The arrival of the holiday season this week heralds the obligatory programming of music specials, parades, yuletide movies and even a dog show. Here’s a look at some of the goodies in store for viewers.
“Tim McGraw: Sing Me Home”: The country music fave performs in a concert taped before a hometown crowd at C.W. Earle’s Cotton Gin in Start, La. The hourlong special also offers behind-the-scenes footage of the singer’s last nine years on tour and interviews with people who reflect upon McGraw’s childhood. 8 p.m. Wednesday, NBC.
“Back in the U.S.”: A two-hour special chronicles Paul McCartney’s sold-out tour of 34 cities across America earlier this year. Included is feature footage from the concerts and glimpses of life on the road with McCartney and his band. 9 p.m. Wednesday, ABC.
“Faith Hill”: Tim McGraw’s missus pops up on her own NBC special Thanksgiving night. The program, which was taped in September, follows the journey to create her new album, “Cry,” and features live performances from Hill of such hits as “Breathe” and “This Kiss.” The show also includes behind-the-scenes footage narrated by Hill. 9 p.m. Thursday, NBC.
“Elvis Lives”: With the CD of the King’s No. 1 songs recently topping the charts, this NBC special celebrates Presley’s popularity with commentary and performances by Bono, Tom Petty, Sheryl Crow, No Doubt and Britney Spears interspersed with footage of Presley’s performances and interviews as well as international coverage commemorating the 25th anniversary of his death. 10 p.m. Thursday, NBC.
“Alan Jackson: Let It Be Christmas”: The country star appears in concert at the Grand Ole Opry and chats about his memories of Christmas with his wife Denise. 8 p.m. Friday, Country Music Television.
“U2’s Beautiful Day”: The popular Irish rock group performs in an hourlong special. 10 p.m. Friday, CBS.
“It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie”: Kermit and the gang headline their first television movie. In this holiday fare, Kermit struggles on Christmas Eve to save the Muppet Theatre from the clutches of a Scrooge-like bank owner who wants to demolish it and turn it into a trendy nightclub. Whoopi Goldberg, Joan Cusack and David Arquette are among the human stars. 8 p.m. Friday, NBC.
“Santa Jr.”: Lauren Holly, Judd Nelson, Nick Stabile and comedian George Wallace star in this romantic holiday flick that finds Santa’s son fighting the grinches of the Christmas spirit. 9 p.m. Saturday, Hallmark Channel.
“Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade”: NBC offers three-hour coverage of the 76th annual Thanksgiving Day Parade from New York City. Plenty of NBC stars will be appearing in the parade along with the floats, marching bands, Broadway stars, massive character balloons and an appearance by Santa Claus. 9 a.m. Thursday, NBC.
“CBS Thanksgiving Day Parade”: Boomer Esiason and Julie Chen anchor the network’s three-hour coverage of the Macy’s parade and the Miami Beach Thanksgiving Day Parade. 1 p.m. Thursday, CBS.
“The National Dog Show Presented by Purina”: For the first time, network television is airing a dog show. Hosted by the Kennel Club of Philadelphia, the event will feature about 2,500 dogs from more than 140 breeds competing in seven groups for best in show. John O’Hurley from “Seinfeld” is the host and dog expert David Frei supplies the commentary. Noon Thursday, NBC.
“Late Night With David Letterman”: The Trio cable channel presents a “Give Thanks to Dave” four-day marathon of episodes from the Emmy Award-winning late-night series. Begins 5:30 a.m. Thursday, through Dec. 1, Trio.
“Friends”: Encore of last year’s Turkey Day episode finds Brad Pitt, husband of regular Jennifer Aniston, guest starring as a former high school friend of Monica’s who doesn’t like Rachel. Pitt received an Emmy nomination for his performance. 8 p.m. Thursday, NBC.
Cover photograph by Craig Blankenhorn.