Parades in cities from the East Coast to Hawaii will fill the airwaves on Turkey Day, but the granddaddy of them all is the Macy's parade, and NBC-TV will broadcast it live from 9 a.m. to noon Nov. 28. The "Today Show" team Katie Couric, Matt Lauer and Al Roker will host the special broadcast, with celebrity appearances by a universe of stars from shows NBC wants to plug: Jill Hennessy, Dennis Farina and the casts of "American Dreams" and "Good Morning, Miami" are slated to show up.
And speaking of parades, later that afternoon, from 2 to 4 p.m., NBC will broadcast that evergreen holiday favorite, "Miracle on 34th Street," which centers on whether the Santa in Macy's parade is real. The Oscar-winning 1947 classic stars Maureen O'Hara as the world-weary woman in charge of the parade and Natalie Wood as the dubious young Susan Walker, but the real standout is Edmund Gwenn, who really is Kris Kringle.
The holidays are really for children, and the first-ever made-for-TV Muppet movie, "It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie," will be telecast on NBC Nov. 29 at 8 p.m. Whoopi Goldberg, Joan Cusack and David Arquette will join Kermit, Miss Piggy and the other Muppets in a homage to a slew of other Christmas movies.
Lest you begin to suffer from an overdose of good cheer, TBS has an original movie, "Christmas Rush," airing Dec. 1 at 8 p.m. Dean Cain plays a suspended policeman who disrupts a robbery attempt at an upscale mall in the middle of the holiday season.
But the respite is brief. It's back to the heartwarming genre an hour later when CBS broadcasts "The Christmas Shoes" Dec. 1 at 9 p.m. Rob Lowe stars as a high-priced lawyer who crosses paths with a winsome kid as they both search for the perfect gift.
Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without music, and PBS will broadcast a new special, "An Irish Holiday," Dec, 9 at 10:30 p.m. On location at Ireland's Slane Castle, Roma Downey and Frank McCourt host a festival of stories and songs, including "Danny Boy" and "Adeste Fideles."
Music takes the spotlight again Dec. 16 at 9 p.m. when WCVE-TV broadcasts "A Richmond Boys Choir Holiday Special." The program will feature musical performances and interviews with the boys and the adults who work with them.
WCVE keeps us all in the mood with one of the three best Christmas movies ever made, "Christmas in Connecticut," Dec. 20 at 10 p.m., and again Dec. 22 at 4 p.m. (For the record, the other two are "Miracle on 34th Street" and "The Bishop's Wife.") Barbara Stanwyck stars in the 1945 comedy as Elizabeth Lane, the country's foremost food writer, who in reality can't boil an egg. When she's forced to invite a serviceman to her mythical house in Connecticut for the holidays, her deception proves to be her undoing.
Over on the Fox network, Christmas night will bring an encore broadcast of the animated version of "Anastasia" at 8 p.m. However, Fox has not yet announced other holiday programming for this year.
On Dec. 30, you can celebrate Kwanzaa on PBS at 9 p.m. with "Harambee!" It's the story of how a random episode of violence inspires one family to dedicate their first Kwanzaa to changing the conditions that produce violence.
Then, depending on your particular bent, you can bring the holiday season to a close on New Year's Eve in either a highbrow or lowbrow fashion. If the former suits your taste, celebrate with the New York Philharmonic at 8 p.m. on PBS. "New Year's Eve All-Gershwin Concert" will feature selections from "Porgy and Bess," "An American in Paris" and a horde of other Gershwin favorites.
If your brow is a bit lower, Dick Clark will present his "Rockin' Eve 2003" live from Times Square from 10 to 11 p.m. on ABC. Following local news, the program will pick up again at 11:35 p.m. for the countdown.
Then, on Jan. 1, you can sleep in. At least until the bowl games begin. S