My Christmas Programming Rant 2012

11 12 2012

Preface: I love Christmas. It’s my absolute FAVOURITE time of the year. I love the music so much that I listen to it non-stop starting Dec.1 and I sing along when I’m wandering through malls and shopping the aisles of grocery stores. I spend way too much money, but I don’t care. I deal with credit cards in the off-season. I go nuts decorating my house, and berate the people in my neighbourhood without adequate light displays. I send Elf Yourself ecards. I have special ‘once-a-year’ Christmas socks. I will buy any food product that is ‘Candy Cane flavoured’. I still have trouble falling to sleep on Christmas Eve, and I still wake up before dawn just to lay awake watching the ceiling until it is an acceptable hour to get the family up.

So to be perfectly clear… I love Christmas.


That being said. (Feel free to re-read the Preface before continuing…)

I am NOT a fan of how TV networks deal with Christmas. Let me explain. Somehow I envision the TV execs getting together to pitch Holiday programming, and that it might go a little something like this:

Exec 1 “Here is a list of all the (XYZ) network celebrities that signed their big TV contracts without reading the fine print.”

Exec. 2 “Here is a list of every potential scenario we’ve come up with for 6-episode Game Shows”

Exec 3 “Here are the celebrities with Christmas Albums dropping this year”

Exec 1 “Attach as many (XYZ) network celebrities to either host, or judge these shows. Add performances by any celebrity with a Christmas album.”

Exec 3 : What should we do about the rest of the list?

Exec 1: Give them their own Christmas special.


No, I did NOT watch ‘Take it All‘ last night. I also steered clear of Extreme Home Makeover: The Holiday edition… and I found myself finding reasons to leave the room when The Voice became a Holiday Sing-along and Promo for Blake Shelton Christmas album and Michael Buble’s Christmas Special.

There’s cheeseball Christmas, like faberge ornaments and Rudolf the Red Nosed reindeer in stop motion. Then there’s insulting Christmas, like weepy specials that exploit the poor, the sick or the families of military just to get a reaction. These shows are ratings gold mines because they pull everything else OFF the air to make room for them.

…and when was the last time you watched a Christmas Special without feeling a little uncomfortable about the level of cheeseball you were enduring? It’s not natural, and there is a reason why they can only get away with airing this stuff once a year.

The reason? People like me, and perhaps, people like you. We become the Christmas versions of ourselves this time of the year. The more patient, the more accepting, the more easily entertained by an off-key children’s choir on a paper mache float.


As much as I can get on my soapbox and demand reform, I can’t promise that I won’t get sucked in by a caroling competition featuring inner-city at-risk youth. I’m not a martyr. I simply wish that networks could find a way to ‘keep Christmas’ without assaulting us with overt Holiday filler… sponsored by your favourite soft drink.


The Joys of Christmas Programming

10 12 2012

Falalalalala -lala-lala

Tis the Season.

I watched a Home Alone Marathon last night… as a result, I set a marble trap at my door before I went to bed. Just in case. They’ll never outsmart the well-prepared.

The signs of Christmas are all around us – I’m not really referring to Christmas trees, lights or the occasional flurry, I’m much more interested with what the networks have come up with to keep us tuned in this Christmas. They bank on us forgetting how MUCH we hate Christmas specials hosted by marginal celebrities and their even more marginal friends (I’m talking about you Blake Shelton…). They KNOW that we’ll forget how excruciating it is to sit through a Holiday parade… unless it’s muted. Otherwise, you have to listen to the cheese-ball announcers pretend their degree in Journalism was worth it.  And they consider us to be naively entertained by any ‘new’ special, game show or filler episode on TV between Thanksgiving and New Years that has anything to do with Christmas, giving, or singing. They wouldn’t spend a dime on this rot if we didn’t fall for it… every year.

This year?

Extreme Home Makeover takes over the TV for 2 hours every Monday for a  SPECIAL Holiday edition. 2 hours. Remember when Extreme Home Makeover was an HGTV show, and the most compelling part of the show was the big reveal? Now its a show that spends 1:45 minutes forcing waterworks from even the coldest of hearts. Just when you thought a story couldn’t get anymore tragic… they throw in a terminal illness, or a war veteran. And just so we are clear on the semantics… a makeover is working with what you’ve got to make it better. Ty and crew do NOT ‘Makeover’ – they tear down and build mortgage busting mansions that would make King Louis XIV jealous. Just sayin’.

