Biography walks the line

Z ON TV

October 23, 2008|By david zurawik | david zurawik,david.zurawik@baltsun.com

You can go with the usual Thursday night network mainstays, like NBC's The Office or ABC's Grey's Anatomy. Nothing wrong there. But if you are looking for something different, here are a couple of music-based productions.

THE ROOTS OF THE MAN IN BLACK: This look at country singer Johnny Cash and the thematic currents of his music and life is first-rate film biography from two outstanding documentary filmmakers, Robert Gordon (Muddy Waters: Can't Be Satisfied) and Morgan Neville (Hank Williams: Honky Tonk Blues).

Gordon and Neville secured the cooperation of the Cash estate, which means extensive use of the performer's songs - 27 to be exact - and reveal- ing interviews with family members. They also tracked down rare footage of Cash in the recording studio, performing in a 1950s TV show and working on a documentary with Bob Dylan. (9 p.m., Biography) *** 1/2

HIP HOP ON BET: The third annual Hip-Hop Awards features T-Pain as host for the live event. (8 p.m., BET)

LATE-NIGHT GUESTS: Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus visits and Pete Seeger performs on the Late Show with David Letterman (11:35 p.m., CBS). Actress Wanda Sykes visits and Glen Campbell performs on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (11:35 p.m., NBC).

online Read more from David Zurawik at baltimoresun.com/zontv

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