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Holiday Season Programming From PBS and Nickelodeon

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Still buried in the first half of November — heck, I was out mowing the lawn and blowing leaves in a t-shirt and 65-degree breezes Saturday, in Northeast Ohio! — PBS and Nickelodeon have both announced their December holiday programming. I know this stuff is scheduled months in advance – it’s just that talking about it now strikes me as a little unseemly.

Nonetheless! PBS is emphasizing music for its adult holiday viewers:

L.A. HOLIDAY CELEBRATION 2005, airing Thursday, December 15, 10:00-11:00 p.m. ET, emphasizes the the artistic and cultural diversity of multi-culti, polyglot Los Angeles, with holiday traditions that span the globe. This music and dance special spotlights the top performances from the annual live Holiday Celebration at the Music Center. Viewers discover the “real L.A.,” as performers of African, Asian, European, Middle Eastern and Latino backgrounds join to express the joy of the season. Elayne Boosler hosts this surprising and original take on holiday entertainment.

GREAT PERFORMANCES provides “Renee Fleming: Sacred Songs and Carols,” Wednesday, December 21, 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET. Hailed by critics as one of the truly magnificent voices of our time, opera superstar Fleming has consistently wowed critics and audiences alike with her keen musicianship, artistic versatility and, of course, a voice called “the gold standard of soprano sound.” Recorded at Germany’s Mainz Cathedral, Fleming performs a lush selection of sacred Christmas music, backed by a full orchestra and boys’ choir.

Immediately following GREAT PERFORMANCES, PBS celebrates the season with CHRISTMAS WITH THE MORMON TABERNACLE CHOIR FEATURING AUDRA MCDONALD AND PETER GRAVES, Wednesday, December 21, 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET, with a repeat on Saturday, December 24, 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET. Four-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald and veteran movie and television star Peter Graves join the renowned Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Orchestra at Temple Square in an annual holiday concert that this year includes African-American spirituals and a medley of contemporary favorites. The high-definition, surround-sound production was recorded live from concerts performed during December 2004 in the state-of- the-art Conference Center in Salt Lake.

Ooh – this one makes my Norgy Olsen-heart sing: A ST. OLAF CHRISTMAS IN NORWAY, airing on Wednesday, December 21, 10:00-11:00 p.m. ET, is a Christmas special featuring the choir of St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, a girls’ choir from Norway and Norwegian mezzo Randi Stene in a program taped at Trondheim’s Nidaros Cathedral, one of the oldest Gothic churches in the world. The program commemorates the 100th anniversary of Norway’s independence from Sweden and the cultural roots of the St. Olaf College choir. Damn Swedes.

CHRISTMAS AT BELMONT (2005) premieres Thursday, December 22, 8:00- 9:00 p.m. ET, with a repeat on Sunday, December 25, 2:00-3:00 p.m. ET. Hosted by up-and-coming country music artist and Belmont graduate Josh Turner, this annual concert from Massey Concert Hall on the campus of Belmont University in Nashville is a festive musical collage that includes a Christmas repertoire ranging from traditional carols to classical masterworks to lighthearted secular songs. The “Christmas at Belmont” concert is a holiday tradition at Belmont, where the School of Music features outstanding choral and instrumental ensembles that have received high praise nationally and internationally.

LIVE FROM LINCOLN CENTER presents a musical celebration to ring in the new year with “New York Philharmonic New Year’s Eve Gala Concert” on Saturday, December 31, 8:00-10:00 p.m. ET, featuring the New York Philharmonic in its annual New Year’s Eve gala. The festive evening of music will ring in the New Year with a program of Italian opera featuring renowned soprano Angela Gheorghiu.

Travel host Rick Steves takes an intimate peripatetic look at how diverse European cultures celebrate Christmas in RICK STEVES’ EUROPEAN CHRISTMAS (December 2005, check local listings). From flaming puddings and minced pies in jolly old England, to angelic girls’ choirs sporting flickering crowns of candles in Oslo; from grandpa reading the Bible high in Switzerland to the pope in a jam-packed St. Peter’s Basilica for midnight mass, viewers experience Euro-Christmas from the comfort of home. Above all, the program highlights traditional European holiday music — unfamiliar to many American ears — performed by families and choirs in homes, chapels and cathedrals.

On the non-musical front, the secrets to home holiday entertaining are revealed in THE HOLIDAY TABLE (December 2005, check local listings). This new special is laden with easy and elegant ideas for holiday entertaining. Hosted by Dede Wilson of the Seasonings series and chef Jean- Pierre Brehier, the show features recipes for appetizers, a main course and cookies. Style experts offer ideas for simple and inexpensive centerpieces, mantel decorations, innovative place cards and more. The finale is a presentation of a gingerbread village, with tips on making, assembling and decorating a gingerbread house. Take that, Martha.

