Show 'rediscovers' Washington

Was George Washington sexy? While we may see Washington as the unsmiling figure on the dollar bill, he used his strength, stature and skill as a horseman to bedazzle his contemporaries and become the first American superstar. At least that's the theory that host Richard Brookhiser offers in the thoughtful 90-minute documentary "Rediscovering George Washington," (8:30 p.m., PBS). The 6-foot, 3-inch George Washington towered over his contemporaries. His height made Abigail Adams swoon, a fact that left her diminutive husband, John Adams, just a little jealous.

Brookhiser methodically explains how the Virginian, who lacked any formal higher education, absorbed the best ideas of his time to set an example for a fledgling republic. Washington's greatest contribution to the presidency, Brookhiser observes, may have been his decision to leave office after two terms. Unlike Napoleon, Lenin or other revolutionaries turned dictators, Washington relinquished power and helped establish constitutional government.

� Barry Bostwick is host to the 90-minute live musical special "A Capitol Fourth," (7 p.m., PBS). Musical guests from the worlds of rock, pop, country, jazz and opera, include Aretha Franklin, Chuck Berry, Lee Ann Womack, Jerry Hadley and Jane Monheit. Erich Kunzel leads the National Symphony Orchestra.

� Meanwhile, live from Boston, Keith Lockhart leads the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra on "Pops Go the Fourth! 2002," (6:30 p.m., A&E;). Joan Lunden and Mary Richardson host.

� Peter Jennings will preside over a three-hour live musical salute to the Fourth in towns and cities all over the nation on "In Search of America: A July 4th Musical Celebration," (7 p.m., ABC). Performers include Sheryl Crow, Alicia Keys, India Arie, Wynton Marsalis, the Doobie Brothers and many others.

� "West Wing" star Rob Lowe is host to "Macy's 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular," (8 p.m., NBC) live from New York City. More than 28,000 pyrotechnic shells and effects will explode over the East River. Musical acts include Britney Spears, Ray Charles, Enrique Iglesias and James Taylor.

Tonight's other highlights

� The Sci-Fi Network kicks off a 46-hour marathon of "The Twilight Zone" repeats beginning at 6 a.m.

� Jonathan Frakes is host to back-to-back episodes of "Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction?" (Fox): fear in the woods (7 p.m.), a dead woman's corneas bring visions of justice (8 p.m.).

� Scheduled on "Dateline," (9:30 p.m., NBC): how to avoid common summertime dangers.


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