Holiday TV Schedule 2016
Rudolph to the rescue when Happy, the Baby New Year, goes missing, in “Rudolph’s Shiny New Year,” airing Dec. 26 on ABC. (Rankin/Bass)

Holiday TV schedule 2016: movies, specials, more

With the holidays fast approaching, it’s time to help viewers with the Holiday TV Schedule 2016. I’m certainly missing many movies, specials and holiday-themed episodes, but this is a good start for viewers.

Feel free to check out my December 2016 TV premieres calendar for more. Here are links to other handy lists., Freeform 25 Days of Christmas, Hallmark Countdown to Christmas

Happy holidays!

Holiday TV schedule 2016 

All times Central.

Monday, Dec. 5

7 p.m.

“Showtime at the Apollo,” Fox (Steve Harvey hosts reimagining of classic talent showcase series)

“The Great Christmas Light Fight,” ABC (season premiere)

9 p.m.

“The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show,” CBS (filmed in Paris with models and Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars and The Weeknd)

Wednesday, Dec. 7

7 p.m.

“Lethal Weapon: Jingle Bell Glock,” Fox 

The whole precinct’s holiday celebrations are cut short when they’re called to examine a ruthless homicide linked to Eddie Flores (guest star Raul Casso), the deranged nephew of a notable drug lord who has a previous history with Riggs (Clayne Crawford). The holiday season weighs heavily on Riggs, who flashes back to past Christmases with his former wife, Miranda (guest star Floriana Lima). Murtaugh (Damon Wayans) is also a little preoccupied with his neighbor’s obnoxious holiday decorations.

8 p.m.

“Alaskan Bush People Christmas Special,” Discovery

A Browntown Christmas: In years past, Christmas was a time to reconnect with extended family, but this holiday they’re staying in Browntown and bringing old traditions into their new home, as they build and acquire food and materials that they need for the perfect Christmas.


Thursday, Dec. 8


“SuperMansion: War on Christmas,” Crackle

The League of Freedom, who can’t agree on anything, must band together to save Christmas when an interstellar imp, Mr. Skibumpers (Jim Parsons), unleashes a real-life Santa Claus (Gary Anthony Williams) who experiences an existential crisis and runs amok. Ultimately, the team comes to understand that their differences of opinion are what the holiday spirit is all about. More about the Supermansion holiday episode.

2 p.m.

“Holiday Joy,” Freeform

Joy Hockstatter (Bailee Madison) has been trying to help her dad, Bob, hold the family together after her mom’s death a few years ago. Although only 15, she’s become a kind of surrogate mother to her brothers. Every day she looks across the street to the perfect house and family—the Wellmans. After a freak accident (which involves some suspicious cards), Joy wakes up as one of the Wellmans, with a new mother, father and older sister! Her new life seems to have changed for the better, only now Bob and her brothers have taken a turn for the worse and the only one who recognizes Joy from her previous life is her old dog, Levi.

7 p.m.

“Toy Story That Time Forgot,” ABC (annual rebroadcast)

“Taraji’s White Hot Holidays,” Fox

Taraji P. Henson hosts all-new music and variety special that will feature renditions of classic holiday songs by entertainment superstars, includingJussie Smollett, Taye Diggs, Pharrell Williams, Missy Elliott, Alicia Keys, Darryl McDaniels of Run-DMC, Snoop Dogg and TLC. Tyler Perry and Terry Crews will appear along with surprise guests and performances. Encore airs at 7 p.m. Dec. 23

7:30 p.m.

“Shrek the Halls,” ABC (annual rebroadcast)

8 p.m.

“Christmas at Belmont,” PBS (rebroadcast from 2015)

In a glorious presentation of traditional carols, classical masterworks, world music and light-hearted seasonal favorites, nearly 700 student musicians and the Belmont School of Music faculty perform with the Nashville Children’s Choir. The program features the University Symphony Orchestra, Belmont Chorale, Percussion Ensemble, Musical Theatre, Jazz Ensemble, Bluegrass Ensemble and a mass choir.

9 p.m.

Pure Genius: A Bunker Hill Christmas,” CBS

When a young leukemia patient comes to Bunker Hill in need of a miracle, James hopes a new t-cell cancer treatment will save her life, as her optimism inspires him to become a better person. Also, Malik and Zoe agree to go on a date just as James confesses his feelings to her, and Julianna’s Christmas visit with Walter uncovers the strain in their long-distance marriage.