On the kids front, PBS presents an encore presentation of ARTHUR’S PERFECT CHRISTMAS, Saturday, December 24, 2005, 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET. The one-hour primetime special features everyone’s (well, most people’s anyway) favorite aardvark as he gives kids a spin on seasonal traditions, showing children many ways to celebrate “the holidays.” Plans are underway in Elwood City for the best holidays ever as Arthur, D.W., their family and friends make preparations for perfect gifts, perfect parties and perfect family traditions for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and even “Baxter Day” (Buster and his mom’s special celebration). The only problem is, just like in real life, perfection is hard to attain and things start to fall apart.

Kid’s network Nickelodeon is offering “Ha-Ha Holidays” specials Mondays-Thursdays (8:30 p.m. ET/PT) December 5-29 including a Danny Phantom premiere, “Merry Marathons” will stretch out on December 17 and 25, and Nick Jr.’s “Frosty Fridays” (12-2 p.m. ET/PT) includes a Yuletide LazyTown premiere for the little kids.

Primetime offerings below to be telecast at 8:30 p.m. (ET/PT)

Monday, Dec 5
The Fairly OddParents/”Christmas Every Day” — The globe is put into gridlock after Timmy wishes for 365 days of Christmas a year. Santa’s overworked, Mom and Dad can’t work and the other holidays are furious that jolly old Saint Nick is getting all the attention, not to mention all the holiday magic. The other holidays set out to take Santa down for good. Since Wanda and Cosmo are magically depleted during this Season, Timmy must go it alone to the North Pole in order to save Santa and put the calendar back on schedule. (Repeats 12-17, 21, 25 & 12-27)

Tuesday, Dec. 6 *PREMIERE*
Danny Phantom/”The Fright before Christmas” — When Danny Fenton accidentally destroys the only copy of a ghostly Christmas story, the book’s author, Ghost Writer (guest voice Brendan Fraisier), casts him as the main character of a new Yuletide tale and pins the blame on him when a series of catastrophes threaten to ruin Christmas for all of Amity Park. When Danny goes into the Ghost Zone to confront Ghost Writer, he is surprised to find his old ghostly enemies in a giving mood. Danny enlists them to help him defeat Ghost Writer and restore the spirit of Christmas to Amity Park and, perhaps, to his own heart. (Repeats 12-17, 19 & 25)

Wednesday, Dec 7
SpongeBob SquarePants/”Patchy the Pirate Presents the SpongeBob SquarePants Christmas Special” — Nobody in Bikini Bottom has heard of Christmas or Santa Claus until Sandy lets them in on this surface tradition. SpongeBob wants to bring Christmas to Bikini Bottom this year and his enthusiasm is infectious. Everyone except a scoffing Squidward gets into the picture, waiting for Santa to arrive on the big day. (Repeats 12-17, 22 & 25)

Thursday, Dec 8
The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius/”Holly Jolly Jimmy” — Jimmy is convinced that Santa Claus does not exist. To prove his theory, he travels to the North Pole with Carl and Sheen where they discover a remote toy factory. When Jimmy’s homing device malfunctions, it emits a blast of energy that hits the source of the signal: Santa Claus. With the big guy’s atoms temporarily scrambled, who can deliver the presents? Jimmy must now put his doubts aside, load up the hypercube and try to save Christmas. (Repeats 12-17, 20 & 25)

Monday, Dec 12
All Grown Up/”The Finster Who Stole Christmas” — When Chuckie grabs a great, seemingly abandoned tree to replace the lame one Chas picked out, the whole neighborhood is out to catch a thief. With Tommy’s help Chuckie hatches a plan to rectify the situation. Meanwhile, Kira and Kimi are having their own battles with airline staff in their quest to make it home in time for Christmas. And Tommy and Dil strive to write a memorable Chanukah song. (Repeats 12-17 & 25)

Tuesday, Dec 13
My Life as a Teenage Robot/ “A Robot for All Seasons” — Jenny volunteers to be a robot toy for an underprivileged boy at Christmas only to become his unwitting remote-controlled weapon in an attack on all the holidays. When Jenny becomes Public Enemy #1, she must prove that the little boy is the true villain before he forces her to attack Santa’s Workshop and destroy Christmas forever. (Repeats 12-17 & 25)

