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What to Watch on Sunday: "Mad Men" gramps vs. the littlest bartender

Daytime Emmy Awards (8pm, CW) - Vanessa Williams hosts and "Sesame Street" receives the Lifetime Achievement Award. There's also a special tribute to "Guiding Light," which ends its 72-year run next month. 

Live From the Essence Music Festival (8pm, TV One) - A two-hour sampling of acts from the 15th annual New Orleans music festival includes Beyonce, Ne-Yo, and John Legend. 

True Blood (9pm, HBO) - Tonight's episode features Raleigh's Evan Rachel Wood as the 1,100-year-old Vampire Queen who is approached by Bill for assistance in battling the maenad, Maryann. Also, Sookie and Lafayette work on keeping Tara straight, while Jessica tests Hoyt's bond with his mother.

Drop Dead Diva (9pm, Lifetime) - Deb juggles attending Jane's high school reunion with defending and eccentric client's sanity. Gregory Harrison guest stars. 

Mad Men (10pm, AMC) - Betty's sulky manipulation of Don last week won the family the "careful what you ask for" prize of living with the constantly cranky and mentally incapacitated Grandpa, who promptly thanked them by pouring all their good liquor down the drain. This week, Gramps has a run-in with our favorite budding bartender, little Sally. Back at the office, the staff is required to work late and the writers get creative trying to stave off boredom. High-jinx ensue. Wink, wink.

Michael Jackson's birthday brings special TV programming

If you haven't completely burned out on Michael Jackson specials, this could be your chance.

Today is Michael's 51st birthday, so there's more MJ programming on than usual. And on the heels of news that his death has been officially declared a homicide, interest could be as strong as ever.

E! has Jackson shows on pretty much all day, with just a few gaps here at there. At 10am, "Forbes Presents: Michael Jackson - Follow the Money" takes a look at Jackson's precarious financial . . .

TV One offers a music festival and Maxwell

Maybe you don't have tickets to Saturday's Soul Picnic or maybe you like to shake your groove thing privately.

Fear not.

Tune in to TV One on Sunday at 8 pm for "TV One Night Only: Live From the Essence Music Festival."

It's a two-hour sampling of performances from the 15th annual New Orleans gathering.

The lineup: Beyonce, En Vogue, Ne-Yo, Jazmine Sullivan, Salt N Pepa, John Legend, Charlie Wilson, the Rev. Al Green, Teena Marie, Anita Baker, Robin Thicke.

What to Watch on Sunday: Strange(r) creatures attack on "True Blood"

The Jacksons: An American Dream (2pm & 7pm, TV Land) - The five-hour 1992 miniseries (which aired yesterday on TV One) airs twice today on TV Land.

The Life and Times of Michael Jackson (7pm, TV One) - A one-hour documentary on Jackson produced by the TV Guide Channel.

Law & Order: Criminal Intent (8pm & 9pm, USA) - Two new episodes tonight, with both Goldblum and D'Onofrio (right). In the first episode, Nichols and Wheeler investigate the death of a celebrity chef's girlfriend, and then Goren and Eames look into the death of a TV star famous for beating a murder rap due to a botched trial.

True Blood (9pm, HBO) - Sookie is brutally attacked by a strange creature, which catches the local vampires off guard. And when a vampire is shocked by brutality, that's a problem.

Hung (10pm, HBO) - The premiere of HBO's new comedy about a well-endowed high school teacher who tries to use his "gift" to make money.

What to Watch on Saturday: TV Land airs Farrah TV series

The Jacksons: An American Dream (12noon & 7pm, TV One) - This five-hour miniseries, which gave revealing glimpses into the lives of the Jackson children, originally aired on ABC in 1992 and stars Angela Bassett, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, Terrence Howard, Holly Robinson-Peete, Vanessa Williams, and Billy Dee Williams star. The film was based on the autobiography of Katherine Jackson, "My Family."