Friday, Dec. 9

5 p.m.

“Festivus” marathon of “Seinfeld” episodes, TBS (annual rebroadcast, through 8 p.m.)



6:45 p.m.

“Santa Paws 2: The Santa Pups,” Freeform (annual rebroadcast)

8:50 p.m.

“Snow Buddies,” Freeform (annual rebroadcast)

Saturday, Dec. 10

6:30 p.m.

“Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” TBS (annual rebroadcast)

7 p.m.

“Mary Poppins,” ABC (annual rebroadcast)

“An Elf’s Story: The Elf on the Shelf,” TBS (annual rebroadcast)

“A Christmas Wedding Date,” Lifetime

After being fired from her high-powered job, Rebecca heads back home to see her mom and attend her friend’s wedding on Christmas Eve. Initially convinced that the trip is a terrible mistake, Rebecca soon learns that you can go home again. Marla Sokoloff, Chris Carmack, George Wendt star.


Sunday, Dec. 11

7 p.m.

“Frozen,” ABC (annual rebroadcast)

“The Simpsons: The Nightmare After Krustmas,” Fox

Krusty (Dan Castellaneta) tries to impress his daughter (guest voice Natasha Lyonne) as they spend Christmas with the Simpsons.  Meanwhile, Reverend Lovejoy (Harry Shearer) seeks converts after church attendance plummets, and Maggie is haunted by a spooky Christmas toy. Comedian Jackie Mason also makes a guest-voice appearance. An encore airs 7 p.m. Dec. 25.

7:30 p.m.

“Son of Zorn: The War on Grafelnik,” Fox

Torn between Edie’s Christmas and Zorn’s Grafelnik—the Zephyrian holiday of revenge—Alan realizes he can play his parents off each other to get better presents.

8 p.m.

“Family Guy: How the Griffin Stole Christmas,” Fox

Peter (Seth MacFarlane) is asked to fill in for the mall Santa and gets drunk on the power. Meanwhile, Stewie (MacFarlane) and Brian (MacFarlane) crash holiday office parties for the free food, drama and women.

“The Sound of Christmas,” Hallmark M&M

When music teacher Lizzie (Lindy Booth) and single father Brad (Robin Dunne) meet at a Christmas tree lot their instant connection is obvious. At first, it seems as though fate is on their side when they discover that she is his daughter’s new piano teacher but then they find out that Brad’s company is buying the building where Lizzie’s music school is located. With only two weeks to go until the big Christmas concert scholarship fundraiser, Lizzie and Brad have to come up with a way to save the school all the while discovering that they are falling in love.

Monday, Dec. 12

7 p.m.

“Kevin Can Wait: I’ll be Home for Christmas … Maybe,” CBS

Kevin gets into the Christmas spirit when he volunteers to help Mott and his seven kids prepare for the holidays, leaving Donna high and dry until Kyle swoops in to help her.

“The Wizard of Oz,” TNT (annual rebroadcast; repeats at 7:15 p.m., then 4:45 p.m. Dec. 14)

Tuesday, Dec. 13

7 p.m.

“The Middle,” ABC

As Christmas approaches, Sue is forced to keep a huge secret from the family; after agreeing to watch the neighbor’s three kids, Brick finds himself trying to hide from them, as they had such a good time that they keep wanting to come over and play; and Mike doesn’t know how to react when Bill Norwood (guest star Pat Finn) gives him a Christmas gift—something neither one has ever done before for one another.

“Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Captain Latvia,” Fox

Charles enlists Jake’s help in tracking down his son’s favorite toy for Christmas, and the pair finds themselves accidentally facing off against a Latvian criminal ring as a result. Back at the precinct, the team gears up for their annual Christmas carol competition against their sworn enemy: the MTA.

7:30 p.m.

“American Housewife: Krampus Katie,” ABC

Katie’s holiday spirit, never great to begin with, is soured even further when Viv (Leslie Bibb) corners her into helping out with the school Christmas pageant. Greg, determined to teach Taylor and Oliver the true meaning of Christmas, takes them to a local nursing home to cheer up the residents, but things don’t quite turn out the way he planned. Hal Linden guest stars as Mr. Montez.

“New Girl: Christmas Eve Eve,” Fox

Jess struggles to keep the loft’s Secret Santa afloat, while helping Reagan (guest star Megan Fox) plan a Christmas surprise for Nick (Jake Johnson). When Winston (Lamorne Morris) believes his gift for Cece won’t be delivered in time, Winston and Schmidt go on a mission to track it down.

