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For more than 30 years, John Kiesewetter has been the source for information about all things in local media — comings and goings, local people appearing on the big or small screen, special programs, and much more. Contact John at

Frosty, The Grinch, Santa Arrive Thanksgiving Week

"Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas" returns at 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 24.

I'm making my lists, and checking them twice. First comes the list of Thanksgiving and Christmas specials filling TV and radio airwaves this week, and then my huge annual Holiday Program Guide posts Nov. 26.

Viewers will see plenty of their old favorites on Friday, the day after Thanksgiving: "Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas" (NBC)," Frosty the Snowman" (CBS),  "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town," the "Andy Griffith Show" Christmas jail party (MeTV) and Father Mulcahy's "M*A*S*H" Christmas letter to his sister (MeTV). 

Credit Sesame Workshop
"Sesame Street" cast.

Elmo, Big Bird and the gang celebrate Christmas early with a new PBS special, "Once Upon A Sesame Street Christmas" at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang return at 8 p.m. Wednesday, as ABC pulls the 1973 "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" out of the vault.  And "Great Performances" offers a new take on the 1942 Fred Astaire movie with "Irving Berlin's Holiday Inn, The Broadway Musical" at 9 p.m. Friday on PBS.

Also new this week are a few non-holiday specials: David Letterman honored by fellow comedians with "The Mark Twain Prize" 8 p.m. Monday on PBS; Carrie Underwood and John Legend hosting "Grammys Greatest Stories: A 60th Anniversary Special" 9 p.m. Friday on CBS; and "Victor Borge: 100 Years Of Music & Laughter" at 4:30 p.m. Saturday on Dayton's WPTD-TV.

Radio listeners on Thanksgiving again will hear Mark Perzel's "Feast For The Ears" at 10 a.m. (WGUC-FM, 90.9) and more Turkey Confidential" cooking tips at noon (WVXU-FM 91.7).

And of course Will Farrell's "Elf," Chevy Chase's "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" and WLWT-TV's Ruth Lyons specials will air this week too.

Then watch for my annual Holiday Programming Guide to be posted Sunday, Nov. 26.

Credit Scott Suchman / PBS
David Letterman and Biff Henderson on PBS' "Mark Twain Prize" Monday Nov. 20


Elf (6:10 p.m., Freeform): An elf (Will Ferrell) searches for his family.

David Letterman: The Mark Twain Prize (8 p.m., Ch 48, 16, PBS): The innovative late-night TV host is saluted by Jimmy Kimmel, Amy Schumer, Steve Martin, Bill Murray, Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder, Michele Obama, Sen. Al Franken, Jimmy Walker, Norm Macdonald, Martin Short and Biff Henderson.

Music Hall: The Next Movement (9 p.m., CET Arts, Ch 48.3): WCET-TV one-hour special showing the 17-month work to gut and renovate the Cincinnati landmark.


Thanksgiving with Cantus (6 p.m., WGUC-FM 90.9): The Cantus, the premier men's vocal ensemble, talk about Thanksgiving music and traditions and  perform songs of grace and gratitude, including "A Thankful Heart," "Eventide" and "Wanting Memories."

Jack Frost (Midnight, Freeform): A dead man (Michael Keaton) returns as a snowman.

Credit ABC Television
"A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" airs 8 p.m. Wednesday on ABC.


Once Upon a Sesame Street Christmas (11:30 a.m., Ch 48 PBS): New. Elmo’s dad tells him about when there was no holiday spirit on Sesame Street.

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (8 p.m., Ch 9 ABC): Charlie Brown’s 1973 toast and popcorn Thanksgiving dinner for the Peanuts gang.

Saturday Night Live Thanksgiving Special (8 p.m., Ch 5 NBC): Thanksgiving sketches from "Saturday Night Live."

With Love, Christmas (8 p.m., Hallmark):  Advertising executives (Emilie Ullerup, Aaron O'Connell) create a Christmas commercial for a new cell phone.

Elf (8:5:10 p.m., Freeform): An elf (Will Ferrell) searches for his family.

20/20: Lights, Camera, Christmas! Inside Holiday Movie Classics (10 p.m., Ch 9 ABC): Special ABC News "20/20"with Peter Billingsley (Raphie from "A Christmas Story") and other stars from popular holiday movies.


91st Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Parade (9 a.m., Chs 5, 12, CBS, NBC): Live from New York.

Feast for the Ears (10 a.m., WGUC-FM 90.9): Host Mark Perzel presents traditional music and American composers to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Once Upon a Sesame Street Christmas (11:30 a.m., Ch 48 PBS): Elmo’s dad tells him about when there was no holiday spirit on Sesame Street.

Turkey Confidential (Noon, WVXU-FM 91.7): "The Splendid Table" stars Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Francis Lam and culinary other experts provide tips to ease the stress for holiday cooks, hosts and guests.

National Dog Show (noon, Ch 5 NBC): John Hurley hosts NBC's 16th annual telecast from the Kennel Club of Philadelphia.

Credit Ruth Lyons DVD
"Ruth Lyons: First Lady of Television" won multiple regional Emmy Awards in 2012.

Ruth Lyons: First Lady of Television (2 p.m., Ch 5): Repeat of 2011 special about hugely popular WLWT-TV daytime TV host Ruth Lyons.

Ruth Lyons Special (4 p.m., Ch 5): WLWT-TV special about "50-50 Club" host Ruth Lyons, who retired 50 years ago.

Ruth Lyons, Living Legend (4:30 p.m., Ch 5): Profile of former "50-50 Club" host Ruth Lyons.

