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July 31, 2014

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What's your favorite Christmas special or movie?

by Bob Sassone, posted Dec 17th 2009 6:59PM
GrinchI'm the rare type of person whose favorite Christmas movies of all-time also happen to be my favorite movies of all-time period, It's A Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street.

We're in the middle of December now and we're all watching our favorite Christmas movies or animated specials (either on TV or via DVD), so I thought I'd ask which is your favorite. (I know, I didn't include every single Christmas special ever made, but that's why God created the word "other").

What's your favorite Christmas special/movie?
It's A Wonderful Life167 (12.9%)
Miracle on 34th Street72 (5.5%)
Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer111 (8.6%)
Santa Claus is Comin' To town16 (1.2%)
A Christmas Story271 (20.9%)
The Year Without A Santa Claus37 (2.9%)
White Christmas71 (5.5%)
A Christmas Carol (any version)90 (6.9%)
Frosty The Snowman11 (0.8%)
How The Grinch Stole Christmas (animated)236 (18.2%)
A Charlie Brown Christmas216 (16.6%)

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What's On Tonight: Mercy, Ghost Hunters, Barbara Walters, Top Chef

by Bob Sassone, posted Dec 9th 2009 12:16PM
  • The MiddleAt 8, ABC has Shrek the Halls, followed by new episodes of The Middle, Modern Family, and Cougar Town and then Barbara Walters Presents The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2009.
  • CBS has a new Old Christine at 8, then new episodes of Gary Unmarried, Criminal Minds, and CSI: NY.
  • NBC has new episodes of Mercy, Law and Order: SVU, and The Jay Leno Show.
  • FOX has a new So You Think You Can Dance at 8, followed by the fall finale of Glee.
  • ABC Family has Santa Claus is Comin' To Town at 8, then Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer & The Island of Misfit Toys.
  • Also at 8: BBC America has a new Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares.
  • At 9, Bravo has the season finale of Top Chef, followed by a new Launch My Line.
  • DirecTV 101 has a new Friday Night Lights at 9.
  • Discovery has a new Mythbusters at 9.
  • A&E has a new Dog The Bounty Hunter at 9, then two new episodes of Steven Seagal: Lawman.
  • Syfy has a new Ghost Hunters at 9, followed by a new Ghost Hunters Academy.
  • History Channel has a new episode of The Nostradamus Effect at 9, followed by a new MysteryQuest.
  • Showtime has a new Inside the NFL at 9.
  • At 10, FX has a new Nip/Tuck.
  • TBS has two new episodes of Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns at 10.
  • There's a new Dinner: Impossible on Food Network at 10.
  • Sundance has a new Spectacle: Elvis Costello With... at 10.
  • At 11, G4 has the series premiere of Campus PD.

Check your local TV listings for more.

After the jump, the late night talk shows.

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TV 101: The true meaning of TV Christmas specials (OR: You're a mean one, Mr. Black)

by Jay Black, posted Dec 24th 2008 12:03PM
See, a public domain alternative to the real thing is just as good... right?If there's one universal among TV Christmas specials it's this: they all seem to want to tell you what the "true" meaning of Christmas is. There are so many specials trying to explain the true meaning of Christmas, it actually makes you wonder if the power of TV to influence has been exaggerated. I mean, you'd think after watching approximately eleventy-five billion hours of holiday programming, we'd have gotten the point already.

Perhaps the reason why America continues to view Christmas less as a time for spiritual reflection than as one for reindeer sweaters, crass consumerism, and suicide contemplation is because our Christmas specials aren't really sending the messages that they claim to be. Sure, on the surface we're told about "peace on earth and goodwill to men, blah blah blah", but there's a bubbling subtext in these specials if you only look hard enough.

I've decided to put my New Jersey state college English degree to good use and break down what Christmas specials are really saying...

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What's On Tonight: The Office, Eleventh Hour, Sarah Silverman

by Bob Sassone, posted Dec 11th 2008 4:02PM
  • Judah FriedlanderAt 8, CBS has a new Survivor, then new episodes of CSI and Eleventh Hour.
  • NBC has a new My Name Is Earl at 8, followed by new episodes of Kath & Kim, The Office, 30 Rock, and ER.
  • FOX has a new Secret Millionaire at 8, then a new Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?
  • ABC Family has The Year Without A Santa Claus at 8, followed by Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer and the Island of Misfit Toys and Twas The Night Before Christmas.
  • AMC has the original The Day The Earth Stood Still at 8.
  • Cartoon Network has a new Chowder at 8.
  • At 9, Lifetime has the movie Christmas Child.
  • CNN's Planet in Peril premieres at 9.
  • TBS has the Festivus episode of Seinfeld at 9.
  • Food Network has the special Dear Food Network: Holiday Parties at 9.
  • Hallmark has the movie Moonlight and Mistletoe at 9.
  • Also at 9: Spike has a new TNA Impact!
  • At 10:30, Comedy Central has a new Sarah Silverman Program.

Check your local TV listings for more.

After the jump, the late night talk show listings.

