TV Kiese's List Of Thanksgiving Week Specials And Movies

Nov 20, 2020

Since many of us will be celebrating Thanksgiving without large family gatherings due to COVID-19, here's my annual list of specials so you can spend time with your old TV friends.

Credit Courtesy CBS

Holiday specials take over television Thanksgiving week – everything from NBC's new Minion's Holiday Special to repeats of WKRP in Cincinnati's ill-fated Thanksgiving promotion, Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Frosty the Snowman and Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town.

A late addition to my list is A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, which airs on public television at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 22 (Channels 48, 54, 16, 14.3), after a backlash from viewers when the "Peanuts" holiday classics moved to the Apple+ streaming service in October. Apple+ relented by letting PBS air the Thanksgiving show and A Charlie Brown Christmas (7:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 13). Both will be commercial free.

Thanksgiving week you can see WKRP's "Turkey's Away!" (7:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 22, on MeTV),  and holiday episodes of M*A*S*H, Cheers, Saved By The Bell, Newhart, Brady Bunch, Green Acres and TBS' Thursday marathon of Friends Thanksgiving episodes.


Many of your favorite  movies return Thanksgiving week too: Elf, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, The Polar Express, Jack Frost, Fred Claus and The Wizard of Oz. If you're looking for something new, check out no less than 10 new movies on the Hallmark Channel and Lifetime.

Cincinnati Public Radio helps you celebrate this week with a trio of favorites on Thanksgiving: Mark Perzel's annual Feast For The Ears (10 a.m., WGUC-FM 90.9); Francis Lam helping Thanksgiving cooks on Turkey Confidential (noon, WVXU-FM 91.7); and John Birge's mix of music and poetry on Giving Thanks (6 p.m on WGUC-FM; 8 p.m. on WVXU-FM).

Enjoy a visit with your old TV/radio friends this week... And watch for my annual Holiday Programming Guide to be posted Sunday, Nov. 29. Here's my guide to Thanksgiving week:

Credit Courtesy NBCUniversal

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 22

Saved by The Bell (5  p.m., Ch 5.2 MeTV): The gang prepares Thanksgiving dinner for inner-city kids.

Brady Bunch (5:30 p.m., Ch 5.2 MeTV): The family argues over Greg's Thanksgiving movie script.

Newhart (6 p.m., Ch 5.2 MeTV): Bob volunteers Joanna to serve Thanksgiving turkey dinner to 100.

Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas  (6 p.m., TBS): Boris Karloff narrates the 1966 classic cartoon.

An Elf’s Story: The Elf on a Shelf  (6:30 p.m., TBS): An elf helps a boy believe in Christmas in this 2011 cartoon.

Cheers (6:30 p.m., Ch 5.2 MeTV): The gang celebrates Thanksgiving at Carla's new house.

M*A*S*H  (7 p.m., Ch 5.2 MeTV): The camp gets sick after eating Klinger's Thanksgiving turkey.

Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas  (7 p.m., TBS): Boris Karloff narrates the 1966 classic cartoon.

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (7:30 p.m., Channels 48, 54, 16, 14.3 PBS Apple+): Charlie Brown hosts a 1973 toast and popcorn dinner for the Peanuts gang. The animated show also is available on the Apple+ app now for subscribers and free to anyone Nov. 25-27.

Credit Courtesy MTM Productions

WKRP In Cincinnati (7:30 p.m., Ch 5.2 MeTV): Turkey's away! WKRP repeats the famous show about dropping turkeys over a shopping mall. As God as my witness, it's still one of the funniest TV shows ever.

An Elf’s Story: The Elf on a Shelf  (7:30 p.m., TBS): An elf helps a boy believe in Christmas in this 2011 cartoon.

The Wizard of Oz (8 p.m., TBS): Dorothy (Judy Garland) and dog Toto discover they're not in 1939 Kansas anymore.

Homemade Christmas (8 p.m., Lifetime): An ambitious young woman (Michelle Argyris) must choose between two suitors while planning a Christmas party.

The Christmas House, (8 p.m., Hallmark Channel): Mike (Robert Buckley) and his partner (Jonathan Bennett) head home for Christmas with his parents (Treat Williams, Sharon Lawrence).

Credit Courtesy American Movie Classics

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 23

Homemade Christmas (6 p.m., Lifetime): An ambitious young woman (Michelle Argyris) must choose between two suitors while planning a Christmas party.

 Elf (7 p.m., AMC): An elf (Will Ferrell) searches for his family.

Heart of the Holidays, (8 p.m., Hallmark Channel): A stockbroker (Vanessa Lengies) encounters her high school sweetheart while home for Christmas.