Today, I look at the TV line up for this evening (yes, i start planning my attack at 8am, don’t you dare judge.) and see a new show that I don’t recognize airing after the Voice on NBC. The show is called ‘Take it All‘ – it’s a limited -run gameshow, and it’s hosted by… wait for it, in fact, I could give you 3 guesses and you’d nail it in one… Howie Mandell.

Howie Mandell – who says the show is, and I quote, “The Price is Right meets Jerry Springer“. That sounds like afternoon programming at the retirement estates in Crocketbluff, Arkansas. Or what’s on a loop in the 7th ring of hell. Either or…

That’s not all ladies and gents… after an hour of this insult to intelligence, stay on NBC for the sophomore season of Michael Buble Christmas – featuring his famous pals, Carly Rae Jepson (Grammy nominated… don’t shoot the messenger), Rod Stewart (yep, still living) and Blake Shelton (who did he sell his soul to?).

Oh it’s on. It’s officially the Christmas season – when TV gets really really bad, and we don’t care.

What are YOU watching tonight?

A Brand NEW Monday…

14 12 2009

Yes…I said that rare little word that means so much to a TV-hobbyest…NEW! If you are like me in any way, you have been somewhat scrambling to find something to take your mind off another monday, and you are sick of turning to a rerun of CSI Miami, Entertainment shows or Holiday Specials (there’s a reason why they are only acceptable once a year…)

Tonight you are in luck!
Here’s What I’m watching tonight:

I introduced this one a few weeks back when NBC started running suspicious promos for a show that looked vaguely familar to their “choir” show from a few seasons ago. Not only does it sound like that show, and have the same basic premise…you will also see some of the same (“celebrity”) faces involved. Yes, everybodys favourite husband (straight-man to a blonde-dim-witted “singer”) Nick (I’m still here…) Lachey will be the (annoying Seacrest impersonator…) host. But if you are going through “performance reality-show” withdrawal and already have the first episode of American Idol PVR’d…this will be a good show to fill the holidays. The premise is acapella groups competing for a record deal (15 minutes…)

The judges are ALSO celebrity music heavy-hitters (…you can decide):  

1. Ben Folds (because this is isnt JUST a mainstream pop show…says NBC)
2. Shawn Stockman (if the name doesnt ring a bell…think Boys 2 Men, I kid you not)
3. Nicole Sherzinger (the one with the unfortune name, but the ONLY Pussy Cat Doll with any face time)

This is a week long affair by the way, so once you get involved…you will need to clear your week to follow it. Beginning with a 2-hour premiere tonight, continuing tomorrow night and wednesday night, with the LIVE finale on Dec 21st. So get your holiday spirit on, wrap yourself in a snuggie, ignore the self-important schmultz…and enjoy this( let’s face it…entertaining) Christmas Filler.

tonight, NBC 8pm

Jennifer Hudson Christmas-
Fresh off the heels of Carrie Underwoods (two-times longer) Christmas special…another talented (yet slightly less a fan of American Idol) idol alumni (but not associated…really) Jennifer Hudson takes an hour to talk family (she has one now…), holidays and singing (there will be lots of it). I anticipate that THIS Christmas special will have more to do with Christmas than Carrie’s, because Jennifer can’t hold a room like the perky blonde….and she relies on her power voice for her fame (grocery money). So this will have less laughs, but more “O Holy Night” and just as much big hair.
Tune in tonight for a free J-Hud Concert, ABC 8pm.

Leafs vs Sens-
I can tell you from experience…THIS is the nastiest rivalry in all of sport. Being a hard-core Leaf fan and living 4 years in Ottawa opened my eyes to unrepeatable acts of violence, insults, and inhumane displays of fan-dom. So tonight, I am safe in my own neck of the woods, where wearing my Blue and Whites is cheered instead of jeered (and spit on, and kicked and hazed…) and hopefully tonight I will be crying tears of winning joy, instead of just…crying.
The Leafs are coming off a BIG win against Ovechkin (and his team), and Ottawa has been one of the better (yet still underperforming)  Eastern teams all year. With very different records, a score to settle and pride on the line the hot-handed Phil “the vessel” Kessel, Poni, and Hagman will try to outmatch (booooo) Alfie, Fisher (Carrie’s boy…) and Mihalek (the Heatley replacement).

Tune in tonight, 7pm Sportsnet

So you have lots to keep you occupied tonight …finally a Monday with some chutzpa! Whatever you decide to watch, have a great TV Night.

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