Breaking News (July 17; 8 to 9 p.m.; Bravo) gives us thirteen weeks of Clancy Brown in charge of an all-news cable network, Tim Matheson as his angry anchor, Lisa Ann Walter as his executive producer, Rowena King as perhaps the best of his far-flung correspondents, and Scott Bairstow as the newly hired son of the owner of the conglomerate that owns the network. We begin with the vice-president of the United States buried under an avalanche, proceed to a hostage situation, a reporter who goes to jail rather than reveal sources, a plane crash, a factory dumping toxic waste, and a gay murder in a small town. Not bad, though viewers don’t seem to want dramatic series about broadcast journalism. Can’t imagine why.
Power and Beauty (July 21; 8 to 9:30 p.m.; Showtime) stars Natasha Henstridge as Judith Campbell Exner, Kevin Anderson as John F. Kennedy, Peter Friedman as Sam Giancana, and John Ralston as Frank Sinatra. This is the docudrama from Exner’s point of view, which more or less corresponds with the American Tabloid point of view of James Ellroy.
For the People (July 21; 10 to 11 p.m.; Lifetime) stars Lea Thompson (Caroline in the City) as an assistant district attorney in Los Angeles, and Debbi Morgan (Soul Food) as her new boss, just elected and a lot more conservative. They will have to come to respect each other before the series can go anywhere, and so in this first hour they do, in sorting out a free speech–hate crime case.
Fenceline: A Company Town Divided (July 23; 10 to 11 p.m.; Channel 13) looks at race, toxic pollution, and the economy in Norco, Louisiana, a company town in that portion of the Mississippi Delta known as Cancer Alley, where Shell petrochemicals, pouring out of smokestacks, make for lovely sunsets and asthmatic coughing fits.
Our America (July 28; 8 to 9:35 p.m.; Showtime) docudramatizes the true story of Lloyd Newman (Brandon Hammond) and LeAlan Jones (Roderick Pannell), savvy black teenagers who talked the Chicago affiliate of National Public Radio into subsidizing their 1993 “sound portrait” of life in the Ida B. Wells housing project, and their return visit a year later to find out why 5-year-old Eric Morse fell fourteen floors to his death. For that, Newman and Jones won a Peabody.