Here’s where to catch Vegas on your TV, Nov. 1-7
All listings are subject to change, and are Pacific time. Also check for listed programs on streaming and on-demand services.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT:
Breakdown (Nov. 1 @ 12:50 a.m. and 9 p.m. on STARZ): In this seriously intense 1997 thriller, Kurt Russell searches for his wife who was abducted in our spooky Western desert environs by even spookier trucker baddie J.T. Walsh and his villainous cronies. Look for scenes filmed across the Nevada desert landscape, including at Nelson’s Landing. And cheer on Russell in a strong performance as a man whose desperation memorably ratchets up with every scene.
Long Island Medium: On the Road — Las Vegas, Parts 1 & 2: (Nov. 1 @ 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. on TLC): Can she really talk to the dead? We’ll leave that up to your personal level of faith or skepticism, but in this two-part season premiere, Theresa Caputo, the Long Island, N.Y. purported realm-crosser visits Vegas, where she surprises a woman at a bachelorette party, followed by a woman’s deceased son (supposedly) making his presence known at a reading. Oh, and Theresa and the family go on a desert hike and attempt indoor skydiving — presumably in the realm of the living.
BIG-SCREEN VEGAS THIS WEEK:
Independence Day (Nov. 1 @ 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. on BBC): “Kick the tires and light the fires, Big Daddy!” — so sayeth Harry Connick Jr.’s hotshot pilot, who winds up as sky-high roadkill in this campy 1996 defend-the-planet blockbuster, which features scenes set in our own Area 51. Here’s some trivial trivia on that: In the briefing room scene, a night vision pan shot of the base is an actual photo taken by a conspiracy theorist at “Freedom Ridge,” an area no longer accessible to the public. Why? … The truth is out there. (Oh wait, that’s from some paranoid alien-conspiracy show, isn’t it?)
Get Him to the Greek (Nov. 1 @ 10:35 p.m. on MOMAX): Vegas is once again on the comedy default setting of Sin City salaciousness (lap dances, nutty sexual escapades) in this 2010 entry — a sequel of sorts to 2008’s Forgetting Sarah Marshall. The plot (of sorts): A record exec (Jonah Hill) has to drag a rock star (Russell Brand) to L.A.’s famous Greek Theatre for a comeback tour kickoff concert. Of course, debauchery ensues en route. Vegas-wise, look for eyefuls of the Hard Rock Café, Liberace Museum, Planet Hollywood, the Plaza hotel-casino and McCarran International Airport.
Casino (Nov. 4 @ 4 a.m. and 12:35 p.m. on STARZ): Robert De Niro’s genius bookie Ace Rothstein (based on Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal), Joe Pesci’s brutal mob enforcer Nicky Santoro (based on Anthony “The Ant” Spilotro) and Sharon Stone’s gorgeous, greedy hustler Ginger McKenna (based on dancer/socialite Geri McGee) form the compelling triumvirate in director Martin Scorsese’s intense 1995 classic about the building and destroying of a casino empire, the fictional Tangiers (based on the Stardust). (And don’t forget Oscar B. Goodman, based on — and played by — Oscar B. Goodman!) The Tangiers was re-created at the Riviera and the Landmark properties. What else will you see? Oh, how about … the Peppermill, the Jockey Club, Las Vegas National Golf Club, the La Concha Motel, the Regency Motel, Piero’s restaurant, Bally’s hotel-casino, Tony Roma’s restaurant, the Glass Pool Inn, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, McCarran International Airport, Fremont Street and Valley of Fire State Park. And who else will you see? Oh, how about … Steve Allen, Jayne Meadows, Dick Smothers, Frankie Avalon, Alan King, James Woods, Jerry Vale and Don Rickles. It doesn’t get more Vegas-y than this one, folks.
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (Nov. 4 @ 7:45 a.m. on IFC): In this 2013 Strip-magicians-at-war comedy, marquee prestidigitators played by Steve Carrell and Steve Buscemi (and partially based on Siegfried & Roy) take on an aggressive, hipster challenger practicing a danger-brand of street magic, played by Jim Carrey (partly based on Criss Angel). MGM magic maven David Copperfield served as a film advisor and shared a few confidential secrets with the filmmakers —for which they had to sign secrecy contracts. Look for scenes shot at Bally’s Las Vegas, Caesars Palace, Paris Las Vegas, Fremont Street, Binion’s Gambling Hall and exterior shots up and down both the Strip and Downtown Las Vegas.
