Here are some highlights of the holiday television season, starting with made-for-television movies:
"Holiday Affair" (tomorrow night on USA). Tom Irwin, David James Elliott and Cynthia Gibb star in this remake of the 1949 film about two men wooing the same widowed mom during the holiday season. Single moms are a major theme of made-for-TV holiday movies. It's about second chances and hope.
"Pennsylvania Avenue" (Sunday on the Family Channel). Three kids go to Washington seeking a presidential pardon for their wrongfully imprisoned dad (Robert Urich). Kids getting adults to do the right thing at Christmas is big in holiday films. It has to do with family and innocence.
"Unlikely Angel" (Dec. 17, CBS). Stars Dolly Parton as a former country singer, now an angel who returns to earth to earn her wings. Country singers are also big in holiday films. It has to do with music, roots and demographics.
"The Munsters Scary Little Christmas" (Dec. 17 on Fox). The Munsters are not big at Christmas, but this is Fox after all.
"The Christmas Tree" (Dec. 22 on ABC). Sally Fields directed this film about an architect (Andrew McCarthy), a nun (Julie Harris) and a Christmas tree. Christmas trees are big in holiday films. It has to do with Christmas and trees.
"A Holiday to Remember" (Dec. 24 on CBS). Connie Sellecca and country star Randy Travis in a romantic comedy about a recently divorced mom who returns to her small hometown and rediscovers her first love. Small hometowns are big, too. It has to do with nostalgia and fondly remembered pasts.
Family and music specials
"Martha Stewart: Home for the Holidays" (tonight at 8 on CBS). In addition to Martha's nieces and Miss Piggy, guests include Dennis Franz and Michael Jordan. Only Martha Steawrt could make this work as a family special. The absolute highlight of the hour finds the self-absorbed Martha showing the self-centered Miss Piggy how to make snowflake cookies. "How absolutely obsessive!" Miss Piggy marvels.
"Marty's Christmas Party" (tonight at 8 on TNN). Country music star Marty Stuart is joined by friends such as Willie Nelson and what TNN calls "Marty's musical family." How absolutely outlaw!
"Christmas in Washington" (Dec. 18 on NBC). Music, the White House and the First Family.
"Carols From Atlanta: The 70th Annual Morehouse and Spelman Christmas Carol Concert" (Dec. 25 on PBS). The glee clubs of Morehouse and Spelman perform.
"Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas" (Saturday on TNT and Dec. 24 on TBS).
"Holiday Inn" (Dec. 16 on the Family Channel).
"A Charlie Brown Christmas" (Dec. 19 on CBS).
"It's a Wonderful Life" (Dec. 21 on NBC).
"A Christmas Carol" (Dec. 24 on AMC).
"Elmo Saves Christmas" (Thursday on PBS). Elmo, the red-hot Muppet, gets his wish that Christmas could be every day. But is Elmo happy? Noooooooo. Charles Durning plays Santa.
"An Edith Ann Christmas" (Saturday on ABC). Lily Tomlin voices the holiday angst of her 6-year-old animated friend.
"The Night Before Christmas" (Dec. 18, 19 and 24 on Showtime). Meryl Streep narrates the holiday poem with some help from the Edwin Hawkins Singers.
"Mickey's Christmas Carol" (Dec. 19 on CBS, Dec. 21, 24 and 25 on the Disney Channel). Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Scrooge McDuck and Goofy take a whack at "A Christmas Carol."
Pub Date: 12/10/96