Thanksgiving is barely over — we still have pieces of turkey in the fridge — but the networks are already rolling out their Christmas specials.
Don’t read too much into this early gift. The bah-humbug networks haven’t necessarily suddenly found the spirit of the season.
No, this is more about the Hollywood writers’ strike causing a lack of original programming. To fill the gap in December, the networks will rely on time-tested Christmas specials to fill in their schedules.
Sure, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (airing 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, ABC) would be popping up eventually anyway, but the timing of the hit special couldn’t come at a better time.
And who wants to watch “Cavemen” on ABC when we can see “A Charlie Brown Christmas” (8 p.m. Tuesday, ABC) again?
ABC Family is launching its “25 Days of Christmas,” an umbrella name for seasonal movies and specials. First up for ABC Family is “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” (7 tonight). The other 24 days will include event programming such as “Rudolph’s Shiny New Year” and “Jack Frost.”
The family channel will also present original specials such as “Holiday in Handcuffs,” a made-for-TV movie with Mario Lopez and Melissa Joan Hart, springing up in the middle of the month.
On the networks, annual favorites such as “Rudolph” and “Frosty the Snowman” will also return in December.
Other highlights this week (subject to change; check local listings) include:
@1. Body Copy Bold Lede-in Names:Christmas Caper” (8 p.m. Sunday, ABC Family): Shannen Doherty has sticky hands at Christmastime.
“The Simpsons” (8 p.m. Sunday, Fox): The cast of “Frasier” has a mini-reunion.
“House” (9 p.m. Tuesday, Fox): Dr. House selects his new team.
“Christmas in Rockefeller Center” (8 p.m. Wednesday, NBC): In New York, when they say it’s Christmas, it’s Christmas, OK, bub?
“My Night at the Grammys” (8 p.m. Friday, CBS): The top 25 moments of the past 49 years of the Grammys are recollected.