Stay Tuned column: Olympic athletes discuss their struggles with depression in ‘The Weight of Gold’
A YA hit gets a sequel, a fan favorite returns for a shortened fourth season, and Olympic athletes bravely open up in a deeply personal documentary.
Dispatches: Weekly TV news
It’s opening day for Major League Baseball fans this week as teams return to play, with some changes: The season is 60 games, there is no cross-country travel and the stands will be empty. The action kicks off on July 23 with two games on ESPN.
NBC ordered 10 episodes of “Home Sweet Home,” an unscripted “social experiment” series where two families with very different backgrounds will exchange homes and experience each other’s lives. It is the first unscripted show from Ava DuVernay.
“Pose” co-creator Steven Canals is developing a limited series for FX called “81 Words,” which deals with gay activists Frank Kameny and Barbara Gittings, who risked their careers fighting the American Psychiatric Association’s definition of homosexuality.
Contenders: Shows to keep on your radar
The Duplass Brothers’ anthology series, “Room 104,” begins its final season (July 24, HBO, 11 p.m. ET).
Jim Gaffigan goes for more laughs in his latest stand-up special, “The Pale Tourist” (July 24, Amazon).
Elle (Joey King), Noah (Jacob Elordi) and Lee (Joel Courtney) get a sequel in “The Kissing Booth 2” (July 24, Netflix). The next chapter of this YA favorite joins Elle as she juggles her long-distance romance with Noah, her shifting relationship with best friend Lee and her feelings for someone new, all while trying to decide on college.
“Wynonna Earp” returns with a shortened fourth season (July 26, Syfy, 10 p.m. ET). The horror western, beloved by “Earpers,” as the show’s fans are called, follows the plucky descendent of Wyatt Earp as she fights evil supernatural forces in the town of Purgatory. Filming was interrupted due to COVID-19, so only the first six episodes will air. The remaining episodes are scheduled to start production later this summer in Canada.
Six-part docu-series, “Helter Skelter: An American Myth” (July 26, Epix, 10 p.m. ET), explores one of the most horrific crimes in U.S. history using never-before accessed interviews from former members of the Manson Family, accounts from journalists at the scene and at the trial and newly-found images.
Fairytales get a modern remix on “Tell Me A Story” (July 28, The CW, 9 p.m. ET). Set in modern day New York City, the first season combines “The Three Little Pigs,” “Little Red Riding Hood,” and “Hansel and Gretel” in a tale of love and murder.
Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympic athlete in history, shares his struggle with depression in “The Weight of Gold” (July 29, HBO, 9 p.m. ET). The documentary explores the mental health challenges faced by many Olympic athletes and hopes to inspire a broader conversation, encourage people to seek help and highlight the need for easily accessible support. Athletes joining Phelps include Jeremy Bloom, Lolo Jones, Gracie Gold, Bode Miller, Shaun White and David Boudia.
Report Card: Ratings winners and losers
Winners: “The Rachel Maddow Show” (MSNBC) drew its biggest audience ever, a record 5.23 million viewers, on a recent episode that featured an interview with President Donald Trump’s niece, Mary Trump.
Losers: While it remained strong in its demo, “DC’s Stargirl” (The CW) dropped 12% in audience, marking a season low.
Melissa Crawley is the author of “Mr. Sorkin Goes to Washington: Shaping the President on Television’s ‘The West Wing.’” She has a Ph.D. in media studies and is a member of the Television Critics Association. To comment on Stay Tuned, email her at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter at @mcstaytuned.