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'Tis the season for holiday programming on ABC

by jmaloni

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Wed, Nov 27th 2013 07:00 am
`A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving` (ABC photo ©1973 United Feature Syndicate Inc.)
"A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" (ABC photo ©1973 United Feature Syndicate Inc.)

Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's special programming for November, December

ABC celebrates the joy of the holidays, including the beloved animated special, "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving," an all-new Hallmark Hall of Fame film, "Christmas in Conway," the all-new competition series, "The Great Christmas Light Fight," and classic, animated Christmas specials from Walt Disney Animation Studios, Peanuts, DreamWorks Animation and Dr. Seuss, among others.

Highlights include:

Thursday, Nov. 28, 8 p.m. "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" - This marks the 40th anniversary of the classic half-hour animated Peanuts special, created by late cartoonist Charles M. Schulz. In the 1973 special, "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving," Charlie Brown wants to do something special for the gang. However, the dinner he arranges is a disaster when the caterers, Snoopy and Woodstock, prepare toast and popcorn as the main dish. Humiliated, it will take all of Marcie's persuasive powers to salvage the holiday for Charlie Brown. A special bonus cartoon from Charles M. Schulz, "This Is America, Charlie Brown: The Mayflower Voyagers," will air with the Peanuts classic, in which history comes to animated screen life in a captivating and informative program about the Mayflower voyagers.

Friday, Nov. 29, 8 p.m.: "Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas" - The 1966 animated holiday story is loved by all, tall and small. Based on the classic children's book by the legendary Dr. Seuss, "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas," takes viewers inside a snowflake to Whoville, the magical land of the Whos. But high above this holiday-loving town resides the Grinch, a hateful creature with a heart three sizes too small, who despises Christmas and plots to steal it from the Whos. Will a greedy Mayor Augustus Maywho or the seductive Martha May Whovier ruin his plans? Or will the loving little Cindy Lou Who be able to teach The Grinch the true meaning of Christmas? The voice cast includes Boris Karloff as The Grinch/Narrator and June Foray as Cindy Lou Who.

8:30 p.m., "Shrek the Halls" - DreamWorks Animation's "Shrek the Halls," a half-hour of entertainment starring America's favorite ogre and his friends and featuring the voices of Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz and Antonio Banderas. Just when Shrek thought he could finally sit back, relax and enjoy his happily ever after with his new family, the most joyous of all holidays arrives. It's Christmas Eve and everyone is filled with holiday cheer - except for Shrek. He isn't exactly the picture of yuletide joy, but for the sake of Fiona and the kids, he tries to get into the spirit of things as only an ogre can. Unfortunately, everyone seems to have their own ideas about what Christmas is all about, so when Donkey, Puss In Boots, Gingerbread Man and the whole gang try to join in on the fun, Shrek's plans for a cozy family celebration ends up spiraling into one truly unforgettable Christmas.

Sunday, Dec. 1, 9 p.m.: Hallmark Hall of Fame: "Christmas in Conway" - Andy Garcia and Mary-Louise Parker are joined by Mandy Moore, Cheri Oteri and Riley Smith in the "Hallmark Hall of Fame" presentation of "Christmas in Conway." Duncan Mayor (Garcia) decides the perfect Christmas present for his beloved wife, Suzy (Parker), is a ride on a real Ferris wheel, set up in their very own back yard. As a young man, it was the perfect place for a wedding proposal. Now, years later, in order to relive the experience with his wife, Duncan will go to any length to make their fantasy become a reality. Natalie Stringer (Moore), a home-care nurse, moves in with Suzy and Duncan to care for Suzy - much to the annoyance of Duncan, who resents the intrusion. Love is in the air, and not just between Suzy and Duncan. Romantic sparks also fly between Natalie and Tommy Harris (Smith), a landscape designer who's working on a project with the mayor's irascible next-door neighbor, played by Oteri.

