The broadcast networks are suiting up for the holiday season, too, and none more so than ABC. ABC’s festive fun starts on Nov. 27 with Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town. The network marks a half-century of seasonal chestnut A Charlie Brown Christmas with It’s Your 50th Christmas, Charlie Brown on Nov. 30 with Kristen Bell hosting. Later that night is The Great Holiday Baking Show.
A week later, the season premiere of The Great Christmas Light Fight will lead into The Great Holiday Baking Show. “We thought, what else goes with great lights, and came up with baking and food,” says Andy Kubitz, executive VP of scheduling at ABC. “We started to look to build a new [holiday] franchise in the food space.”
Over on NBC, How the Grinch Stole Christmas sleds in Dec. 2, leading into a primetime, Christmas-themed Saturday Night Live. Horatio Sanz is likely tuning up his lute-guitar thing right about now.
CBS of course features Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Frosty theSnowman, whose airdates are not yet announced, and loads up December with special, if not holiday-specific, programming, including the Sinatra 100 concert Dec. 6.
The merriment then chugs right into 2016. Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest starts at 8 p.m. on ABC Dec. 31. Fox gets into the Auld Lang Syne fun with Pitbull hosting its New Year’s Eve bash. While Seacrest and his pals are freezing in Times Square, Pitbull will be in sunny Miami.
David Smith, CEO of consulting firm SmithGeiger, says the pumped-up holiday fare is an effort to combat on-demand viewing, such as what goes on at Netflix. “The antidote to non-linear viewing is events,” he says. “The networks are creating more and more events, and it helps if they’re in a seasonal context.”