Charlie's Angels (7pm, TV Land) - Two back-to-back episodes from the first season of the TV series that started it all for Farrah Fawcett. TV Land is showing episodes #001 and #004.

Chasing Farrah (9pm, TV Land) - TV Land rebroadcasts two episodes of Farrah Fawcett's 2005 reality series. The episodes show Farrah attending the US Open, hanging out with her friend Alana Stewart, and having dinner with Ryan O'Neal at his beach house.

What to watch on Friday: Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson specials

Networks are scrambling so we're not sure exactly what will be on tonight, but expect more special Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett coverage for sure. Here's what we know about so far, but we'll try to update throughout the day if we learn of more.  

The Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Celebration (8pm, TV One) - TV One originally planned to air "The Michael Jackson Story" but will air this special instead. It repeats at 11pm.  TV One will have special Michael Jackson programming throughout the weekend.

The Life and Death of Michael Jackson (9pm, ABC) - ABC News special coverage of Jackson's death and a look back at his career and controversial life.

Farrah's Story (9pm, NBC) - NBC is replaying the gut-wrenching documentary originally aired last month, which chronicles Farrah's fight against cancer.  It's worth watching, or at least taping if you're watching Jackson coverage.

UPDATE: MTV will continue playing Michael Jackson videos (that's right, MTV is playing actual music videos!) and Jackson footage all day today until 6pm. Starting at 6pm, MTV will air other special Michael Jackson programming. Their sister channel, MTV2 is also playing Michael Jackson videos and specials all day today and tomorrow.

BET is also currently playing Jackson videos and will air a "BET Awards" special at 5pm featuring a surprise performance by Michael, and will rebroadcast their tribute from Thursday tonight from 6pm to 7:30.

TV One's Loving Minnie Riperton


On Sunday at 8 p.m (and then again at 11 p.m.) TV One brings back its terrific biography series "Unsung," which features the lives and careers of artists and groups that have been under-recognized or under-appreciated.

This Sunday features singer Minnie Riperton, known most for "Lovin' You" which showed off not just a sweet voice but spectacular range. (Nearly six octaves.)

It's a great piece of reporting, featuring Riperton's widowed husband Richard Rudolph and their daughter Saturday Night Live's Maya Rudolph, as well as folks from her early singing career in Chicago.

"Stand" offers a rarely seen view of men

TV One has been really stepping up lately, distinguishing itself with some really strong projects. (Ahem, BET)

Sunday at 9 comes another great effort, "Stand," a documentary, directed and co-written by Tavis Smiley, the activist/commentator/PBS TV host.

It features Smiley and 10 friends traveling on a bus from Nashville to Memphis, talking about race, politics and history during the summer before Sen. Barack Obama became President Obama.

Unsung: Why All This Love Couldn't Save Debarge


TV One's terrific documentary series "Unsung" re-airs tonight at 8 and 11 the episode about the 80s group Debarge.

Debarge was on track to be Motown's new Jackson 5 (and El, it's new Michael) albeit with more crossover appeal, particularly as the show points out, because of their light skin.

In some ways, the doc shows the typical story -- drugs upended them --- but in truth the large family had a difficult upbringing, with abuse and the fact that they were biracial waaay before that was kind of OK.

Check it out and you'll remember (or discover) how very talented the family was. Added bonus: the show is narrated by the other light-skinned smoothie Al B. Sure!

TV One is on channel 101 on TWC.

TV One Is Not Down With Bob Johnson

You may have heard that Bob Johnson, who founded BET and owns the Charlotte Bobcats, wants to get back into the broadcast game with a new network to be called Urban Television LLC.

Apparently, TV One feels a little threatened. The channel, partly owned by Radio One -- which owns FOXY 107/104 and WQOK 97.5 FM-- is opposing the network for fear that it could force cable systems to drop TV One. 

Bob isn't happy. Read about the dispute here.  

 

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