A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE FROM ION TELEVISION
A CHRISTMAS IN VERMONT – SATURDAY, DEC. 24, 7/6c PM
A GOLDEN CHRISTMAS – SATURDAY, DEC. 24, 9/8c PM
A GOLDEN CHRISTMAS 2 – SATURDAY, DEC. 24, 11/10c PM IONTELEVISION.COM/HOLIDAYS.
It’s December 22, 2016, and this is the final special Thursday afternoon editions Cynopsis is publishing this month – a quick guide to keep you in the know about the best in TV, movies, and industry events this weekend.
Make sure you catch…
Christmas afternoon goes to the dogs on CBS, with 4p special MVP: Sports Stars and their Most Valuable Pets. And apparently, it wasn’t hard getting athletes to contribute. “I’ve never been associated with booking stars for a television program where we’ve received more cooperation from the talent,” Juma Entertainment executive producer Robert Horowitz tells Weekender. “Sports stars love their dogs and are more than willing to share the important role their canine family members play in their everyday life. You’ll see in our show how active some superstars are in dog related causes, whether through financial support and/or committing off-the-field time to assist canine community initiatives.” Former NFL QB Boomer Esiason hosts.
Hallmark Channel two-hour special episode When Calls the Heart Christmas centers on a peddler who teaches the townspeople of Hope Valley lessons about joy and giving, Sunday at 8p. Prepare for buzz fans of the series, who call themselves “Hearties,” actively engage on social media, with the third season average registering growth of +45% and +46% among unique authors and +631% and +175% among Tweets compared to season one and two.
Holiday Baking Championship Special premieres Sunday at 9p on Food Network, with three Holiday Baking champs and three fan faves from Kids Baking Championship showing off their cooking chops. Bobby Deen hosts.
TBS and TNT will simulcast an encore of music special Surprise! Instant Xmas Carol on Saturday at 7p, featuring celebrity carolers including Conan O’Brien, Rashida Jones, Charles Barkley, Jane Lynch and more (some are… better than others). And we triple-dog dare you to miss this: Xmas Carol will be followed by the sister nets’ simulcast of the annual 24 Hours of A Christmas Story Marathon.
Documentary Astral, focused on the hardships of immigrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea to reach European ports, has its U.S. premiere on Noticias Telemundo Sunday at 11:30a. Spanish journalist and filmmaker Jordi Evole chronicles the human tragedies that befall refugees as well as the mysticism and dedication of the rescue crews committed to saving their lives.
Season got you stressed? On Friday, Ask Dr. Nandi examines known stressors, offering tips on how to overcome challenges of the holidays. The medical lifestyle show is available in syndication, as well as DISH Network and AT&T.
An interview with the Dalai Lama will air on CBS Sunday Morning, Christmas at 9a. The answer to problems like too much nationalism and violence, says the spiritual leader, is to think “beyond religion beyond national boundary.”
Here’s inspiration to cull your Christmas haul: A&E is launching Hoarders Overload on Sunday at 10p. In the first episode, a woman’s hoarding forces her partner to sleep in the garage and her teenage daughter to share her bed.
Trollhunters debuts Friday on Netflix. In the animated series, an ordinary teen discovers a secret civilization of trolls and finds his destiny is to save two worlds. Kelsey Grammer, Anton Yelchin and Ron Perlman are among the voice cast. Also landing on Netflix Friday: a Christmas special episode of sci-fi series Sense8. For more on the latest digital series and specials, check out Watcheroo.
Sunday is a day of Christmas concerts on AXS TV. Featured artists include Jessica, Simpson, Chris Isaak, Michael McDonald, Faith Hill and Heart starting at 8a.
CMT’s Hot 20 Holiday Salute, filmed at a military base in Bahrain, airs Saturday at 9a. The Naval Support Activity Bahrain is home to the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and U.S. 5th Fleet.
Concert special Listen! A Musical Celebration of Christmas at Berea College will be broadcast Saturday at 11:35p on CBS. Music is performed by the students and music faculty of Berea College in Berea, KY, more than 60 percent of whom are not music majors. The program includes performances by the Berea College Folk Roots Ensemble; Women’s Chorus; Chamber Singers; Concert Choir; Wind Ensemble; Jazz Ensemble; Black Music Ensemble; and Bluegrass Ensemble reflecting the diversity of Berea College’s student enrollment and portraying Berea’s motto: “God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth.”
Univision’s Feliz Navidad con Mix5 will be the first concert broadcast of La Banda’s second season winners: Christian Castro, Garmandy Candelario, Taishmara Rivera, Brian Cruz, and Danelly Hoyer. William Valdes and Ela Velden host, Saturday at 8p.
Travel Channel promises viewers trips to the world’s coolest locations in “Chill-cation.” From this Sunday through December 31 at 9p, explorers lead ice-themed episodes of popular series. The stunt kicks off with a trek to an extreme water park in the Christmas evening premiere of Alaska Water and Ice. “The week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is a huge travel time for many Americans,” said Courtney White, SVP, programming. “It’s also the ideal time for what we call a ‘chill-cation’ when families gather to relax and watch TV.”
Science Channel will air every episode of MythBusters in chronological order, starting Friday at midnight and ending Monday, January 2 in “MythBusters Holiday Mega Marathon.” The reality show celebrating old-fashioned ingenuity debuted on Discovery Channel in 2003, and ended earlier this year.
El Rey Network’s third annual “Kaiju Christmas” marathon offers over 96 hours of Godzilla action. The film that started it all, Gojira, launches the event on Friday at 6a, while Godzilla Raids Again wraps things up on Monday at 6a.