The Science of Gratitude (7 p.m., WVXU-FM 91.7): Susan Sarandon hosts a one-hour program explaining that feeling grateful may be the true key to being healthy and happy.

Giving Thanks: A Celebration of Fall, Food & Gratitude (6 p.m., WGUC-FM 90.9): Former WGUC-FM host John Birge presents classical music, stories, and special guests that include chef Jacques Pepin and his 13-year-old granddaughter and co-author, and "The Splendid Table" host Francis Lam with his award-winning essay about immigrants.

Elf (6:40 p.m., Freeform): An elf (Will Ferrell) searches for his family.

Credit PBS
Ella Ballentine stars in "Anne of Green Gables."

Anne of Green Gables: The Good Stars (8 p.m., Chs 48, 16): Free spirit Anne Shirley (Ella Ballentine) turns 13 and faces complex situations with friends and adults.

The Mistletoe Inn (8 p.m., Hallmark): Based on Richard Paul Evans' book, an aspiring romance novelist (Alicia Witt) attends a writing retreat before Christmas at a Vermont Inn, where she meets more than a new writing partner.

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (8:50 p.m., Freeform): A Griswold family (Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo) Christmas.

Anne of Green Gables (10 p.m., Chs 48, 16): Orphaned Anne is placed in the care of uptight Marilla.

Credit Joan Marcus / PBS
"Great Performances" cast for "Iriving Berlin's Holiday Inn, The Broadway Musical"


Once Upon a Sesame Street Christmas (11:30 a.m., Ch 48 PBS): Elmo’s dad tells him about when there was no holiday spirit on Sesame Street.

Light Up The Square (7 p.m., Ch 5): News 5 anchor team broadcasts the Fountain Square tree-lighting ceremony.

M*A*S*H (7 p.m., Ch 5.2 MeTV): Father Mulcahy’s writes a pre-Christmas letter to his sister about his frustrations at the 4077th.

M*A*S*H (7 p.m., Ch 5.2 MeTV): On the day after Christmas, officers and enlisted personnel changed places.

Andy Griffith (8 p.m., Ch 5.2 Me TV): Andy and Barney throw a Christmas party in the jail for a prisoner and his family to convert the town's Scrooge.

Credit CBS Television
"Frosty the Snowman" premiered on CBS in 1969.

Frosty the Snowman (8 p.m., Ch 12 CBS): Jimmy Durante narrates the 1969 musical cartoon.

Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (8 p.m., Ch 5 NBC): Boris Karloff narrates the classic 1966 classic cartoon.

Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town (8 p.m., Ch 9 ABC): Fred Astaire narrates a musical look at Santa from 1970.

Finding Santa (8 p.m., Hallmark):  A small town Christmas parade organizer (Jodie Sweetin) pursues a reluctant Uber driver to play Santa.

DreamWorks Trolls Holiday Special (8:30 p.m., Ch 5 NBC): New animated special. Poppy (Anna Kendrick) and Branch (Justin Timberlake) brings holidays to the Bergens.

Frosty Returns (8:30 p.m., Ch 12 CBS): Jonathan Winters narrates story of how a new snow removal spray threatens Frosty.

Grammys Greatest Stories: A 60th Anniversary Special (9 p.m., Ch 12 CBS): Carrie Underwood and John Legend host rare archival footage and interviews with Grammy winers Christina Aguilera, Mary J. Blige, Celine Dion, Aretha Franklin, Dave Grohl, Elton John, Bruno Mars, Chris Martin, Paul McCartney, Ed Sheeran, Bruce Springsteen, Sting, U2, Keith Urban and others.

Great Performances: Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn, The Broadway Musical (9 p.m., Ch 48): Broadway adaptation of the 1942 Fred Astaire movie.

Credit CBS Broadcasting Inc.
"The Story of Santa Clause" airs 9 p.m. Saturday on CBS.


America’s Home Cooking: Holiday Side Dishes (2 p.m., Ch 48): Preparing mushroom sour soup, Sweet Sally’s collard greens and pumpkin dumplings.

Christmas with Daniel O’Donnel (4 p.m., Ch 48): Daniel O’Donnell and guests perform holiday favorites in Dublin.

Victor Borge: 100 Years of Music & Laughter! (4:30 p.m., Ch 16): Rita Rudner host a look at the funny pianist most memorable skits.

The Grapes of Wrath (8 p.m., WVXU-FM 91.7): L.A. Theater Works production of the John Steinbeck's novel about a family's migration from the Oklahoma dust bowl to California, adapted by Frank Galati.

Robbie The Reindeer: Hooves of Fire (8 p.m., Ch 12 CBS): Animated. Reindeer compete to pull Santa’s sleigh.

The Christmas Train (8 p.m., Hallmark): An adaptation of author's David Baldacci’s novel about a disillusioned journalist (Dermot Mulroney) on a December cross-country train trip with a movie producer (Danny Glover), a screenwriter (Kimberly Williams-Paisley) and a mysterious woman (Joan Cusack).

National Dog Show (8 p.m., Ch 5 NBC): Repeat of the 16th annual telecast from Thanksgiving.

Robbie The Reindeer: Legend of the Lost Tribe (8:30 p.m., Ch 12 CBS): Animated. Blitzen plans a reindeer theme park.

The Story of Santa Claus (9 p.m., Ch 12 CBS): Animated. A jolly old man (Ed Asner) starts the toy-giving tradition.

Watch for my annual Holiday Programming Guide coming Sunday, Nov. 26.

John Kiesewetter, who has covered television and media for more than 35 years, has been working for Cincinnati Public Radio and WVXU-FM since 2015.