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TELEVISION: Christmas specials fill TV screens starting Friday

by Lynn Elber, The Associated Press | November 18, 2021 at 1:32 a.m.
Reba McEntire (left) and John Schneider appear in the holiday special “Reba McEntire’s Christmas in Tune,” premiering Nov. 26 on Lifetime. (Lifetime via AP)


LOS ANGELES — TV is overstocked with holiday specials and rom-coms — including the Food Network's first movie and the rebranded GAC Family channel's Christmas debut.

Old favorites such as 1965's "A Charlie Brown Christmas" may require a measure of strategy to watch. The classic Peanuts special will air on PBS and, for a three-day window, be available free on Apple TV+.

The twist for the Food Network's film is its debut on corporate sibling Discovery+ which, as with other streaming services, offers a free-trial option. Like Santa Claus scoring courtesy cookies, enjoy the gift while it lasts.

Here's a sampling of what to watch while sipping nog and nibbling on roasted chestnuts — if available on store shelves.

MOVIETIME

"A Rich Christmas," streaming now on BET+. A self-absorbed socialite gets a new perspective on life when she's forced to work at a family homeless shelter. Bill Bellamy and Tyler Abron star.

"Candy Coated Christmas," Discovery+, Friday. Molly McCook plays an executive whose life takes a detour when she visits the town of Peppermint Hollow. Ree Drummond (Food Network's "The Pioneer Woman") plays the local baker.

"A Kindhearted Christmas," GAC Family (formerly Great American Country), Saturday. A woman wants to emulate her late husband's generosity, bringing joy to others and maybe to herself. Jennie Garth stars.

"A Kiss Before Christmas," Hallmark Channel, Sunday. James Denton, Teri Hatcher and Marilu Henner star in the tale of a man who gets the alternate life he wished for, and tries to give it back.

"Who Is Christmas Eve?" Bounce, 7 p.m. Sunday. A young woman (Paige Hurd) abandoned as an infant delves into her past with help from her boyfriend (Romeo Miller) and an investigative genealogist.

"Reba McEntire's Christmas in Tune," Lifetime, 7 p.m. Nov. 26. Georgia (McEntire) and Joe (John Schneider) broke up as a couple and a singing duo years ago, but their daughter wants a reunion for charity.

"Christmas Again," Disney Channel Dec. 3. Teenager Rowena is caught living the holiday over and over again after wishing that she could reclaim her life before her parents' divorce. Scarlett Estevez stars.

"It's a Wonderful Life," NBC, 7 p.m. Dec. 4, and Dec. 24. Jimmy Stewart stars as a despairing man who finds value in his life with the help of an aspiring angel, Clarence, in this holiday classic.

"The Christmas Thief," ION Television, 8 p.m. Dec. 5. A novice private eye, home for the holidays and trying to solve burglaries blamed on Santa Claus, clashes with a local detective. Michelle Borth and Vivica A. Fox co-star.

FA LA LA LA LA

"iHeartRadio Holiday Special," the iHeartRadio app, YouTube and Facebook pages. 6 p.m. Wednesday. Mario Lopez hosts a virtual concert including Train, Kelly Clarkson, Michael Buble and Pentatonix.

"CMA Country Christmas," ABC, 8 p.m. Nov. 30. Performers and songs include Kelsea Ballerini ("Santa Baby"), Gabby Barrett ("The First Noel"), Lady A ("Wonderful Christmastime") and Little Big Town ("Christmas Time Is Here").

"Kelly Clarkson Presents When Christmas Comes Around," NBC 9 p.m. Dec. 1. Clarkson hosts a special that offers music, celebrates tradition, and gives to those in need.

"Michael Buble's Christmas in the City," NBC, 9 p.m. Dec. 6, and Dec. 22. The pop singer marks the 10th anniversary of his album "Christmas" with music and comedy.

"20 Years of Christmas with the Tabernacle Choir," PBS Dec. 13, and Friday (check local listing for times). Brian Stokes Mitchell narrates a retrospective of performances by Kristin Chenoweth, Audra McDonald and dozens more artists.

STOCKING STUFFERS

"A Charlie Brown Christmas," now on Apple TV+ (free from Dec. 11-13) and on PBS Dec. 19 (check local listings for time). Is Christmas all about the goods or good-heartedness? The question unsettles Charlie Brown in this 1965 classic.

"Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," CBS, 7 p.m. Monday. A reindeer finds that being different is worthwhile in this 1964 special that's based on the Johnny Marks song and narrated by Burl Ives.

"How the Grinch Stole Christmas," NBC, 7 p.m. Nov. 26 and Dec. 25. Horror movie king Boris Karloff provided the voice for Dr. Seuss' infamous Grinch for the enduring 1966 cartoon.

"A Home for the Holidays," CBS, 8 p.m. Dec. 5. In the special's 23rd annual broadcast, inspiring stories of youngsters adopted from foster care are joined with performances by pop artists.


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