Showgirls (Nov. 5 @ 3 a.m. and 10: 55 p.m. on STARZ): Is it the most notorious stinker about Las Vegas ever made … or the most devilishly clever cult film about Las Vegas ever made? Or both. Read all about it here: Diary of a mad movie.
Ocean’s Eleven (Nov. 5 @ 3 p.m. on WGN): George Clooney and Brad Pitt (and cronies) inherit the casino-heist business from Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin (and cronies) in what could easily be subtitled “Rat Pack: The Next Generation.” Catch scenes filmed at the Bellagio, the Palazzo and McCarran International Airport. [RELATED: Oceans Eleven traded Bruce Willis for George Clooney ]
Vegas Vacation (Nov. 5 @ 8 p.m. and Nov. 6 @ 6 p.m. on AMC): The hapless Griswold family headed by Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo — and featuring those kids who are recast in every movie to play, well, their kids — come to town in this 1997 Vacation series sequel. (Or, being the fourth one, perhaps it’s a “four-quel. Scenes were shot at The Mirage (including the Siegfried & Roy show), MGM Grand, the Riviera, the Klondike, the Sands, the Neon Museum, the Fremont Street Experience, the Hoover Dam and Club Paradise. Cameos include: Christie Brinkley, Sid Caesar and Vegas resident/1992 Playboy Playmate of the Year Corinna Harney-Jones, who must endure Chase’s come-on at the blackjack table. Oh — and Wayne Newton and his Casa de Shenandoah estate. Stray tidbit: A highway sign in the flick says Chicago is 1,880 miles from Vegas. Actually it’s about 1,700. But what’s 180 miles between friends? [RELATED: Vegas Vacation Behind the Camera]
Sgt. Bilko (Nov. 7 @ 6:25 p.m. on STARZ): This 1996 throwaway, with Steve Martin trying to step in for the legendary Phil Silvers in the sitcom role that is etched in TV history, features a scene shot at the Mirage. Perhaps you want to see it for that. Then again, perhaps not. A box-office bomb-e-roo, it also grabbed the award for “Worst Resurrection of a TV Show” at the 1996 Stinkers Bad Movie Awards. YEESH!
VEGAS HERE, THERE, EVERYWHERE:
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (Nov. 1, 2, 4, 5, 6 and 7 @ 6 a.m. on USA; Nov. 4 @ 7 a.m. on OXYGN; and Nov. 7 @ 7 a.m.-1 p.m. on SYFY)
NHRA Drag Racing: Friday Nitro Las Vegas LIVE (Nov. 1 @ 4 p.m. and Nov. 3 @ noon on FS1)
American Ninja Warrior: Las Vegas National Finals (Nov. 1 @ 7-10 p.m. on NBCSN)
Flipping Vegas (Nov. 2 @ 7-10 a.m. on A&E; and Nov. 7 @ 1-8 p.m. and 9 p.m.-midnight on FYI)
Top This Party: Las Vegas (Nov. 2 @ 10 a.m. on LRW)
Friends: The One in Vegas (Nov. 2 @ 8:30 p.m. on Comedy; and Nov. 4 @ noon and 12:30 p.m. on TBS)
Boxing: Pacquiao vs. Thurman from Las Vegas (Nov. 3 @ 6 p.m. on FS1)
Professional Fighters League Playoffs: Heavyweight and Lightweight from Las Vegas (Nov. 3 @ 7 p.m. on ESPN2)
Love & Hip Hop Hollywood: What Happens in Vegas (Nov. 4 @ 5 p.m. on VH1)
Botched: Viva Las Vegas Boobs (Nov. 4 @ 6 p.m. on E!)
Family Guy: Road to Vegas (Nov. 4 @ 7:30 p.m. on TBS)
Pawn Stars (Nov. 4 @ 10 p.m. and 11 p.m., and Nov. 5 @ 1 a.m., 3 a.m., 7 a.m.-3:30 p.m., and 4 p.m. on HISTW)
Roseanne: Vegas Interruptus (Nov. 6 @ 12:30 p.m. on CMT)
Vegas Mafia (Nov. 6 @ 1 p.m. on NATGEO)
Property Brothers Forever Home: Dream Home in the Vegas Suburbs (Nov. 6 @ 8 p.m. and Nov. 7 @ 3 a.m. on HGTV)
Aerial Cities: Las Vegas 24 (Nov. 7 @ 4 a.m. and 11 a.m. on Smithsonian)
— Steve Bornfeld