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HBO’s consumer guide for kids comes right in the Nick of time

TIMES STAFF WRITER

It’s bad enough the rest of the year, but December is, of course, the peak of the advertising frenzy. Kids are bombarded with seductive ads for expensive toys, which can look and perform better on TV than they do in living rooms on Christmas morning.

This year, as the recession roars on, retailers are desperate to get consumers to spend, which may translate into even higher-pressure commercials. A new HBO special, “Buy Me That Too!: A Kid’s Survival Guide to TV Advertising,” arrives just in time. A follow-up to the 1989 special “Buy Me That!,” this show teaches kids how to be critical of commercials and separate the facts about a product from its television image. It also looks at the sneaky tactics used to hawk expensive items--including product placement in movies and celebrity endorsements. The show features Jim Fyfe, who this year hosted another HBO special on how kids can help the environment.

“Buy Me That Too!: A K id’s Survival Guide to TV A d vertising,” Wednesday 8-8:30 p.m. HBO. For all ages (including parents).

MORE KIDS’ SHOWS

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Hanna Barbera meets the Middle Ages with animated versions of Rapunzel and The Emperor’s New Clothes (today 8-9 a.m. USA). For all ages.

Puppet animation helps impart the spirit and meaning behind the Jewish Festival of Lights, which begins at sundown, in Chanukah at Bubba’s (today 9-9:30 a.m. KCET). For 2- to 12-year-olds.

Back-to-back programs on KTTV feature the animated antics of the Disney gang: A Disney Christmas Gift (today 4-5 p.m.); From All of Us to All of You (5-6 p.m.) and On Vacation With Mickey and Donald (6-7 p.m.). For all ages.

A combination of rap, drama, animation and documentary sequences bring home the message of Talkin’ About AIDS (today 4:15-5 p.m. Bravo), which airs on Bravo on World AIDS Day and kicks off the cable channel’s monthlong fund-raising efforts for AIDS groups. For ages 12 and up, and their families.

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Captain Planet, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and, of course, Santa, are just a few of the celebs scheduled to show up for the 60th annual Hollywood Christmas Parade (today 6-8 p.m. KTLA). For all ages.

Your Baby and Child with Penelope Leach (weekdays 9-9:30 a.m. Lifetime) is a new parenting series hosted by the renowned British psychologist. For parents.

KCET devotes a night’s worth of programming to kids, starting with the final episode of the Childhood series (Monday 8-9 p.m.), which focuses on adolescence. Afterwards, Childhood in America (9-10:30 p.m.) provides a follow-up to the series; Our Children at Risk (10:30-11:30 p.m.) discusses the debilitating effect of poverty, and Drug Babies (11:30 p.m.-midnight) reports on how parents’ prenatal drug abuse affects children. For ages 13 and up.

Aging-but-still-cute heartthrob Kirk Cameron stars in the holiday story A Little Piece of Heaven (Monday 9-11 p.m. NBC), in which a brother tries to keep his promise to find a friend for his developmentally disabled sister. For all ages.

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A teen’s brother is diagnosed with schizophrenia on the repeat of the CBS Schoolbreak Special “The Girl With the Crazy Brother” (Tuesday 3-4 p.m.), directed by Diane Keaton. For 12- to 17-year-olds.

Ricky Schroeder stars in the 1980 remake of Little Lord Fauntleroy (Thursday noon-2 p.m. KTTV), based on the classic novel about a poor boy who inherits his grandpa’s British estate. For all ages.

The rebroadcast of ABC Afterschool Special “Over the Limit” (Thursday 3-4 p.m.) deals with teen-age drunk driving. For 12- to 17-year-olds.

The world’s laziest cat stars in the rebroadcast A Garfield Christmas special (Friday 8-8:30 p.m. CBS), followed by a repeat of A Claymation Christmas Celebration (8:30-9 p.m.). For all ages.

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Bulletin Board: KNBC-TV and KIIS-FM radio team up for the seventh annual “Toys for Tots” campaign, with help from Six Flags Magic Mountain and the U.S. Marine Corps. Bring a new, unwrapped toy valued at $10 or more to the park and receive free admission Dec. 7-8 and 14-15, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.


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