With all the local hype over The Real Housewives of New York City, we’d almost forgotten about their west coast predecessors and sister show, The Real Housewives of Orange County, which taught us everything we’d ever wanted to know about plastic surgery, Southern California Republicans and bad parenting. But now that summer’s here, it’s time to revisit Silicone Valley. Bravo’s airing a Real Housewives mini-marathon starting at 5 p.m., followed by a sneak preview at 10 of the new reality series Date My Ex: Jo & Slade, in which twentysomething former Real Housewife Jo De La Rosa tries to find a new man with the help of her much older, career-advancing ex-boyfriend, Slade Smiley. But if succumbing to cheap tie-ins isn’t your thing, tune into VH1 at 9 p.m. to watch last week’s concert in London celebrating Nelson Mandela’s 90ths birthday, featuring host and latent Scientologist Will Smith and performances by Amy Winehouse, Annie Lennox and Eddy Grant, among others. Also at 9, on Intervention, a pill-popping mom tries to kick the habit for her sons and husband (A&E), and a new season of History Detectives begins at 9 p.m. on PBS with a mystery surrounding the World War II-era journal of a B-24 bomber pilot. In Hollywood news, the Screen Actors Guild’s contract expires today, and the major movie and television studios are expected to shut down production by Tuesday as the threat of another strike looms. But who needs the new stuff when Turner Classic Movies continues to celebrate the Union’s old stuff with its two-part celebration of S.A.G.’s 75th birthday? Starts at 8 p.m. with Ben-Hur.
Tonight on AMC, a movie that anyone who experienced the weekend’s sweltering heat could relate to: The Long Hot Summer, which is based on several of William Faulkner’s short stories. As AMC notes, the 1958 film is “often regarded as one of the best films based on his work, though not especially accurate to the original source material,” and it has an all-star cast as well, starring Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Orson Welles and Angela Lansbury, to name a few (8 p.m.). On PBS at 9 p.m., season seven of Wide Angle kicks off with a spotlight on Heart of Darfur, a film about the inhabitants of a Sudanese refugee camp. And, for the moment you’ve all been waiting for, Tila Tequila picks a winner on the second season finale of A Shot at Love at 10 p.m. on MTV.
On tonight’s new episode of Monster Quest at 9 p.m. on the History Channel: “Super Rats!” The description is too horrid to ignore: “Attention, New Yorkers. Recent archaeological evidence suggests that rats once grew to even more massive sizes than the ones down in the Dumpster down the block. And now it seems our own streetwise friends are mutating to become even larger-and more dangerous. This episode journeys into sewers with rodent experts and talks with those who have had first-hand experience with cat-size rats with an appetite for human flesh.” Think about that the next time you’re waiting for the L train at 2 a.m.!
Not much going on tonight, but in case you were wondering who makes the list of TV’s Sexiest Doctors of All time, tune into the TV Guide Network at 7 p.m. and you can count them down while plotting your tube-surfing agenda for the remainder of the evening. Hopefully it will include Thursdays’ saving grace, Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List (Bravo, 10 p.m.).
It’s sort of the July 4 equivalent of the televised Yule Log, but if you think of Indepence Day as just another New York City amateurs event, like St. Patrick’s Day or New Year’s Eve, you can just chug the A.C. and watch the fireworks live on NBC at 9 p.m. with Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular, hosted this year by Natalie Morales and Tiki Barber. And of course, the Sundance channel never tires of finding an Indie tie-in to whatever the whole world is doing that day, so in honor of the holiday they’re showing a rock-block of rock and roll documentaries, starting at 5 p.m. with Observer contributor Peter Bogdanovich’s Runnin’ Down a Dream: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Then at 9, a newly reprised episode of Live From Abbey Road, the original music series filmed at London’s legendary Abbey Road Studios, and at 10, loudQUIETloud, a documentary that follows seminal Indie rockers the Pixies on their 2004 reunion tour. And just in time to make you feel bad your crappy back patio isn’t fit for company this holiday weekend, a marathon of home improvement programming about backyards airs on the DIY Network (7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.). Vive la Television!