8 p.m.

“Fresh Off the Boat: Where are the Giggles?” ABC

While the Huangs are out at the movies, Evan is accidentally left home alone, and Jessica vows to make it up to him. Meanwhile, Marvin (Ray Wise) takes a spill and is visited by Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future.

8:30 p.m.

“The Real O’Neals: The Real Christmas,” ABC

Eileen will stop at nothing to win the Christmas Choir competition and gives the coveted Christmas Choir solo to their newest member Brett (Sean Grandillo), to Kenny’s dismay, while Jimmy is tasked with spying on their toughest competitor, Sheila Demars (Angela Kinsey). But, when Kenny attempts to sabotage Brett’s role, he finds a potential love interest. Meanwhile, Shannon accidentally gives Pat the wrong impression about a Christmas present she plans on giving to Ethan.

9 p.m.

“From Jesus to Christ: The First Christians,” PBS (rebroadcast; 9 p.m. Tuesdays)

“Frontline” presents the epic story of the rise of Christianity. Drawing upon sometimes controversial historical evidence, the series transports viewers back 2,000 years to the time and place where Jesus of Nazareth once lived and preached and challenges familiar assumptions and conventional notions about the origins of Christianity.

Wednesday, Dec. 14

7 p.m.

“The Goldbergs: Han Ukkah Solo,” ABC

After finding out there is only going to be one Hanukkah song in the holiday pageant, Beverly convinces Erica to create the perfect song to bring some excitement to the holiday. Erica sees her shot to break into the music business, while Barry does his best to prove he too can be a hit maker with music. Meanwhile, Adam’s childlike wonder with movies and entertainment is called into question when things he loved as a child aren’t as good as he remembers.

“Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” TNT  (annual rebroadcast; repeats 7:30 p.m.)

7:30 p.m.

“Speechless: C-h-o-choir,” ABC

It’s Christmas time at the DiMeos, and Maya surprises everyone by embracing a newfound holiday spirit. But her view is put to the test when the family van is stolen along with all their holiday gifts. Worrying he won’t get into college, Ray joins the choir and gets a coveted solo. But when a very attractive new teacher is hired, JJ decides to join his brother and takes Ray’s solo. But when everything looks bleak, the family is surprised with their own holiday miracle. Julianne Hough guest stars as Miss Bloom. (Repeats 9 p.m. Dec. 25.)

8:30 p.m.

“Black-Ish: Just Christmas, Baby,” ABC

Zoey is college-bound, so Dre sets out to create the best family Christmas ever, even having Johan (Daveed Diggs) and his best friend Gigi (Tyra Banks) over for the celebration. Meanwhile, Bow babysits Gigi’s newborn and remembers just how difficult mothering a baby is. (Repeats 9:30 p.m. Dec. 25.)

Thursday, Dec. 15

7 p.m.

“Disney Prep & Landing,” ABC (annual rebroadcast)

7:30 p.m.

“Prep & Landing 2: Naughty vs. Nice,” ABC (annual rebroadcast)

Friday, Dec. 16

7:30 p.m.

“Dr. Ken: A Park Family Christmas,” ABC

Allison wants to show her fun side to her Welltopia co-workers and throws an office Christmas party. But Ken would rather he and Allison just unwind and not think about work. Meanwhile, D.K. dresses up as Santa and Dave dons elf garb at the library’s annual Christmas party for children.

9 p.m.

“Lidia Celebrates America: Holiday for Heroes,” PBS

Join host Lidia Bastianich for an unforgettable holiday special celebrating veterans, who discuss the importance of family during holidays, the challenges and sacrifices of their work and the pride they take in having defended our country.

Saturday, Dec. 17

7 p.m.

“I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown!” ABC (annual rebroadcast)

“My Christmas Love,” Hallmark

A hopeless romantic who can’t ever seem to give a guy a real chance begins receiving each of the “12 Days of Christmas” as gifts anonymously at her door. As she tries to figure out who is sending the gifts, she begins to believe that the mystery suitor could finally live up to her expectations. Meredith Hagner, Bobby Campo, Megan Park, Aaron O’Connell and Gregory Harrison star.

Sunday, Dec. 18

6 p.m.

“The Sound of Music,” ABC (annual rebroadcast)

7 p.m.