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What's On Tonight: Old Christine, P.O.V., Stylista, Man Vs. Food

by Bob Sassone, posted Dec 10th 2008 4:04PM
  • Top Chef logoAt 8, ABC has a new Pushing Daisies, followed by new episodes of Private Practice and Dirty Sexy Money.
  • CBS has a new Old Christine at 8, then new episodes of Gary Unmarried, Criminal Minds, and CSI: NY.
  • NBC has the special Little Spirit: Christmas in New York at 8, followed by new episodes of Life and Law and Order.
  • FOX has a new Secret Millionaire at 8.
  • ABC Family has Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town at 8, followed by Rudolph's Shiny New Year.
  • Discovery has two new episodes of Time Warp at 8.
  • Travel Channel has The Most Christmasy Places in America at 8.
  • At 9, The CW has a new Stylista.
  • PBS has a new P.O.V. at 9.
  • Food Network has the special Dear Food Network: Holiday Roast Beast at 9.
  • There's a new Ghost Hunters on Sci-Fi at 9, then a new Estate of Panic.
  • At 10, TBS has two new episodes of House of Payne.
  • Discovery has a new Prototype This! at 10.
  • A&E has two new episodes of Parking Wars at 10.
  • USA has Elf at 10.
  • Travel Channel has two new episodes of Man vs. Food at 10.
  • Also at 10: Bravo has a new Top Chef.
  • At 10:30, Comedy Central has a new Chocolate News.

Check your local TV listings for more.

After the jump, the late night talk show listings.

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What's On Tonight: Heroes, The Closer, October Road, Christmas specials

by Bob Sassone, posted Dec 3rd 2007 4:00PM
  • Alton BrownAt 8, NBC has the season finale (fall finale?) of Chuck, then the season finale (fall finale?) of Heroes, and then a new Life (special night - part 2 airs Weds at 10).
  • ABC has A Charlie Brown Christmas at 8, followed by new episodes of Samantha Who?, Notes from the Underbelly, and October Road.
  • ABC Family has Christmas specials starting at 8: The Year Without A Santa Claus, Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer & The Island of Misfit Toys, and Nestor The Long-Eared Christmas Donkey.
  • TNT has a new Christmas episode of The Closer at 8, then a new Saving Grace.
  • Also at 8: Food Network has a new Good Eats, followed by a new The Secret Life Of...
  • At 8:30, ESPN has the Patriots/Ravens game.
  • At 9, FOX has a new K-Ville.
  • USA has a new Monday Night RAW at 9.
  • Lifetime has the movie A Dad For Christmas at 9.
  • Sci-Fi has the second part of Tin Man. It's on at 9 as well.

Check your local TV listings for more.

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Eureka: All That Glitters

by Will O'Brien, posted Sep 26th 2007 9:41AM
Beverly appears in an orange jump suit and a bagged head direct from GITMO
(S02E12) Leading up to the season finale of a science fiction show can be tough. Eureka's spent so much time dropping hints that they managed to pull off a decent episode and give a nice intro to the upcoming season finale. Things are anything but quiet. Beverly's back, Henry's cheesed off and Zoe wants to have a sleep over.

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Darlene Conley dead at 72

by Bob Sassone, posted Jan 16th 2007 2:41PM

Darlene ConleyBold and the Beautiful star Darlene Conley died of stomach cancer on Sunday in Los Angeles.

She has starred on the show as Sally Spectra for 20 years, and was diagnosed with cancer only three months ago. Producers and writers were actually developing a storyline for her to deal with the diagnosis.

Besides The Bold and the Beautiful and three other soaps (Days of Our Lives, The Young and the Restless, and General Hospital), Conley guest-starred on several other TV shows, including The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Murder, She Wrote, Highway To Heaven, The Jeffersons, Little House on the Prairie, Scarecrow and Mrs. King, Gunsmoke, Cagney and Lacey, and Ironside. She also did the voice of Mrs. Claus in Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July.

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Nielsen ratings for the week ending December 24

by Bob Sassone, posted Dec 28th 2006 8:10AM
Penn Jillette1. NFL Post-Game Show (CBS)
2. Deal Or No Deal (NBC)
3. CSI (CBS)
4. Identity - Mon (NBC)
5. CSI: Miami (CBS)
6. CSI: NY (CBS)
7. NCIS (CBS)
8. 60 Minutes (CBS)
9. Two and a Half Men (CBS)
10. Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer (CBS)
11. Shark (CBS)
12. Criminal Minds (CBS)
13. House (FOX)
14. Identity - Thurs (FOX)
15. Grey's Anatomy (ABC)
16. Charlie Brown: I Want A Dog For Christmas (CBS)
17. Identity - Weds (NBC)
18. Dateline - Weds (NBC)
19. The Unit (CBS)
20. Law and Order: SVU (NBC)

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Rudolph and Santa are restored and on display in Atlanta

by Joel Keller, posted Dec 24th 2006 6:02PM
Santa and Rudolph puppetsThe New York Times has an interesting story about the fate of two of the puppets from the revered TV special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, which first aired in 1964. Apparently, out of the thousands of puppets created for the stop-action animation used in the Rankin-Bass special, only two currently exist: one of Rudolph and one of Santa.

