Super Bowl Sunday is almost here. Are you ready for some Scarlet O'Hara?
While much of the nation will be focused on the football clash between the Oakland Raiders and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, several networks will be playing another kind of game -- using offbeat marathons, Meg Ryan movies and other programming -- to win over the 160 million people who don't like football.
The most original counterprogramming, although only for the East Coast, comes courtesy of cable's Bravo network, which will showcase four hours of the unscripted series "Gay Weddings." The episodes will look at gay couples planning and participating in their dream nuptials. That marathon doesn't air until 8 p.m. here; Bravo's offering while the game is on here -- 120 miles from San Diego where the game is being played and 400 miles from Oakland -- is a rerun of last Sunday's Golden Globe Awards, followed by a mini-marathon of the gay-themed reality series "Fire Island," starting at 6 p.m.
TBS Superstation may spark some domestic disharmony with its annual "Hand Over the Remote Sunday" marathon, showcasing a daylong festival of "chick flicks" such as "Stepmom," "Father of the Bride," "Sleepless in Seattle" and "City of Angels" (the latter two featuring Ryan) as counterprogramming to the big game.
Ryan shows up again in Comedy Central's "Sunday Triple Feature" in "French Kiss," which will join "The Out-of-Towners" and "Outside Providence." Audrey Hepburn, the Meg Ryan of the '50s and '60s, is the star of AMC's "Absolutely Audrey Marathon," with films such as "Roman Holiday," "Breakfast at Tiffany's," "My Fair Lady" and "Sabrina."
Lifetime will feature a festival of female-oriented films with titles like "Degree of Guilt," "Out of Line" and "Stop at Nothing." None of those films stars Meg Ryan.
The Food Network on Sunday will serve up the "Two Fat Ladies Uncut Marathon," with each half-hour episode containing seven minutes of "new footage, never before seen on Food Network."
TNN is boldly going where it's been before, dusting off vintage "Star Trek" movies for its "Super Star Trek Saturday and Sunday" marathon.HGTV will have its own "Super Sunday." But it's a "Super Sunday of Style," with new episodes of "Design on a Dime," which focuses on "small-budgeted" makeovers; "Soap Pads 3," which looks at the homes of daytime television actors; and "Top 10 Most Fabulous Bathrooms."
Finally, TNT is offering a pair of films featuring a conflict bigger than Super Bowls I-XXXVII combined: the Civil War. Starting at 1 p.m. it's airing five hours of Ted Turner's pet film, "Gettysburg," followed at 6 p.m. by "Gone With the Wind."