Looking to avoid the crowds and general outdoors this Fourth of July? Multiple TV channels have got you covered. Note: This does not include CBS, which — for the first time in two decades — will not air the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular, as the network declined to renew the production’s TV contract. (It will only be available on the local CBS station in Boston.)
“A Capitol Fourth” (PBS at 8 p.m.): This year is big on TV stars — Darren Criss (“Glee”), Megan Hilty (“Smash”), Scotty McCreery and Candice Glover (“American Idol”) and Jackie Evancho (“America’s Got Talent”); plus, host Tom Bergeron (“Dancing With the Stars”). In addition, Neil Diamond will appear to debut his tribute song inspired by the Boston Marathon bombing, and Barry Manilow will perform. John Williams will conduct music from the movie “Lincoln,” with a special video introduction by Steven Spielberg.
“Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular” (NBC at 8): The yearly extravaganza, hosted by Nick Cannon, features a slew of pop stars performing, including Cher, Pitbull, Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez and Tim McGraw. Questions: Will Swift and McGraw perform their No. 1 single, “Highway Don’t Care,” together? Will Gomez get jealous since she’s Swift’s BFF? Will Cher out-weird her recent performance on “The Voice” finale?
Philly 4th of July Jam (VH1 at 8): The third-annual special will also air on music channel Palladia until 11 and is hosted by comedian Kevin Hart. Performances include: The Roots, Demi Lovato, John Mayer, Jill Scott, Grace Potter and J. Cole.
As for daytime programming, some Viacom networks (MTV, VH1, CMT) have declared Thursday “Music Independence Day,” and from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., the music networks will play — get ready for it — only music. That means videos from famous singers, along with up-and-coming artists.
ESPN will air the famed Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest (at 1 p.m.) in Coney Island, N.Y., as competitive eater Joey Chestnut makes an attempt to go for his seventh championship in a row — last year, 68 hot dogs in 10 minutes — to overtake Takeru Kobayashi, who won six times.