PBS is decorating its holiday schedule with traditional fare including an entire month of performances dedicated to “Broadway’s Best”.
Throughout the holiday season, the PBS line-up also includes a variety of music and family-friendly specials, such as A CLASSIC CHRISTMAS hosted by actors Gavin MacLeod (“The Love Boat”) and Marion Ross (“Happy Days”), PBS KIDS’ NATURE CAT: A NATURE CAROL, LIVE FROM LINCOLN CENTER “New York Philharmonic New Year’s Eve 2019: Sondheim Celebration” and GREAT PERFORMANCES “From Vienna: The New Year’s Celebration 2020.”
PBS brings holiday joy, cheer and happiness to old and young alike beginning Saturday, November 16 at 8:00-10:00 p.m. ET with the premiere of A CLASSIC CHRISTMAS.Gavin MacLeod (“The Love Boat”) and Marion Ross (“Happy Days”) host a festive, all-star special of favourite carols and popular standards. Featured holiday performances from yesteryear include Bing Crosby, Perry Como, Judy Garland, Nat King Cole, The Carpenters and many more.
Throughout November, GREAT PERFORMANCES will bring viewers the broadcast premieres of “Broadway’s Best” every Friday night at 9:00 p.m. ET. The series of specials kicks off on November 1 with “42nd Street,” the Broadway fable of a star-struck chorus girl dreaming of her big break, followed on November 8 by Lincoln Center Theater’s Tony Award-winning revival of the beloved musical classic “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The King and I,” inspired by the true story of a British school teacher in the royal court of Siam, starring Kelli O’Hara and Ken Watanabe. “Red,” the Tony Award-winning play starring Alfred Molina as painter Mark Rothko and Alfred Enoch as his assistant as they clash over the murals for New York’s Four Seasons restaurant, debuts November 15. The Public Theater’s Free Shakespeare in the Park modern interpretation of Shakespeare’s romantic classic “Much Ado About Nothing,” featuring Danielle Brooks and Grantham Coleman and directed by Tony Award-winner Kenny Leon, premieres November 22. And the 2013 Broadway blockbuster “Kinky Boots,” about an unexpected duo joining forces to create an extraordinary line of shoes, featuring music and lyrics by pop icon Cyndi Lauper and a book by Broadway legend Harvey Fierstein, wraps up “Broadway’s Best” on November 29.
PBS KIDS’ festive line-up kicks off with the premiere of A NATURE CAROL, a new one-hour special from the hit series NATURE CAT, on November 29. In this homage to A Christmas Carol, Nature Cat (voiced by Taran Killam) is visited by the spirits of Nature Past (Daisy, voiced by Kate Micucci), Present (Squeeks, voiced by Kate McKinnon) and Future (Hal, voiced by Bobby Moynihan), who help him discover the true meaning of Christmas. “Giving Thanks Day,” the new Thanksgiving-themed episode from CYBERCHASE, also debuts on PBS KIDS on November 22.
In addition, PBS KIDS will feature holiday favourites throughout the month of December, including LET’S GO LUNA! “Luna’s Christmas Around the World,” THE CAT IN THE HAT KNOWS A LOT ABOUT CHRISTMAS!, CURIOUS GEORGE: A VERY MONKEY CHRISTMAS, PEG + CAT + HOLIDAYS and WILD KRATTS: A CREATURE CHRISTMAS. Viewers can check local listings for air times on PBS stations and the PBS KIDS 24/7 channel, and stream these holiday specials on the free PBS KIDS Video app.
In December, PBS will capture the holiday spirit with musical celebrations, fan favourite specials and inspirational documentaries, beginning with an encore presentation of A CHEF’S LIFE HOLIDAY SPECIAL on Friday, December 13, 10:00-11:00 p.m. ET. American Chef Vivian Howard serves up the best of her Southern cooking heritage and the Chanukah traditions of her husband Ben. From humble Hoppin’ John to elegant red velvet cake, viewers will sample a charming and delicious holiday celebration.
