Hallmark to air White House event opposite PBS’ ‘A Capitol Fourth’

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Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Capital Concerts

Mark McGrath of Sugar Ray performs with a young member of the audience during “A Capitol Fourth” on PBS in 2017.

The Hallmark Channel will televise a July Fourth event from the East Lawn of the White House featuring former American Idol singers, military bands and fireworks. Meanwhile, at the north end of the National Mall, PBS’ annual A Capitol Fourth will present a similar lineup with bigger musical acts, including the Beach Boys.

The White House announced the Hallmark special Tuesday. “I’m delighted to welcome this new addition to the annual White House July 4th celebration,” said first lady Melania Trump. “Americans will be able to tune in from their homes and be part of the festivities.” The event has previously streamed live on the White House website.

The first lady also thanked the National Park Service and National Park Service Foundation, its fundraising arm, sponsors of the 90-minute program.

The idea originated out of a production partnership between the National Park Service and Hallmark, said Pam Slay, spokesperson for Crown Media, home to the cable Hallmark Channel.

The partners also plan to produce the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in December, Slay said. Local public broadcaster WETA-TV produced a PBS special of that annual event from 2009 until Hallmark took over in 2015.

NPS also sponsors PBS’ annual A Capitol Fourth. Other sponsors include Boeing, American Airlines, the U.S. Army and CPB.

The 38th annual A Capitol Fourth will feature host John Stamos. The broadcast will also showcase performances by Jimmy Buffett, Broadway actress Chita Rivera, gospel singer CeCe Winans, “Pershing’s Own” U.S. Army Band and U.S. Army Herald Trumpets. The U.S. Army Presidential Salute Battery will provide live cannon fire during the 1812 Overture.

Entertainers appearing at White House event presented by Hallmark include singer-songwriter Sara Evans, pianist Lola Astanova and former American Idol finalists Jonny Brenns and Jax. “The President’s Own” U.S. Marines Band will perform, along with the U.S. Navy Band Sea Chanters and the U.S. Air Force Band’s Max Impact.

The Crown Media spokesperson said the new Hallmark program is just one of many Independence Day celebrations.

“PBS has a long history of producing a Fourth of July show, so does Macy’s and a handful of others,” Slay said in an email. “We produce programming that appeals to the entire family. We celebrate seasons and special occasions and celebrating America’s 242nd birthday is a program that makes sense for us.”

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