“Sleigh Bells Ring,” Hallmark

Recently divorced, Pauline struggles to get into the holiday spirit while heading up her hometown Christmas parade. With the help of a Christmas sleigh and a handsome woodworker, Pauline is destined to turn her luck around, rekindle her holiday spirit and even find time for love. Erin Cahill and David Alpay star.

8 p.m.

“A Christmas to Remember,” Hallmark M&M

When a harsh TV personality, Jennifer (Mira Sorvino), needs a break from her own life, she hops in a car and drives to a small town mountain retreat. On her way there, a blizzard veers her off the road and she crashes. When she comes to, she has complete amnesia and a friendly passerby (Cameron Mathison) takes her in. As time passes, she still doesn’t remember who she is and the friendly passerby, a widower himself with three kids, assimilates her into his family.  But as she slowly starts remembering who she is, she prefers the new life she’s built in this small town.

Monday, Dec. 19

7 p.m.

“A Christmas Carol, starring Patrick Stewart,” TNT (annual rebroadcast; repeats at 9 p.m.)

Tuesday, Dec. 20

7 p.m.

“Terry Crews Saves Christmas,” CW

Christmas super-fan Terry Crews visits a hopeless holiday enthusiast and puts them through a hilarious crash-course in how to do Christmas right.

9 p.m.

“Adam Ruins Christmas,” truTV

Adam will unveil what the true meaning of Christmas means to him … while also teaching the history of our most beloved Christmas traditions . Guest starring Rhea Butcher, the episode delves into the creepy, real story behind St. Nick and uncovers why gift-giving actually may be bad for the economy.

Wednesday, Dec. 21

9 p.m.

“Surprise! Instant Xmas Carol,” TBS

Celebrity carolers from across the entertainment spectrum hit the road in search of people who look like they could use a little extra holiday cheer. They then surprise their listeners with their own unique renditions of a classic Christmas carol—some good, some bad and some … well, you know. (Repeats 6 p.m. Dec. 4 on TBS, TNT)

Thursday, Dec. 22

8 p.m.

“A Chef’s Life Holiday Special,” PBS (rebroadcast)

Join Vivian Howard for a taste of the holidays as she serves up the best of her Southern heritage and the Chanukah traditions of husband Ben. Sample simple corned ham, upscale oyster dressing, humble Hoppin’ John, elegant red velvet cake and more.

Friday, Dec. 23

7 p.m.

“A Home For The Holidays,” CBS

The special tells touching stories about adoption from foster care to raise awareness for this important social issue. Inspirational stories of families are enhanced with performances by some of today’s most popular artists.

9 p.m.

“Treehouse Masters: Appalachian Christmas Treehouse,” Animal Planet

Host Pete Nelson and his crew elves venture deep into the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina to build a treehouse for one of their own! Prior to the premiere, Animal Planet will be airing 3 previous holiday specials as a block, titled “Treehouse Masters: Branched Out: Holiday Hideouts.”

Saturday, Dec. 24

10 a.m.

“Very Merry Movie Marathon,” WGN America

Movie marathon featuring “Rio,” “Beverly Hills Chihuahua” and “Head of State.”

7 p.m.

“24 Hours of ‘A Christmas Story,’ ” TBS, TNT

The 20th annual marathon of holiday classic “A Christmas Story.” The film follows the mischievous adventures of young Ralphie, who longs for a special Christmas gift—a Red Ryder BB gun.

Sunday, Dec. 25

8 a.m.

“The Disney Parks’ Magical Christmas Celebration,” ABC

Hosts Julianne and Derek Hough take viewers on a magical ride down Main Street and beyond. The Christmas Day celebration will be bigger and brighter than ever before, bringing together the beloved Christmas day parade, magical musical performances, surprise celebrity guests and heart-warming family stories to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year.

“AFV Ha Ha Holidays,” WGN America (8-hour marathon of “America’s Funniest Home Videos”)

3 p.m.

“MVP: Sports Stars and Their Most Valuable Pets,” CBS

Viewers will get to know the canine companions that brighten the lives of sports’ biggest stars, including NASCAR driver Kyle Busch, NFL All-Pro and Pittsburgh Steeler quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, two-time Olympic gold medalist Shaun White, golfer Michelle Wie, Golden State Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson and New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker.

6:30 p.m.

“Call the Midwife Holiday Special,” PBS

As Poplar celebrates a white Christmas, Nonnatus House receives an SOS call from a tiny mission hospital in the Eastern Cape that is understaffed, underfunded and threatened with closure. Transported to South Africa and facing some of their toughest challenges, the Nonnatus family digs deep to save Hope Clinic and make a difference in the lives of the people who use it.