Wednesday, Dec 14
Hey Arnold!/ “Arnold’s Christmas” — Arnold draws Mr. Hyunh’s name for the boarding house Secret Santa. To capture the true spirit of Christmas, Arnold tries to reunite the lonely boarder with the daughter he hasn’t seen in over 20 years. When Arnold and his friends succeed, Mr. Hyunh and the boarding house clan have the best Christmas ever. (Repeats 12-17 & 25)

Thursday, Dec 16 (8-9 p.m.)
Rugrats /”Babies in Toyland” — America’s favorite tots frolic in a spectacular, high-tech Christmasland designed by Stu Pickles for Dil’s first Christmas, and greedy “little angel” Angelica finally learns the joy of giving — after driving Santa (Jim Belushi) to quit and trekking to his North Pole workshop. The babies brave the Battle of the Toy Soldiers in search of Santa and ride a goat to “Bethlehem.” And a malfunctioning snow machine strands the grown-ups in a cabin on the prairie to celebrate and appreciate an old-fashioned Christmas.

Saturday, Dec. 17 (12-7 p.m.) Holiday Marathon

12 p.m.
The Wild Thornberrys/”Thornberry Christmas” — Eliza takes desperate measures to help animals survive during tough times along the Skeleton Coast. However, the price she pays for her goodwill is her family’s holiday cheer, including their Christmas dinner! (Repeats 12-25)

12:30 p.m.
My Life as a Teenage Robot/ “A Robot for All Seasons”

1 p.m.
Hey Arnold!/ “Arnold’s Christmas”

1:30 p.m.
CatDog/ “A Very CatDog Christmas” — At the mall, CatDog sits on Santa’s lap, and a bratty preschooler announces she wants CatDog for Christmas. Cat convinces Dog to accept the offer so they can live in opulence. Disillusioned by CatDog’s selling out, Santa cancels Christmas. (Repeats 12-25)

2 p.m.
Rugrats Chanukah Special — The Rugrats attend an annual Chanukah festival where Grandpa Boris and his old rival Shlomo perform in a play about the meaning of Chanukah. When the babies think the actor playing the evil king is the “meany” of Chanukah, they set out to protect Tommy’s beloved grandpa, only to inadvertently help reconcile Boris with his old friend Shlomo. In a touching ending, the Rugrats initiate the beautiful candle-lighting ceremony to serve “as a night light for the people” and guide Boris and Shlomo back to the true meaning of Chanukah. (Repeats 12-25 & 28)

2:30 p.m.
Danny Phantom/”The Fright before Christmas”

3 p.m.
ChalkZone/”When Santas Collide” — It’s Christmas Eve and things aren’t going well for the Tabooties. Because his Santa costume hasn’t arrived, Joe won’t be able to maintain the Tabootie traditional dinnertime “visit from Santa.” Meanwhile, when Rudy becomes convinced that he’s not getting the present he wants most, he storms upstairs and escapes into the Chalkzone. Penny follows hoping to cheer him up and bring him back home for Christmas Eve dinner and together they experience and amazing ChalkZone holiday fantasy. (Repeats 12-25 & 29)

3:30 p.m.
As Told by Ginger/”An Even Steven Holiday Special” — When a family tree reveals that Ginger is one-quarter Jewish, she insists on celebrating Chanukah as well as Christmas, but her best friend Dodie worries that the “Jewish Ginger” is shutting her out. Also, when Hoodsey sets out to convince a disbelieving Carl that Santa Claus exists, he unknowingly brings about a small holiday miracle. Only after an accidental fire from the flame of the menorah or a Christmas tree on electrical overload — and an unexpected rescue by a Santa recognizable as the Foutley kids’ absentee dad — can Ginger and Carl put the holidays in perspective. (Repeats 12-25)

4 p.m.
SpongeBob SquarePants/”Patchy the Pirate Presents the SpongeBob SquarePants Christmas Special”

4:30 p.m.
Rugrats /”The Santa Experience” — The families escape to a mountain cabin in search of “the perfect Christmas.” Things get a little crazy when Tommy and Chuckie lay traps for St. Nicholas, and a Santa-suited Chas. tries to squeeze his way down the chimney. (Repeats 12-25)

5 p.m.
The Fairly OddParents/”Christmas Every Day”

5:30 p.m.
Rocket Power/”A Rocket X-mas” — In order to make some extra cash for the holiday, the kids start their own dog walking service. The business proves to be so successful it monopolizes all their time and keeps Reggie and Otto away from home, where Ray is obsessed with maintaining holiday traditions. Ray grows increasingly upset when Reggie and Otto show little or no interest in the holiday games he has gone to so much trouble to plan. Eventually, both Ray and the kids realize that Christmas isn’t just about presents and traditions, it’s about spending time with and appreciating the people you love. (Repeats 12-25)