Freeform’s “Pop Up Santa” stunt surprises four students at Oakland, NJ’s Reed Academy, when NBA star Karl-Anthony Towns hands out tickets to a Minnesota Timberwolves vs. New York Knicks basketball game along with a meet-and-greet. The Pop Up Santa surprise airs Saturday during the movie Elf at 7:40p.
TV One’s “Winter Onederland” continues this weekend with encore presentations of original holiday movies beginning Saturday at 11a. The line-up includes Merry Ex-mas, which became the net’s #2 original movie in 2016 among African American W25-54. “A Very Unsung Christmas” marathon airs Christmas and New Year’s Day, starting at 6a.
ION’s “Brighten Your Holiday Season” on Sunday lineup starts with Christmas Mail at 9a and ends with Golden Christmas 3 at 1a.
ESPN2 will simulcast ESPN Deportes’ Spanish-language coverage of the NBA Christmas Day Game between L.A. Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers, live at 10:30p. “This is another opportunity for ESPN to reach the growing Hispanic NBA fan-base, and builds upon the success the NBA has had on ESPN Deportes,” says Freddy Rolon, VP and GM of ESPN Deportes. “It also represents another step forward in our efforts to serve Hispanic sports fans across platforms.”
World’s Toughest Mudder, an extreme 24-hour race, will be featured Sunday at 2p on CBS, with competitors facing daunting obstacles to claim prizes worth over $170,000. CBS Sports follows the grueling event with the World’s Toughest Aftershow at 3p, hosted by Brent Stover.
Hour-long special PGA Tour 2016: Must-See Moments of the Year airs at Sunday 2:30p on NBC, highlighting the best moments, biggest events and breakout stars from the 2015-16 PGA Tour season.
ESPN nets are doing their share to get sports fans in the spirit of the season. ESPN Films’ third annual “30 for 30 Christmas Marathon” returns with 24 straight hours of sports docs on ESPN2; SEC Network accompanies its Yule log with school fight songs; and ESPNU debuts a new holiday tradition: Mike Golic Jr. eating Christmas cookies on air – in his holiday pajamas.
ABC and ESPN continue their Christmas tradition of NBA action on Sunday with five games highlighted by a rematch of the most-watched NBA Finals in ABC history, the Golden State Warriors vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Football fans can unwind Christmas night as the Denver Broncos face the Kansas City Chiefs on NBC at 8p.
The Washington Capitals, CSN and Elliot in the Morning are hosting a toy drive supported by Geico to benefit The Salvation Army on Friday, when the Capitals play host to the Tampa Bay Lightning at Verizon Center. Fans are encouraged to donate new, unwrapped toys at the F Street entrance; people who donate will receive a poster of Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner. Last season Capitals and Wizards fans donated 1,365 toys and nearly $1,400 to The Salvation Army through December toy drives.
Arriving This Weekend:
An overprotective dad played by Bryan Cranston meets his daughter’s no-filter billionaire boyfriend (James Franco) in Why Him?. Noting that director John Hamburg (I Love You, Man) “goes for the raunchiest humor possible,” the NY Daily News concedes the film “throws enough laughs at the viewer that at least some of them land.”
Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt are on a spaceship bound for a new life on another planet when their trip takes a deadly turn, in Passengers. Despite the “sizzling volatility” of Lawrence, says the NY Times, the movie “increasingly succumbs to timidity and begins shrinking into a bland science-fiction adventure whose feats of daring and skill feel stale and secondhand.”
And we have a winner! A 12-year-old dealing with a cancer-stricken mother (Felicity Jones) and bullying classmates escapes into a world of monsters and fairy tales, including a tree voiced by Liam Neeson, in A Monster Calls. “Evocative, mysterious and shot through with bruising humor and heartbreak,” raves Rolling Stone. “There’s magic in it.”
“Thankfully, no plans to travel this Christmas weekend,” says Robert Scanlon, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Velocity and Automotive Content. “I’ll enjoy the luxury of spending the holiday with my beautiful wife and two adult sons, with some much-needed time off! We will take time not only to appreciate the meaning of this holiday, but to experience the deep satisfaction of sharing with those less fortunate.”
Josh Denny, host of Food Network’s Ginormous Food (January 6), will be ”…celebrating the holidays the only way I know how, eating as much as I can with family and friends. Since we don’t have snow here in LA, we’ll have to compensate with powdered sugar on our pies.”
“The holiday season is first and foremost, a time to celebrate the reason for the season,” says Karen Horne, SVP Programming Talent Development & Infusion, NBC Entertainment & Universal Television. “It is also a time for family and friends. When my children were younger, we decided not to travel back East, but to form our own traditions. Now that they are older, we still look forward to those traditions and to staying local. We catch up on TV shows and movies and use the time to reflect on our blessings and recharge for the new year.”
“This weekend I will be taking my three children Christmas shopping for their mom’s presents and later in the evening, we’re bringing the whole family to see The Christmas Story at the beautiful Fox Theater,” says Dr. Partha Nandi, host of wellness talk show Ask Dr. Nandi. “The weekend before the holidays is always one of my favorites and I can’t wait to celebrate Christmas Day with my #tribe!”
“As a Jewish person, I always volunteer to work over Christmas,” says sports anchor/host Seth Everett.“2016 is no different. Friday and Sunday I’m on NBC Sports Radio, while Saturday I’m doing sports updates on WCBS-880.Throw in some reports for Bloomberg Radio and lighting the menorah with my kids, and that’s what I call a crazy holiday weekend.”
Have a great Holiday!
Lynn Leahey: Editorial Director @Lynn_Leahey
Roberta Caploe: Publisher @robertacaploe
Diane K Schwartz: Senior Vice President, Media Communications Group
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