Elf (9 p.m., AMC): An elf (Will Ferrell) searches for his family.

Credit Courtesy MGM

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 24

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (7 p.m., AMC): A Griswold family Christmas in 1989 with Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo.

A Christmas Tree Grows in Brooklyn (8 p.m., Hallmark Channel): A Christmas planner (Rochelle Aytes) tries to convince a firefighter to donate his spruce to her holiday celebration.

Andy Griffith Show (8:30 p.m., Ch 5.2 MeTV): Tone deaf Barney joins the church choir.

The Wizard of Oz (8 p.m., TBS): Dorothy (Judy Garland) and dog Toto discover they're not in 1939 Kansas anymore.

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (9:15 p.m., AMC): A Griswold family Christmas in 1989 with Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo.

The Wizard of Oz (10:15 p.m., TBS): Dorothy (Judy Garland) and dog Toto discover they're not in 1939 Kansas anymore.

Credit Courtesy Castle Rock Entertainment

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 25

Jack Frost (5:30 p.m., AMC):  A dead man (Michael Keaton) returns as a snowman in 1998.

Every Good Thing (7 p.m., WGUC-FM): Host Andrea Blain gives thanks for the gift of music.

M*A*S*H (7 p.m., Ch 5.2, MeTV): A newsman interviews all the members of the 4077th.

Good Morning Christmas! (8 p.m., Hallmark Channel): Competing TV hosts (Alison Sweeney, Marc Blucas) are assigned to cover a Christmas festival.

The Polar Express (8 p.m., AMC): A train conductor takes a boy to the North Pole.

Saturday Night Live Thanksgiving Special (9 p.m., Ch 5, NBC): Thanksgiving-sketches from SNL's 46 years.

A photo from the NBC's 2019 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Credit Courtesy NBC Universal

THANKSGIVING

94th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (9 a.m., Ch 5, NBC): The 2.5-mile parade will be eliminated due to the pandemic, and instead staged in and around Macy's Herald Square flagship store. Scheduled to appear are Natasha Bedingfield, Black Eyed Peas, Chicago, Ciara, Josh Dela Cruz, Celine Dion, Jimmy Fallon and The Roots, Debbie Gibson, Idina Menzel, Lea Michele, the Muppets, NCT 127, Ozuna, Billy Porter, Kelly Rowland, That Girl Lay Lay, TLC, Tenille Townes, Chris Young, and of course Santa Claus.

Kevin Frazier
Credit Courtesy CBS

CBS Thanksgiving Day Celebration (9 a.m., Ch 12 CBS): Entertainment Tonight's Kevin Frazier (formerly of WXIX-TV) and Keltie Knight hast a look back at popular floats and balloons from past Thanksgiving parades, plus new performances by Maddie & Tae and Mickey Guyton, and interviews with stars from Bob (Hearts) Abishola, S.W.A.T., Madame Secretary and The Amazing Race.

Feast For The Ears (10 a.m., WGUC-FM): Mark Perzel hosts heartfelt holiday celebration featuring traditional music and American composers.

Turkey Confidential (noon, WVXU-FM): The Splendid Table presents Francis Lam taking calls to rescue of Thanksgiving cooks and kitchen helpers.

National Dog Show (noon, Ch 5 NBC): John O'Hurley and David Frei co-host the 19th annual Philadelphia dog competition.

Friends (1 p.m., TBS): The gang gets stuck on the roof watching a runaway giant parade balloon before Thanksgiving dinner watching.

Friends (1:30 p.m., TBS): Ross makes a list about dating Rachel or Julie.

Friends (2 p.m., TBS): The gang plays touch football on Thanksgiving.

Credit Courtesy WLWT-TV

Ruth Lyons: First Lady of Television (2 p.m., Ch 5): Repeat of 2011 special about popular WLWT-TV daytime TV host Ruth Lyons, who retired in 1967.

Friends (2:30 p.m., TBS): As Thanksgiving nears, Chandler sits in a wooden box for six hours.

Friends (3 p.m., TBS): The gang recalls their worst Thanksgivings.

Friends (3:30 p.m., TBS): Ross and Joey skip Thanksgiving to hang out with some dancers.

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

Friends (4 p.m., TBS): Rachel brings her date Tag to Thanksgiving dinner.

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

Friends (4:30 p.m., TBS): Rachel's old friend (Brad Pitt) is invited to Thanksgiving.

Friends (5 p.m., TBS): Rachel's sister (Christina Applegate) ruins Thanksgiving.

Friends (5:30 p.m., TBS):  Monica locks everyone out when they're an hour late for her Thanksgiving dinner.

