Hillary Atkin

A Pre-Olympics Torrent of New Programming on Broadcast, Cable and Streaming

Jul 6, 2016

Are you ready for all the hype, pageantry, thrills, chills — and scary stories about the Zika virus? In just less than a month, beginning with the Aug. 5 Opening Ceremonies, NBC and its cable networks and digital platforms will be all about the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, which run through Aug. 21.

We are talking about hundreds of hours of programming on the Peacock Net and NBCU outlets including Bravo, CNBC, MSNBC and USA Network plus NBCSN, Golf Channel and NBC Universo. The cable networks alone will air 700+ hours of Olympic competition and commentary, according to NBC Olympics executive producer Jim Bell.

And while NBC itself is only premiering one new show before the Olympics — a two-night event Aug. 1-2, “Running Wild with Bear Grylls,” featuring Julianne Hough and Nick Jonas — other networks are offering a variety of viewing options of new and returning shows.

ABC has the 2016 ESPY Awards on July 13, and “Bachelor” fans are eagerly awaiting the third season of “Bachelor in Paradise,” which premieres Aug. 2. “Bachelor in Paradise: After Paradise,” with host Chris Harrison — who has seen it all since the first rose ceremony 13 years ago — returns Aug. 9.

ABC is also airing the three-hour “CMA Music Festival: Country’s Night to Rock” Aug. 3, with artists including Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley, Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Brett Eldredge, Florida Georgia Line, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, Thomas Rhett, Rascal Flatts, Chris Stapleton, Blake Shelton, Cole Swindell, Steven Tyler, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Hank Williams Jr. and Chris Young.

Cable networks and streamers are not letting July pass them by. Discovery debuts the six-part series “Hello World” July 9, which looks at the wonders of the natural world through the eyes of some of today’s top musical artists, including Ellie Goulding, Usher, Christina Aguilera, Dave Matthews, Joan Jett and Steven Tyler, using their music as a soundtrack for stories of animals in the wild.

“Difficult People” returns on Hulu July 12. USA Network premieres returning favorite series “Suits” and “Mr. Robot,” both on July 13.

Hallmark Channel’s ongoing Christmas in July programming includes an original holiday movie, “A Perfect Christmas,” July 16.

Netflix welcomes back the third season of animated sitcom “BoJack Horseman” July 22.

Starz moves its original programming from Saturday to Sunday nights later this month. Season 3 of the popular drug lord drama “Power” bows July 17 and the third run of Atlanta-set basketball comedy “Survivor’s Remorse” hits July 24.

“People relate to ‘Survivor’s Remorse’ because we tell stories about the challenges of living a worthy life in modern times,” says showrunner Mike O’Malley. “Everyone comes from a family and those blood ties can sometimes be a net that catches you when you fall or a net that ensnares you in expectations that you cannot meet.”

Speaking of family, VH1 premieres the new half-hour comedy “Shaunie’s Home Court” July 17. It follows “Basketball Wives” star Shaunie O’Neal, who has her hands full with five kids.

Also on July 17, “Ballers” returns on HBO, followed by the premiere of the new comedy series “Vice Principals,” starring Danny McBride, Walton Goggins, Busy Philipps and Shea Whigham.

Missing awards shows during the summer? Stay tuned July 20, when Bravo introduces its inaugural “The Bravos,” hosted by none other than Andy Cohen. Mariah Carey is set to receive the “Giving Me Life Achievement Award” (a non-voting category) and a promised plethora of surprise guests is expected to join in on the celebration.

Bravo’s favorite Sheilas come back for Season 3 of “The Real Housewives of Melbourne” July 22. New housewife Susie McLean, a fixture of Melbourne society for decades, joins the cast.

“Ripper Street,” BBC America’s popular period drama/crime thriller, launches its fourth season July 28.

If you missed Discovery’s “Shark Week,” the fast-swimming creatures make a return appearance on Syfy July 31 with “Sharknado: The 4th Awakens.” The cult favorite features Ian Ziering, Tara Reid and David Hasselhoff reprising their roles from previous entries in the series, this time alongside new cast members Gary Busey, Cheryl Tiegs and Tommy Davidson.

In a move that cat lovers everywhere will certainly purr about, Hallmark Channel is pitting its “Kitten Summer Games” squarely against the Olympics Opening Ceremony. It’s a first for the cabler, based upon the huge success it has seen counterprogramming the Super Bowl for the past three years with the “Kitten Bowl.”

“This was trickier,” admits Crown Media Family Networks Executive VP of Programming Michelle Vicary. “With the tremendous success we’ve had through this family event centering around pet adoption, we looked for another time. The next thing people rally around is the Olympics. We had wrestling, gymnastics, track and field, and they switched out the stadiums for all the different sports.”

And after that, get ready for everything from swimming, gymnastics and tennis to men’s basketball, beach volleyball, rugby, soccer, volleyball, cycling, wrestling and water polo when the 2016 Summer Games begin.


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