TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: Christmas music,
8p.m., NBC and TNT.
NBC reruns Michael Buble's special,
with Blake Shelton, Carly Rae Jepsen, Rod Stewart and Elmo. TNT
counters with “Christmas in Washington,” a classy, annual event.
This year's concert is strong on
reality-show people – “American Idol” winner Scotty McReery,
“Voice” finalist Chris Mann and “X Factor” judge Demi
Lovato. Conan O'Brien hosts and also has Megan Hilty of “Smash”
and Diana Ross; Psy closes the show with, of course, “Gangnam
TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE: “Back to the
Beginning, with Christiane Amanpour,” 9-11 p.m., ABC.
Amanpour often finds herself covering
wars that, she wrote, have “something to do with religion.”
Her own life is the opposite of that
anger, with a Christian mother, Shi'ite Muslim father and Jewish
husband. “The blood of three great peoples runs through the veins
of my son,” she wrote.
So Amanpour spent a year in the Holy
Land and the Heartland, studying the stories and the impact of
Abraham, Moses, David and Jesus.
TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: End-of-the-world
This is the final day (Dec.21, 2012) of
the Mayan calendar, causing some people to assume the world is
ending. Naturally, cable steps in.
CNBC has “Apocalypse 2012” at 8
p.m. National Geographic has “Evacuate Earth” at 8 and “The
Mayan Apocalypse 2012” from 9-11; it repeats these from 11 p.m. to
2 a.m. …when, we assume, Mayans somewhere can start hurriedly
making a new calendar.
But the biggest splash is “2012:
(2009), at 8 and 11:30p.m. on FX. John Cusack tries to keep his
family safe as the planet crumbles from volcanoes, earthquakes,
tsunamis and more.
Other choices include:
– Football, 7:30 p.m., ESPN. Bowl
season gains speed, even if the games have non-prestigious names.
This is the Beef 'O' Brady Bowl in St. Petersburg, Fla., Central
Florida (9-4) and Ball State (9-3).
– “The Happy Elf,” 8 p.m., CW. An
ordinary story is propelled by terrific music, with Harry Connick Jr.
as narrator, singer and music director. It's followed at 9 by
“Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer.”
– “Last Man Standing,” 8 p.m.,
ABC. In a rerun, Boyd's kindergarten has banned volleyball. Mike (Tim
Allen) starts a sort of underground, after-school league.
– “Malibu Country,” 8:30 p.m.,
ABC. In a rerun of a pilot film, a country music star has been
cheating. His wife (Reba McEntire) moves the kids and her mother
(Lily Tomlin) to his former love nest in Malibu, setting up culture
clashes. It's all too broad, but does have some good moments.
– “Christmas With the Mormon
Tabernacle Choir,” 9 p.m., PBS. A musical night has baritone Nathan
Gunn as guest. That's followed at 10 by Laura Bell Bundy
hosting“Christmas at Belmont.”
– “A White House Christmas” (NBC)
or “White House Christmas 2012” (HGTV), 9 p.m. Similar specials
occupy the same hour. NBC's is an instant rerun from Thursday,
interviewing five First Ladies.
– “CSI: NY,” 9 p.m., CBS. In a
rerun, the investigation of a home invasion becomes more complicated
when police learn what a troubled family this is.
– “Blue Bloods,” 10 p.m., CBS.
This rerun finds Danny (Donnie Wahlberg) obsessing on finding the
killer of an undercover cop who was a family friend.