Monday, Dec. 2, 8 p.m.: "A Charlie Brown Christmas" - The ABC Television Network will celebrate the joy of the holidays with the classic animated Christmas-themed Peanuts special, "A Charlie Brown Christmas," created by late cartoonist Charles M. Schulz. The hour will also include "Prep & Landing: Operation Secret Santa," the seven-minute animated short featuring the voice of Betty White as Mrs. Claus. In the digitally remastered 1965 special, "A Charlie Brown Christmas," Charlie Brown complains about the overwhelming materialism that he sees everywhere during the Christmas season. Lucy suggests he become director of the school Christmas pageant and Charlie Brown accepts, but it proves to be a frustrating struggle. When an attempt to restore the proper spirit with a forlorn little fir Christmas tree fails, Charlie Brown needs Linus' help to learn what the real meaning of Christmas is.

9 p.m., "CMA Country Christmas" - Hosted by Jennifer Nettles, country music superstars Trace Adkins, Luke Bryan, Sheryl Crow, Lucy Hale, Jake Owen, Kellie Pickler, Rascal Flatts, Darius Rucker and Michael W. Smith are confirmed to perform. "CMA Country Christmas" will also feature a special performance by Willie Robertson of the popular A&E series "Duck Dynasty," who will be joined by his family as they celebrate the launch of their new holiday album, "Duck The Halls: A Robertson Family Christmas."

Monday, Dec. 9, 8 p.m.: "Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town" - In the perennial favorite created in 1970 by Rankin-Bass Productions ("Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," "Frosty the Snowman,"), Fred Astaire narrates this timeless tale of Kris Kringle (Mickey Rooney), a young boy with an immense desire to do good things for others. Narrated by Astaire, the vocal cast features Rooney as Kris Kringle; Keenan Wynn as Winter; Paul Frees as Burgermeister Meisterburger, Grimsby, the soldiers and the townsmen; Joan Gardner as Tanta Kringle; Robie Lester as Jessica; and Andrea Sacino, Dina Lynn, Gary White and Greg Thomas as the children.

9 p.m., "The Great Christmas Light Fight" - Episode101 - Premiere -- The first Christmas lights competition of its kind for television will feature four families competing each week to transform their homes to the extreme for Christmas - in ways that would certainly make even Clark Griswold envious - with a total of $250,000 in prizing ($50,000 won each week). These 20 families were chosen through an extensive nationwide search, based on their previous elaborate Christmas light displays, incredible choreography and over-the-top designs. Michael Moloney and Sabrina Soto (both from "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition") are the judges for the series.

Monday, Dec. 16, 8 p.m.: "Disney Prep & Landing" - Walt Disney Animation Studios brings you a half-hour holiday special tale of an elite unit of Elves known as Prep & Landing. After working tirelessly on Prep & Landing for 227 years, an elf named Wayne is upset when he doesn't receive an expected promotion to be the director of Naughty List Intelligence. Instead, Magee, the North Pole Christmas Eve command center coordinator (NPCECCC for short), partners Wayne with Lanny, an idealistic rookie who has an undying enthusiasm for Christmas. During their Christmas Eve mission, Wayne and Lanny encounter unexpected challenges that push them to their limits. Will the elves be able to guide Dasher, Dancer and the rest of the reindeer pulling Santa's sleigh through a raging snowstorm to ensure a merry Christmas for all?

8:30 p.m., "Prep & Landing 2: Naughty vs. Nice" - The yuletide adventures of Christmas elves Lanny and Wayne continue. With the "Big 2-5" fast approaching, Wayne and Lanny must race to recover classified North Pole technology that has fallen into the hands of a computer-hacking Naughty Kid. Desperate to prevent Christmas from descending into chaos, Wayne seeks out the foremost Naughty Kid expert to aid in the mission, a bombastic member of the Coal Elf Brigade who also happens to be his estranged brother, Noel.

Saturday, Dec. 21, 8 p.m.: "I Want A Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown!" - "I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown!" centers on ReRun, the lovable, but ever-skeptical younger brother of Linus and Lucy. It's Christmas vacation and, as usual, ReRun's big sister is stressing him out, so he decides to turn to his best friend, Snoopy, for amusement and holiday cheer. However, his faithful but unpredictable beagle companion has plans of his own, giving ReRun reason to ask Snoopy to invite his canine brother, Spike, for a visit. The cast of "I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown!" includes Jimmy Bennett as ReRun, Adam Taylor Gordon as Charlie Brown, Ashley Rose Orr as Lucy Van Pelt, Corey Padnos as Linus Van Pelt, Hannah Leigh Dworkin as Sally, Nick Price as Schroeder, Jake Miner as Pig Pen/Franklin, Kaitlyn Maggio as the little girl, and Bill Melendez as Snoopy.

