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`Christmas in Rockefeller Center` Pictured is Kelly Clarkson. (NBC photo by Brian Bowen)
"Christmas in Rockefeller Center" Pictured is Kelly Clarkson. (NBC photo by Brian Bowen)

Kelly Clarkson to usher in holidays as part of NBC's beloved 'Christmas In Rockefeller Center' tree-lighting

Press Release

Fri, Oct 27th 2023 12:20 pm

Emmy & Grammy winner will host, perform during annual 2-hour holiday special live on Nov. 29 and simulcast on Peacock 

Press Release

A tradition spanning over nine decades, NBC celebrates the annual lighting of one of the world’s most famous trees with its beloved “Christmas in Rockefeller Center” special. This year, for the first time, Emmy and Grammy Award winner Kelly Clarkson will pull double duty at the annual two-hour holiday affair live on Wednesday, Nov. 29 (8 p.m. ET/PT), on NBC and simulcast on Peacock.

Clarkson will not only host NBC’s iconic Christmas special, but also deliver festive performances – all from the historic NYC spot that is now also home to her eponymous talk show “The Kelly Clarkson Show.” This year marks the 20th anniversary of her first “Christmas in Rockefeller Center” performance, and she has performed a handful of times since. NBC’s “Today” anchors Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, Al Roker and Craig Melvin will once again join the tree lighting for a special appearance. 

No stranger to spreading seasonal cheer, the two-time Grammy-winning singer-songwriter has released multiple holiday albums, including “When Christmas Comes Around ...” in 2021 and “Wrapped in Red” in 2013.

Clarkson said, “I’m so excited to consider this city and Rockefeller Center my new home, and I can’t imagine a better way to kick off Christmas this year than to be a part of this beautiful New York tradition with the lighting of the tree!” 

“The lighting of that magnificent tree at Rockefeller Center is one of the true joys of the holiday season, and to have Kelly both host and perform feels like we’re getting our Christmas presents early this year,” said Jen Neal, executive vice president, live events and specials, NBCUniversal Media Group. 

Prior to the primetime telecast, an additional live hour of the special will be broadcast on all NBC Owned Television Stations and on numerous NBC affiliates nationwide starting at 7 p.m. ET. Check local listings. This special live hour will be led by “ACCESS Hollywood” host Mario Lopez as well as WNBC news anchors Natalie Pasquarella and David Ushery.

The tradition of the Rockefeller Christmas tree dates back more than 90 years to 1931 during the Great Depression. The first official tree-lighting ceremony occurred two years later, in 1933, in front of the then 8-month-old RCA Building (the current Comcast Building). The Christmas tree gathering was enhanced in 1936 with the opening of the Rockefeller Plaza outdoor ice-skating rink. NBC-TV televised the tree lighting for the first time in 1951 on “The Kate Smith Show” and as part of the nationwide “Howdy Doody” television show from 1953-55.

NBCUniversal will continue its partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation for the 15th year in a row to support tree-planting efforts across the U.S. This year, NBCUniversal will plant 25,000 trees in areas that have been affected by wildfires, hurricanes and other natural disasters. The Arbor Day Foundation is the largest nonprofit organization dedicated to planting trees, having helped to plant more than 500 million trees since it was founded just over 50 years ago.

Continuing a longstanding tradition, after the tree leaves Rockefeller Center it will be donated to Habitat for Humanity and milled into lumber that will be sustainably utilized for home building. 

In order to create a more inclusive experience for blind and visually impaired viewers, NBCUniversal is proud to present the full NBC broadcast with live audio description on the Secondary Audio Program channel (SAP), provided by Descriptive Video Works. The broadcast will be available with additional audio narration, describing the rich visuals of the tree lighting. 

At key moments throughout the night, viewers will have the opportunity to donate to the Red Nose Day Campaign. Funds raised during the broadcast will support critical programs that ensure children and families have the access they need to comprehensive health services, nutritious food, quality education and safe spaces to live, learn, work and play. Red Nose Day partners include Feeding America, Save the Children, Boys & Girls Clubs of America/Native Clubs, Brotherhood Sister Sol, Youth Design Center, and Covenant House. Since 2015, Red Nose Day has raised more than $365 million and positively impacted the lives of over 32 million children in the U.S. and around the world. 

“Christmas in Rockefeller Center” is produced by the Emmy Award-winning Brad Lachman Productions. Lachman and Bill Bracken serve as executive producers. Glenn Weiss directs.

Watch the announcement on “The Kelly Clarkson Show” here: https://youtu.be/hvnhSIhZ6nk

Additional “Christmas in Rockefeller Center” performers will be announced at a later date.

For more information on “Christmas in Rockefeller Center," visit https://bit.ly/3S8Va5k.

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