Here Come the Holiday TV Shows
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Go ahead and slap a big shiny bow on your television set, which will be bursting with holiday largess over the next few weeks.
Movies, music, classic cartoons and more will mark Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year. From television’s point of view, it’s not hard to see why the medium would exploit _ pardon us, celebrate _ this time of year so fully.
After all, if a network or cable channel can find a durable little charmer like ``Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,″ TV’s longest-running special, they have a solid performer to pull out year after year after year.
Viewers, of course, welcome the chance to relive electronic childhood memories and find new ones to share with the youngsters. And there’s the fun of comparing Celine Dion’s ``Silent Night″ with Kathie Lee Gifford’s.
So, in the spirit of the holidays, we’ll give TV a cheery thanks for being generous and wish it a bountiful commercial harvest in return. Here are the highlights (all times EST):
_ ``Ebenezer″ stars Jack Palance as the title character in a retelling of Dickens’ tale set in the 1870s American West. Palance is the town miser who tries to cheat a young cowboy in the TNT film, 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 25.
_ Harry Hamlin plays a scheming businessman who also happens to be Santa Claus’ son in ``Like Father, Like Santa,″ showing on Fox Family Channel 9 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Gary Coleman co-stars as a feisty elf.
_ ``The Christmas Wish″ stars Neil Patrick Harris as a young man who goes in search of a family secret and, with Debbie Reynolds’ help, finds himself. It airs 9 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6, on CBS.
_ Scott Glenn and Courtney B. Vance star in ``Naked City: A Killer Christmas,″ directed by Peter Bogdanovich and with characters drawn from the noir classic ``The Naked City.″ It’s on Showtime at 8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 13; the original film precedes it at 6:15 p.m.
_ ``It’s a Wonderful Life″ once again as NBC airs the Frank Capra black-and-white classic starring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed at 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 19.
_ Country singer LeAnn Rimes and Bernadette Peters star in ``Holiday in Your Heart,″ airing 9 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 24, on ABC. Rimes is on the verge of her Grand Ole Opry debut in Nashville in this movie based on the book she co-wrote with Tom Carter.
_ Burl Ives narrates ``Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,″ 8 p.m. Monday, Nov. 30, based on the Johnny Marks song about a shy reindeer with unexpected talent. CBS has remastered the program and included footage unseen since its 1964 debut; call it the director’s cut.
_ ``How the Grinch Stole Christmas″ is part of a four-hour Dr. Seuss marathon beginning 10 a.m. Friday, Nov. 27, on Cartoon Network. The channel also is running 24 hours of holiday cartoons like ``Yogi’s Christmas Caper″ from 12 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 24.
_ The Peanuts gang again finds the true meaning of Christmas in ``A Charlie Brown Christmas,″ rebroadcast by CBS on 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 2.
_ ``Annabelle’s Wish,″ 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6, on Fox, tells the tale of a calf with a yearning to join Santa’s reindeer on their rounds and her friendship with a boy in need of a miracle. Narrated by country singer Randy Travis.
_ ``Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas,″ airing 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6 on ABC, reunites Paige O’Hara, Robby Benson, Angela Lansbury and other members of the original ``Beauty″ voice cast.
_ ``The Year Without a Santa Claus,″ a 1974 cartoon musical featuring the voices of Mickey Rooney and Shirley Booth, airs 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12 on CBS. Santa, bummed by the world’s lack of holiday spirit, goes on strike.
_ ``VeggieTales Christmas Spectacular,″ 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 19, on Pax TV, brings vegetable video characters Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber to television as they try to save Christmas from rampant materialism.
_ Parades and celebrations throughout the United States are featured in ``The All-American Thanksgiving Parade,″ airing 9 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 26, on CBS. Actors Catherine Bell and Kevin James are hosts of the Macy’s parade segments.
_ Champion figure skaters Ekaterina Gordeeva, Scott Hamilton and Kurt Browning are part of CBS’ ``The Snowden, Raggedy Ann & Andy Holiday Show,″ 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 27.
_ ``A Victorian Christmas: Kitty Bartholomew in Cape May,″ 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 28, on HGTV, offers a peek at the lavishly decorated Victorian homes of Cape May, N.J.
_ The Rockettes of Radio City Music Hall fame, Olympic figure skaters and an estimated 100,000 spectators will be on hand for the big Christmas tree light show on ``Christmas in Rockefeller Center,″ 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 2, on NBC.
_ Party planner Colin Cowie offers tips on holiday menus and decoration in ``The Everyday Elegance With Colin Cowie Holiday Special,″ 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 9, on the Romance Classics cable channel.
_ Shirley Jones narrates ``The Great Christmas Movies,″ a look at Hollywood’s depiction of the holiday in films ranging from ``It’s a Wonderful Life″ to ``A Christmas Story.″ The documentary shows at 10 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 15, on cable’s AMC.
_ And now for something completely different: BBC America presents Queen Elizabeth’s annual holiday message to the Commonwealth at 11:45 a.m. Friday, Dec. 25.
_ Walt Disney World’s Very Merry Christmas Parade will be shown at 10 a.m. Friday, Dec. 25, on ABC. With actors Caroline Rhea and Richard Kind as hosts, the special will showcase Disney’s Florida theme parks. And, presumably, the holiday.
_ ``Celine Dion: These Are Special Times,″ features the Canadian pop singer’s hit tunes along with traditional Christmas fare. It airs 9 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 25, on CBS.
_ ``A Classic Christmas With Martina McBride,″ at 8 p.m. EST Wednesday, Dec. 9, on cable’s TNN, showcases holiday favorites including ``The Christmas Song.″ Guests include K.T. Oslin and the Nashville Symphony.
_ Barbara Mandrell serves as host of ``My Favorite Christmas Songs,″ 9 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 16, on Pax TV, with guests including Mariah Carey, Michael Crawford, Hanson and Boyz II Men sharing songs and holiday memories.
_ Pam Tillis, the Air Force Chorale and others join ``Kathie Lee: Christmas Every Day,″ airing 9 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 16, on CBS. Kathie Lee Gifford sings holiday favorites in the special shot on location in Beaver Creek, Colo.
_ ``Christmas in Washington,″ 10 p.m. Friday, Dec. 18, on NBC, includes performances by popular singers, the U.S. Academy Glee Club and U.S. Army Band and concludes with a message from President Clinton.
_ Images of Frank Sinatra, Alan Shepard and Gene Autry are included in ``Life Remembers,″ a look at famous and little-known Americans who died this past year and the contributions they made. It airs at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 30, on CBS.
_ ``Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve ’99,″ 11:35 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 31, on ABC, is Clark’s 27th celebration of the big night. We know he’s ready for the big millennial one. The Backstreet Boys, Monica and Chicago are among this year’s performers.
_ ``After New Year’s Eve With David Sanborn,″ airing 1:06 a.m. Friday, Jan. 1, on ABC, extends the celebration with the saxophonist. His guests including Eric Clapton and rhythm and blues artist D’Angelo.
Elsewhere in television ....
TRAVEL TIP: If you’re hitting the road for the holidays, you might want to check out ``Travel Daily,″ 9 p.m. EST weekdays on the Travel Channel. Host Peter Greenberg discusses topics including bargain airfares and cruises, how to fly solo or with kids and pets and your rights as a traveler.