Monday, Dec. 23, 8:30 p.m.: "A Chipmunk Christmas" - It's coming up on Christmastime and the Chipmunks are eager for the big day to arrive. Swept up in a holiday mood, Alvin gives away his cherished harmonica to a sick little boy. Meanwhile, Dave has booked Alvin to perform a harmonica solo at Carnegie Hall.

Tuesday, Dec. 24, 8:30 p.m.: ABC Movie Of The Week - "Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas" - The contemporary classic holiday comedy starring Jim Carrey, Jeffrey Tambor, Christine Baranski and Molly Shannon. Based on the classic children's book by the legendary Dr. Seuss, the live action "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas," takes viewers inside a snowflake to Whoville, the magical land of the Whos. High above this holiday-loving town resides the Grinch (Carrey), a nasty creature with a heart three sizes too small, who hates Christmas and plots to steal it from the Whos. Will a greedy Mayor Augustus Maywho (Tambor) or the seductive Martha May Whovier (Baranski) foil his plans? Or will it be the loving little Cindy Lou Who (Taylor Momsen) who will teach him the true meaning of Christmas?

Wednesday, Dec. 25, 10 a.m.:"Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade" - Music, magic and merriment come together when Disneyland Resort in California and Walt Disney World Resort in Florida present the 30th annual holiday TV special. The star-studded sounds of the season include some of today's top musical talents lending their voices to celebrate the holidays. And, from fairy tales to classic Christmas carols, Disney friends and holiday characters spread joy and good tidings through Disneyland Park in California and the Magic Kingdom Park in Florida with fanciful floats and colorful cavalcades, and Santa Claus himself along with his reindeer, wend their holly jolly way down Main Street, USA.

Monday, Dec. 30, 8 p.m.: "Happy New Year, Charlie Brown" - The ABC Television Network and the Peanuts gang will ring in the new year with the animated special, "Happy New Year, Charlie Brown," created by late cartoonist Charles M. Schulz, along with "She's a Good Skate, Charlie Brown." In "Happy New Year, Charlie Brown," the Peanuts gang is ringing in 1986, and Marcie and Peppermint Patty are throwing a big New Year's Eve bash. Charlie Brown plans to celebrate the holiday by curling up with a big book that weighs nearly as much as he does, Tolstoy's "War and Peace." The book's weight doesn't stop him from lugging it to Lucy's pre-party dance class, where he cuts a mean rug with a rollicking Patty. With just 1,131 pages to go, Charlie Brown takes another break, this time for the party, and summons the courage to invite his true love, the Little Red-Haired Girl. She doesn't respond, but hapless Chuck shows up anyway - with Tolstoy in tow. Then he settles down with the book - on a porch swing in a snowstorm, and in so doing, misses the evening's big surprise. In "She's a Good Skate, Charlie Brown," disaster strikes as Peppermint Patty heads to her first major ice-skating competition with coach Snoopy and faithful companion Marcie by her side. As always, the unassuming Woodstock flies in to save the day.

9 p.m., "Rudolph's Shiny New Year" - It's Rudolph to the rescue when Happy, the Baby New Year, goes missing, in "Rudolph's Shiny New Year," the classic Rankin/Bass stop-motion animated holiday special. Red Skelton narrates and voices Father Time, while Frank Gorshin and Morey Amsterdam also provide voices for characters. Father Time asks the most famous reindeer of all, Rudolph, to find the next Baby New Year before midnight on New Year's Eve.

Tuesday, Dec. 31, 8 p.m.: "New Year's Rockin' Eve Presents The 30 Greatest Women In Music" - Ryan Seacrest, Jenny McCarthy and Fergie host a fascinating two-hour countdown of the 30 greatest female artists in music, through clips and interviews from the archives of dick clark productions.

10 p.m., "Dick Clark's Primetime New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest" - Ryan Seacrest spotlights some of the year's hottest artists, groups and songs. Fergie hosts the Los Angeles party, and Jenny McCarthy is live with all the festivities in Times Square.

11:30 p.m., and 1:08 a.m., "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2013, Parts 1 & 2" -Ryan Seacrest counts down to midnight live from Times Square, and then the party continues with some of the year's hottest acts from Los Angeles and New York.

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