American actress, singer, and Tony and Emmy Award winner Kristin Chenoweth is at the helm of the network’s annual CHRISTMAS WITH THE TABERNACLE CHOIR special premiering Monday, December 16, 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET. The special features Chenoweth’s riveting 2018 performance with the iconic Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square during its annual Christmas concert – a beloved tradition featuring favourite holiday music, dancing and storytelling.
Drawing inspiration from the book by Yale University’s Sterling Professor of Humanities Maria Rosa Menocal (d. 2012), PBS will debut THE ORNAMENT OF THE WORLD on Tuesday, December 17, 8:00-10:00 p.m. ET. Filmed in Cordoba, Granada, Seville and Toledo, this is the story of a remarkable 800-year period when Muslims, Christians and Jews in medieval Spain forged a common cultural identity that often transcended their religious differences.
Hosts CeCe Winans and Michael W. Smith join nearly 700 student musicians, Belmont School of Music faculty and Nashville Children’s Choir for a production of traditional carols, classical masterworks, world music and light-hearted seasonal favourites in CHRISTMAS AT BELMONT on Monday, December 23, 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET. An encore presentation is also scheduled for Tuesday, December 24, 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET.
On Christmas Day, Wednesday, December 25, PBS viewers are welcome to settle in for a few hours of holiday bliss with LUCY WORSLEY’S 12 DAYS OF TUDOR CHRISTMAS at 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET, a 12-day extravaganza as she discovers that much of what we enjoy in contemporary Christmas – from carols to turkey, gift-giving to mistletoe and mulled wine – has surprising Tudor origins, rooted in devotion and charity, followed by CALL THE MIDWIFE HOLIDAY SPECIAL at 9:00-10:30 p.m. ET, which follows Mother Mildred and the Nonnatus House team to the Outer Hebrides as they respond to a nursing shortage.
PBS also invites viewers to join in year-end festivities with a few fun-filled celebrations: AUSTIN CITY LIMITS 6TH ANNUAL HALL OF FAME HONOURS, LIVE FROM LINCOLN CENTER “New York Philharmonic New Year’s Eve 2019: Sondheim Celebration” and GREAT PERFORMANCES “From Vienna: The New Year’s Celebration 2020.”
American singer-songwriter Robert Earl Keen will host the 2019 Hall of Fame inductees: Shawn Colvin, Buddy Guy and Lyle Lovett in the premiere of AUSTIN CITY LIMITS 6TH ANNUAL HALL OF FAME HONOURS on December 28, 2019, 11:00 p.m.-12:00 a.m. ET. Guest performers include Jackson Browne, Bruce Hornsby, Shemekia Copeland, Jimmie Vaughan, Sarah Jarosz and more.
On Tuesday, December 31, 8:00-9:30 p.m. ET, ring in the New Year with LIVE FROM LINCOLN CENTER “New York Philharmonic New Year’s Eve 2019: Sondheim Celebration.” Showcasing the New York Philharmonic and guest vocalist Katrina Lenk (The Band’s Visit), the 90-minute special celebrates the orchestral music of Stephen Sondheim with performances of Sunday in the Park, Into the Woods, Sweeney Todd and more.
In addition, viewers can celebrate 2020 with the Vienna Philharmonic at the Musikverein on New Year’s Day, Wednesday, January 1, 9:00-10:30 p.m. ET. Hosted by PBS favourite Hugh Bonneville (“Downton Abbey”), the special features the Vienna City Ballet as guest conductor Andris Nelsons directs the orchestra’s performances of the waltzes of Strauss.
As the home of documentaries, the PBS year-end schedule also includes the premieres of a variety of previously announced programs, such as FRONTLINE’s “For Sama” (Tuesday, November 19, 10:00 p.m. ET) and COLLEGE BEHIND BARS (Monday-Tuesday, November 25-26, 9:00 p.m. ET). In addition, the network is honouring veterans and Native Americans with the debuts of SONGWRITING WITH SOLDIERS(Friday, October 25 at 10:00 p.m. ET), THE WARRIOR TRADITION (Veterans Day, Monday, November 11 at 9:00 p.m. ET) and AMERICAN MASTERS “N. Scott Momaday” (Monday, November 18, 9:00 p.m. ET).