Ben-Shahar. Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar teaches quite the popular class at Harvard. He's a professor, it's what he does, and apparently he does it well. He's going to teach viewers this week how to be happy. Come on, get happy! Don't worry, be happy! Etc., happy!

Tuesday, August 4:

8:00 – 9:30PM

Playing for Change. This is apparently a "multimedia effort to unite musicians and vocalists from diverse parts of the globe while seeking to immerse audiences in a movement to inspire, connect, and bring peace to the world through music." That's a mouthful. That's a mouthful and a half. I always worry about sentences like that. Lofty goals are good, but wow.

9:30 – 11:00PM

Spirit of Brazil. Learn all about Brazilian music in this 90 minute special with performances by oh-so-many folks. I'm assuming that the show either has decided that the music is the spirit of Brazil or that we can get to the spirit via the music. It should be interesting to find out which.

Wednesday, August 5:

8:00 – 10:00PM

Great Performances – "Pete Seeger's 90th Birthday Celebration from Madison Square Garden." Happy birthday, Pete! Celebrating Pete's birthday will be folks like The Boss, John (Cougar) Mellencamp, Kris Kristofferson, Arlo Guthrie, and oh-so-many others. It should be a good time.

Thursday, August 6:

8:00 – 9:30PM

Immaculée: Hold onto Hope. Immaculée Ilibagiza was in Rwanda in 1994 during the genocide. She survived, but her parents did not. She was successful in her battle for survival in part because she hid in a bathroom with seven other women for 91 days. Learn more and about her two books watching this special.

9:30 – 11:00PM

Loretta LaRoche: Juicy Living, Juicy Aging. Loretta LaRoche tries to answer the ultimate question: "How can a person age with energy and vitality?" See, that's a good question, that's a great question. Maybe stronger batteries? Maybe more batteries? Maybe with my solution – caffeine, plenty of caffeine.

Friday, August 7:

8:00 – 8:30PM

Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal #4906. Another whole week has gone by and good old Gwen Ifill and National Journal are here to fill us in. For the record, I like to pretend the National Journal is a sidekick, like Robin to Batman, Starsky to Hutch, or chocolate sauce to chocolate ice cream.

8:30 – 9:00PM

NOW on PBS #532. It’s the Emmy award-winning weekly news magazine. It looks at issues facing our democracy. The show is hosted by David Brancaccio. And, even better, they still send me e-mails (I think that makes me cool and them nice). Thanks, Now, you guys are awesome!

9:00 – 10:00PM

Bill Moyers Journal #1317. It’s Bill Moyers. It’s his 1,317th journal (not really, but I’m not going to explain to you the way in which TV shows are numbered at this point in time, maybe later if you’re nice). He’s a good journalist so I assume this will be good journalism (at least the odds are it will).

10:00 – 11:30PM

Soundstage – "Josh Groban: Awake Live.” Groban performs live in front of something like 15,000 fans, plus all the ones on television. Okay, those last folks don't quite count because this is a repeat, but it sort of counts. And, just FYI, the concert took place at the Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City.

Saturday, August 8:

8:00 – 10:00PM

Get Down Tonight – The Disco Explosion. Semi-live (in that this originally aired several years ago) performances highlight all those awesome songs from the crazy days of disco. Plus, this special is hosted by K.C. of the ever-famous K.C. and the Sunshine Band. So, come on, get down tonight.

 

Again, let me take another minute to remind you that all the above times, all of them, are only, perhaps, maybe, semi-accurate. This is a week of special programming, local affiliates may be doing things slightly differently. Do not e-mail me with a complaint about these times being wrong, I warned you. I warned you twice. I may have warned you more than twice. Check your local listings.

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About Josh Lasser

Josh has deftly segued from a life of being pre-med to film school to television production to writing about the media in general. And by 'deftly' he means with agonizing second thoughts and the formation of an ulcer.