The article tells the story of how the puppets, given to an R-B employee after the show was made, were found in an attic, appraised on Antiques Roadshow, and sold for a nice chunk of change to the president of TimeAndSpaceToys.com/ He then painstakingly restored the heavily-damaged puppets to their original form (details of that restoration are here). Santa and Rudolph are currently on display at the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta, where they will be until Jan. 13.

How did Santa and Rudolph get to be in such poor shape? Kids. The person who took the puppets home gave them to her kids, who crammed poor Rudy's mouth with crayons and Play-Doh. Jeez. Those buggers had no sense of history, did they?

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What's on tonight: Christmas, Christmas, Christmas!

by Bob Sassone, posted Dec 24th 2006 5:02PM
  • It's A Wonderful LifeAt 7, CBS has 60 Minutes.
  • NBC has a new Football Night In America at 7, followed by It's A Wonderful Life.
  • Lifetime has All She Wants For Christmas at 7, followed by Holiday Wishes.
  • ABC Family has Frosty's Winter Wonderland at 7, then 'Twas The Night Before Christmas, Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town, The Year Without A Santa Claus and Rudolph's Shiny New Year.
  • There's an Xmas episode of The Honeymooners on American Life at 7.
  • Nickelodeon and Food Network are running holiday programming all night.
  • AMC is running Miracle on 34th Street all night.
  • TBS has A Christmas Story all day and night.
  • Nickelodeon is showing Xmas eps of many shows, including Fairly Odd Parents, Full House, and The Cosby Show.
  • TV Land is doing the same, with The Andy Griffith Show, Three's Company, Little House on the Prairie, Good Times, All in the Family, and others.
  • Also: Hallmark has various holiday movies all night.
  • At 9, CBS has A Very Married Christmas.
  • Comedy Central has Bad Santa at 9.
  • At 10:30, TCM has Christmas In Connecticut.
  • At 11:30, ABC, CBS, and NBC have Christmas Eve services from Rome and other places around the world.

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Nielsen ratings for the week ending December 10

by Bob Sassone, posted Dec 13th 2006 8:34AM

Rudolph1. CSI (CBS)
2. Sunday Night Football (NBC)
3. Deal Or No Deal - Mon (NBC)
4. 60 Minutes (CBS)
5. Survivor (CBS)
6. Heroes (NBC)
7. Extreme Makeover (ABC)
8. Cold Case (CBS)
9. Shark (CBS)
10. Without A Trace (CBS)
11. Criminal Minds (CBS)
12. Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer (CBS)
13. Sunday Night Pre-Kick (NBC)
14. The Amazing Race (CBS)
15. Frosty The Snowman (CBS)
16. CSI: NY (CBS)
17. ER (NBC)
18. House (FOX)
19. CSI: Miami (CBS)
20. Two and a Half Men (CBS)

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Festivus Retro Squad: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

by Julia Ward, posted Dec 5th 2006 10:05AM
Rankin/Bass Rudolph the Red-Nosed ReindeerOne of the longest running Christmas specials in television history, Rankin/Bass' Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer debuted in 1964 on NBC. Around 1972, it switched over to CBS, where you can see it again this year on December 8th. Let's just get this part out of the way - it's not Claymation. The special was made using figurines in a stop motion animation process labeled "Animagic" by the show's producers.

A whole world of nostalgia was brought back for me a few years ago when the Island of Misfit Toys were introduced as plush dolls at CVS. I have a soft spot in my heart for the Rudolph special because it glorifies the plight of the misfit. Rudolph is the beta-kid Christmas special. Hermey, the dentist elf, and Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer, are heroes to anyone who has ever been picked on for being a little different. Rudolph is for us - the geeks, the queers, the fat kids, the short bus riders, the loners and the AV crew.

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Comprehensive holiday television schedule

by Anna Johns, posted Nov 25th 2006 11:29AM
a christmas storyOkay. Now that I've eaten turkey and pumpkin pie, bring on the holiday TV! Already, we've been subjected to Christmas commercials, but now the good holiday television really begins. USA Today was kind enough to put together a comprehensive list of holiday specials (new and traditional) that air between now and Christmas Day.

Here are some of the notables:
  • A Charlie Brown Christmas, ABC, Tuesday Nov. 28 at 8 pm;
  • Polar Express, ABC, Friday December 1 at 8 pm;
  • Santa Claus is Comin' to Town, ABC, Tuesday December 5 at 8 pm;
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, CBS, Friday December 8 at 8 pm;
  • Frosty the Snowman, CBS, Friday December 8 at 9 pm;
  • Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Jim Carrey version), ABC, Saturday December 9 at 9 pm;
  • Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas (animated version), ABC, Tuesday December 12 at 8 pm;
  • It's a Wonderful Life, NBC, Saturday December 16 at 8 pm;
  • National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, TBS, Sunday December 17 at 8 pm;
  • A Christmas Carol (Patrick Stewart version), TNT, Wednesday December 20 at 8 pm;
  • A Christmas Story (24-hour marathon), TBS, Sunday December 24 at 8 pm;
  • Yule Log, INHD, Monday December 25 at 7 am.

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