6 p.m.
All Grown Up/”The Finster Who Stole Christmas”

6:30 p.m.
The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius/”Holly Jolly Jimmy”

Primetime offerings below to be telecast at 8:30 p.m. (ET/PT)

Monday, Dec. 19
Danny Phantom/”The Fright before Christmas”

Tuesday, Dec. 20
The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius/”Holly Jolly Jimmy’

Wednesday, Dec 21
The Fairly OddParents/”Christmas Every Day”

Thursday, Dec. 22
SpongeBob SquarePants/”Patchy the Pirate Presents the SpongeBob SquarePants Christmas Special” ”

Christmas Sunday, Dec. 25 (12-7 p.m.) Holiday Marathon

12 p.m. — Rocket Power/”A Rocket X-mas”
12:30 p.m. — The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius/”Holly Jolly
Jimmy”
1 p.m. — Hey Arnold!/ “Arnold’s Christmas”
1:30 p.m. — Rugrats /”The Santa Experience”
2 p.m. — SpongeBob SquarePants/”Patchy the Pirate Presents the SpongeBob
SquarePants Christmas Special”
2:30 p.m. – Danny Phantom/”The Fright before Christmas”
3 p.m. — As Told by Ginger/”An Even Steven Holiday Special”
3:30 p.m. — ChalkZone/”When Santas Collide”
4 p.m. — Rugrats Chanukah Special
4:30 p.m. — CatDog/ “A Very CatDog Christmas”
5 p.m. — The Fairly OddParents/”Christmas Every Day”
5:30 p.m. — The Wild Thornberrys/”Thornberry Christmas”
6 p.m. — All Grown Up/”The Finster Who Stole Christmas”
6:30 p.m. — My Life as a Teenage Robot/ “A Robot for All Seasons”

Monday Dec. 26
Rugrats/”A Rugrats Kwanzaa”
When effervescent Aunt T. (guest voice, Irma P. Hall, Soul Food) arrives with a festive flourish to celebrate Kwanzaa with the Carmichaels, she tells little Susie, “The holiday is a time to honor the legacy of our great people.” Not having won any trophies or awards like the rest of her family, the forlorn tot concludes that she isn’t great and won’t be able to celebrate. Through pictures in a scrapbook, Aunt T. teaches Susie that greatness doesn’t come from awards; it’s how you live your life with kindness and dignity every day.

Tuesday Dec. 27
The Fairly OddParents/”Christmas Every Day”

Wednesday, Dec. 28
Rugrats Chanukah Special

Thursday, Dec. 29
ChalkZone/”When Santas Collide”

Nick Jr. Frosty Fridays Programming

Friday Dec. 9
12 p.m. — LazyTown’s “Surprise Santa” — PREMIERE — When Robbie Rotten hears that the LazyTowners are having a Christmas party, he assumes he wasn’t invited and aims to mar the merriment by shooting a snowball out of a cannon at the guests. Sportacus must save the day before the snowball crashes into the festivities. (Repeats 12-10, 23 & 24)

12:30 p.m. — Blue’s Clues/”Blue’s Room” & “Holiday Wishes”
1 p.m. — Max & Ruby/”Max’s Christmas”
1:30 p.m. — Dora the Explorer/”A Present for Santa” (repeats 12-10,
16 & 24)

Friday 12/16:
12 p.m. — Dora the Explorer/”A Present for Santa”
12:30 p.m. — Little Bill/”Merry Christmas, Little Bill” (Repeats 12-10 &
12-24)
1 p.m. — Blue’s Clues/”Blue’s First Holiday”
1:30 p.m. — Miss Spider/”Hum Bug/Dashing Through the Snow”

Friday 12/23:
12-1 p.m. — Franklin’s Magic Christmas
1 p.m. — Blue’s Clues/”Blue’s Big Holiday”
1:30 p.m. — LazyTown/”Surprise Santa”

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About Eric Olsen

  • http://www.suddennothing.net LegendaryMonkey

    The adult programming seems like a big yawn. Is it any wonder discerning adults love cartoons?

  • Eric Olsen

    good point! although I might be interested in the Norway thingy, and the travel through Europe show. The only new cartoon is he Danny Phantom, though, and I am just so-so on Danny

  • http://www.suddennothing.net LegendaryMonkey

    As an Olsen, you’re required to be interested in Nordic stuff. Think of the rest of us, man!

  • Eric Olsen

    I understand, and it remains to e seen how fascinating I will find the music myself