7 p.m.

“When Calls The Heart Christmas,” Hallmark

A peddler comes to Hope Valley selling the townspeople his wears and teaching them valuable lessons about joy and giving. When the townspeople realize that the recently displaced settlers in the area will not have a proper Christmas, they come together to create a special holiday celebration that will infuse everyone with the true spirit of Christmas. Erin Krakow, Daniel Lissing, Jack Wagner and Lori Loughlin star.

8 p.m.

“Doctor Who: The Return of Doctor Mysterio,” BBC America

In the 2016 Christmas Special, the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) teams up with an investigative journalist (Charity Wakefield) and a superhero (Justin Chatwin) to save New York from a deadly alien threat. Matt Lucas, Adetomiwa Edun, Aleksandar Jovanovic and Logan Hoffman also star.

Monday, Dec. 26

7 p.m.

“Happy New Year, Charlie Brown,” ABC (annual rebroadcast)

8 p.m.

“Rudolph’s Shiny New Year,” ABC (annual rebroadcast)

9:30 p.m.

“Vicious: Holiday Special” (rebroadcast)

Freddie (Ian McKellen) and Stuart (Derek Jacobi) host a holiday soiree in their small central London flat. Ash (Iwan Rheon), their young upstairs neighbor, has volunteered to cook the meal, their feisty best friend Violet (Frances de la Tour) is up to her old tricks, and a wicked game of Truth or Dare brings up hidden truths—and surprises as well.

Tuesday, Dec. 27

8 p.m.

“The 39th Annual Kennedy Center Honors,” CBS

Argentine pianist Martha Argerich, rock band the Eagles, screen and stage actor Al Pacino, gospel and blues singer Mavis Staples and musician James Taylor will receive honors. Seated with President and Mrs. Obama, the honorees will accept the thanks of their peers and fans through performances and heartfelt tributes. The host will be announced at a later date.

“Family Time: Merry Kwanzaa,” Bounce TV

In a cheerful holiday spirit, Lisa (Angell Conwell) decides to celebrate Kwanzaa with her family and Donnie (Clayton Thomas). As the holiday approaches, chaos erupts after Lisa, Lori (Paula Jai Parker) and Rachel (Tanjareen Thomas) join a caroling group with Vivian (Erica Shaffer).

Friday, Dec. 30

9 a.m.

“New Year’s Evie,” Disney

Sofia Carson will host the all-day programming event on Disney Channel to ring in 2017. The programming event will begin with a “Descendants: Wicked World” marathon followed by an encore airing of “Descendants.”

Saturday, Dec. 31

7 p.m.

“Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2017,” ABC

A stellar line-up of the year’s top musical artists perform during the biggest live-music celebration of the year. The bi-coastal celebration will include hours of special performances and reports on New Year’s celebrations from around the globe. Ryan Seacrest will host the traditional countdown to midnight from Times Square in New York City and continues as an executive producer. (Airs 7-10 p.m., then 10:30 p.m.-1:13 a.m.)

“Live From Lincoln Center: New York Philharmonic New Year’s Eve,” PBS

Ring in the new year with a night of American classics, including beloved works by Rodgers & Hammerstein, featuring Joyce DiDonato with the New York Philharmonic, live from David Geffen Hall, the orchestra’s home at Lincoln Center.

10 p.m.

“Pitbull’s New Year’s Revolution,” Fox

Armando Christian Perez, aka Pitbull, will ring in the New Year LIVE from the sandy beaches of America’s hottest city—Miami—alongside hosts Queen Latifah and Snoop Dogg. Pitbull will perform and be joined by some of his favorite A-list musicians, DJs and celebrity friends for this unforgettable live event.

“Austin City Limits: ACL Hall of Fame New Year’s Eve,” PBS

Celebrate New Year’s Eve as Bonnie Raitt, B.B. King and Kris Kristofferson are inducted into the Hall of Fame. Performers include Willie Nelson, Rodney Crowell, ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons and more. Hosted by Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally.

Sunday, Jan. 1

“Cops” marathon, WGN America

7 p.m.

“A Rose For Christmas,” Hallmark

A passionate artist (Rachel Boston) and demanding businessman (Marc Bendavid) clash as they are forced to work together to create a Rose Parade float for his company. But working side-by-side over Christmas, they each learn the other is not who they seem. And together they might just have what it takes to create a magnificent Rose Parade float.