What to Watch Friday: George Carlin documentary debuts plus new true crime

·3 min read

George Carlin’s American Dream (8 p.m., HBO) - The first part of this two-part documentary, directed by Judd Apatow, debuts tonight with the second part airing tomorrow. The film chronicles the life and work of legendary comedian George Carlin. From HBO: Dubbed the “dean of counterculture comedians,” Carlin’s career spanned half a century during which he headlined 14 HBO comedy specials and appeared on “The Tonight Show” over 130 times, constantly evolving with the times and staying sharply resonant up until his death in 2008 and beyond. Carlin’s ability to zoom in on societal ills has proven eerily prophetic and much of his work resonates today with alarming - and still hilarious - clarity. The documentary examines a cultural chameleon who is remembered as one of the most influential stand-up comics of all time. It also tracks Carlin’s rise to fame and opens an intimate window into his personal life, including his childhood in New York City, his long struggle with drugs that took its toll on his health, his brushes with the law, his loving relationship with Brenda, his wife of 36 years, and his second marriage to Sally Wade. This is also available to stream on HBO Max.

Dateline NBC (9 p.m., NBC) - Andrea Canning reports on the story of Leslie Neulander, who died after what appeared to be an accidental fall in the shower in her home in Syracuse, New York. But two friends suspected something more, and they joined forces to seek justice on her behalf. Canning reports on the latest twists and the final chapter in the case. Interviews with: Onondaga County District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick, Chief ADA Melinda McGunnigle, ADA Sara Fitzpatrick, Leslie’s friend and former medical examiner Mary Jumbelic and more.

20/20 (9 p.m., ABC) - John Quiñones has the latest on the murder of Dennis and Norma Woodruff, found killed inside their home located in the Texas Bible Belt. Authorities quickly suspected the couple’s son, Brandon Woodruff, who was the last person to see them alive. From ABC: They recovered a weapon with one of the victim’s DNA that they say belonged to Brandon and could have been used during the crime. A jury soon convicted him and he received life behind bars, but his family’s opinions remain divided on whether or not he committed the murders. Today, as the Innocence Project of Texas helps Brandon try to clear his name, “20/20” reports on the key question posed by his supporters: Did he actually kill his parents? The new “20/20” features Brandon’s first TV interview since his 2009 conviction with ABC News anchor in which he claims his innocence and discusses how he feels anti-gay bias influenced the investigation. The program also explores the evidence against Brandon and includes interviews with Bonnie Woodruff, Brandon’s grandmother; Allison Clayton, deputy director of the Innocence Project of Texas; members of the jury; and witnesses in the trial. The episode also contains footage of police interviews with Brandon and Brandon’s friends from college and childhood.

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