Giving Thanks (6 p.m., WGUC-FM): John Birge's annual holiday reflection with music and stories.

Top Elf (7 p.m., Nickelodeon): Santa's competition for "Elf-testants" to be his Top Elf.

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (7 p.m., AMC): A Griswold family Christmas in 1989 with Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo.

Olaf's Frozen Adventure (8 p.m., Ch 9 ABC): Olaf (voice of Josh Gad) suggests Christmas tradition for Anna and Elsa.

Five Star Christmas, (8 p.m., Hallmark Channel):  Adult siblings conspire to help their father’s new bed and breakfast get a five-star review from an incognito travel critic.

The Wizard of Oz (8 p.m., TBS): Dorothy (Judy Garland) and dog Toto discover they're not in 1939 Kansas anymore.

Toy Story That Time Forgot (8:30 p.m., Ch 9 ABC): The toys fear new dinosaur toys.

Giving Thanks (9 p.m., WGUC-FM): John Birge's annual holiday reflection with music and stories.

The Wonderful World of Disney: Magical Holiday Celebration (9 p.m., Ch 9 ABC): New. Celebrity musical performances at Disney parks.

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (9:15  p.m., AMC): A Griswold family Christmas in 1989 with Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo.

Green Acres (9:30 p.m., Ch 5.2 MeTV): Oliver and Lisa Douglas and the gang portray the "Beverly Hillbillies" in a charity show.

Credit Courtesy CBS

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 27

Light Up The Square (7:30 p.m., Ch 5): Sheree Paolello and Mark Dardis host the Fountain Square tree lighting ceremony.

Four Christmases (7:30 p.m., AMC): A couple (Reese Witherspoon, Vince Vaughn) spends Christmas with each of their four divorced parents.

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

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

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

Christmas by Starlight, (8 p.m., Hallmark Channel): A lawyer (Kimberley Sustad) cuts a deal to save her family's Starlight Café.

Dear Christmas (8 p.m., Lifetime): Sparks fly when a holiday podcast host (Melissa Joan Hart) meets a firefighter (Jason Priestley).

Credit Courtesy NBCUniversal

Minions Holiday Special (8:30 p.m., Ch 5 NBC): New. Minions Bob, Kevin, Stuart and Dave star in four animated holiday adventures.

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

The Adventures of Paddington (8:30 p.m., Nick Jr.): Paddington sends Jonathan's Santa letter to Peru by mistake. 

The Story (9 p.m., WVXU-FM): Alec Baldwin narrates this look at six veterans who built companies, products and brands that changed our lives.

Fred Claus (9:30 p.m., AMC):  Santa (Paul Giamatti) bails out his brother (Vince Vaughn) in 2007.

Credit Courtesy CBS

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 28

Christmas with Daniel O'Donnell (4 p.m., Ch 48): Holiday music from Dublin with Daniel O'Donnell, Mary Duff, the Billie Barry Kids and Kilkenny Presentation Choir.

Fred Claus (5:30 p.m., AMC): Santa (Paul Giamatti) bails out his brother (Vince Vaughn) in 2007.

Christmas with Daniel O'Donnell (6 p.m., Ch 16): Holiday muis from Dublin with Daniel O'Donnell, Mary Duff, the Billie Barry Kids and Kilkenny Presentation Choir.

Dear Christmas (6 p.m., Lifetime): Sparks fly when a holiday podcast host (Melissa Joan Hart) meets a firefighter (Jason Priestley).

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

Christmas Waltz, (8 p.m., Hallmark Channel): A dance instructor helps a woman (Lacey Chabert) rebound after her storybook Christmas wedding is canceled.

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

National Dog Show (8 p.m., Ch 5 NBC): Repeat of Thanksgiving Day telecast from the 19th annual Philadelphia dog competition.

Merry Liddle Christmas Wedding (8 p.m., Lifetime): In a sequel to the 2019 film, Jacquie Liddle (Kelly Rowland) tries to plan the perfect destination wedding.

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

The Story Of Santa Claus (9 p.m., Ch 12 CBS): A jolly couple starts the toy-giving tradition in this 1996 cartoon.

The All-Star Nickmas Spectacular (9 p.m., Nickelodeon): Holiday musi by JoJo Siwa, That Girl Lay Lay and Ne-Yo, plus appearances by Trevor Noah, Lex Lumpkin, Gabriel Iglesias, Jay Pharoah, Tisha Campbell, Young Dylan and the casts of All That, The Astronauts, Danger Force, Group Chat and Nickelodeon’s Unfiltered, SpongeBob SquarePants, The Loud House and the Casagrandes.

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