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Let the Summer Begin

June 23, 1996|SUSAN KING | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The big television news this summer is NBC's presentation of the Summer Olympic Games from Atlanta (July 19 through Aug. 4) and the networks' and PBS' coverage of the Republic National Convention (Aug. 12-15) and the Democratic Convention (Aug. 26-29).

But those aren't the only alternatives to reruns. There are several new series, documentaries, movies and specials in the offing for the hot summer days and nights--most of them on cable.

A look at some of the summer highlights (dates subject to change):

Movies

"Crazy Horse": Michael Greyeyes, Wes Studi and Irene Bedard star in the story of the Oglala Sioux legend. July 7, TNT.

"Roger Corman Presents": Showtime kicks off a second season of low-budget action flicks. July 14, Showtime.

"Losing Chase": Kevin Bacon makes a directorial debut with this film starring wife Kyra Sedgwick and Helen Mirren. August, Showtime.

"Inside": Arthur Penn directs an African drama delving into atrocities against political prisoners in the 1980s. Nigel Hawthorne, Louis Gossett and Eric Stoltz star. August, Showtime.

"Gotti": Armand Assante and Anthony Quinn star in this biography of the famed mobster. Aug. 17, HBO.

"For the Children: The Irvine Fertility Scandal": Marilu Henner and Linda Lavin star in this drama based on the true story of a prominent doctor who ran an Irvine fertility clinic and allegedly stole his patients' embryos and implanted them in other women. Aug. 21, Lifetime.

"High School Reunion--the Class of 1986": Produced by "The Real World" creative team of Mary-Ellis Bunim and John Murray, this reality-based movie was taped as the event actually happened in Portland, Ore. August, NBC.

Series

"Evening at Pops": The long-running musical series returns for its 27th season with five new programs, four featuring Boston Pops conductor Keith Lockhart. July 1, KCET.

"VH1 Route '96": This two-month-long road trip across the country joins up with the hottest concert tours of the summer, visits national parks and points of musical interest. July 1, VH1.

"Dangerfield": Not the Rodney Dangerfield story, but a British series about a successful doctor who also is a police surgeon. Nigel Le Vaillant and Amanda Redman star. July 3, KCET.

"Searching for God in America": Four-part PBS series examines the beliefs and passions of eight religious leaders, including Rabbi Harold Kushner and the Dalai Lama. July 5, KCET.

"The Real World": The reality-based soap opera kicks off its fifth season in Miami's South Beach. In this outing, the seven young adults create and operate their own business, in addition to sharing a loft and squabbling. July 10, MTV.

"The Big Easy": Series version of the hit 1987 Dennis Quaid-Ellen Barkin steamy thriller. Tony Crane plays a handsome New Orleans homicide detective and Susan Walters is an assistant D.A. Barry Corbin also stars. Aug. 11, USA.

"Baseball, Minnesota": A reality-based series following the exploits and personal stories behind the St. Paul Saints, an independent minor league team. Aug. 18, fX.

"Women": Erotic half-hour anthology series, written, produced and directed entirely by women. August, Showtime.

Specials

"Battlefield II": Six two-hour programs examining historical battles of World War II. July 1, KCET.

"Pop Goes the Fourth": Three-hour live holiday concert with the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra led by Keith Lockhart. July 4, A&E.

"A Capitol Fourth": Broadcast from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, this 90-minute annual holiday special features a fireworks finale over the Washington Monument. Conductor Erich Kunzel leads the National Symphony Orchestra. July 4, KCET.

"Dallas Symphony Orchestra: Music of Bernstein, Barber & Beethoven": Led by music director Andrew Litton, the orchestra performs Leonard Bernstein's "Fancy Free" ballet, Samuel Barber's "Violin Concerto" and Beethoven's "Symphony No. 7." July 7, KCET.

"The All-Star Game": Stars from the National and American Leagues do battle in this annual baseball event. July 9, NBC.

"Urban Heartlands": A series of four specials that feature a prominent author presenting an American city that influenced his life. Neil Simon explores New York; Scott Turow goes to Chicago; Gore Vidal visits Washington, D.C. and Garrison Keillor travels to Minneapolis. July 9, Disney Channel.

"The Concert for the Prince's Trust": Eric Clapton, the live premiere of "Quadrophenia," Bob Dylan and Alanis Morisette are among the highlights of this all-star gala taped June 29 at London's Hyde Park. July 14, HBO.

"Shark Week": Discovery Channel again explores virtually every variety, size, species and temperament of sharks. The underwater fest kicks off with the premiere of "The Ultimate Guide: Sharks." Aug. 11-18, Discovery Channel.

Documentaries

"Reasonable Doubt: Mumia Abu Jamal": A look at the controversial case of a convicted cop killer, now on death row in Pennsylvania. July 7, HBO.

"Cezanne": Examination of the life and art of French post-Impressionist painter Paul Cezanne. July 14, KCET.

"Final Judgment: The Execution of Antonio James": An examination of the relationship of a prison warden, a death row convict and a spiritual advisor. Aug. 21, Discovery Channel.

"Memphis P.D.: The War on the Streets": A study of police officers who contemplate or even commit suicide because of work-related pressures. August, HBO.

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