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.