For the second straight year, television has a bigger Easter role.
Some churches remain closed by COVID; others downsize their events. TV, however, booms ahead. It has old movies — “Ben-Hur” (shown here) and “Ten Commandments” and such — and new ones, including “Mahalia,” on Easter eve. It has music and mini-seres and more.
Here’s a round-up of events between Palm Sunday (March 28) and Easter Sunday (April 4). Not included here are the kids’ shows, with bunnies and eggs and such.
MOVIES WITH MUSIC
– “The Clark Sisters: The First Ladies of Gospel” (2020), 5:30 p.m. Saturday, April 3, Lifetime. This debuted last Easter eve, with a portrait of the famed gospel group.
– “Mahalia,” 8 p.m. Saturday, April 3, Lifetime, rerunning at 11:03 and then at 5:30 p.m. on Easter. Mahalia Jackson was a powerhouse singer, the first gospel star to win a Grammy. She also sang often at Martin Luther King’s rallies. In 1963, she was in Washington, D.C., shouting “tell them about the dream.” He set aside his prepared text and gave his famous speech.
– “Easter Parade” (1948), 8 p.m. ET Easter Sunday, Turner Classic Movies. Fred Astaire and Judy Garland sing Irving Berlin hits – including the title song, which was also in the 1942 “Holiday Inn.
— “Francesco” is a new film on Discovery+. It’s a documentary profiling Pope Francis.
– “The Passion of the Christ” (2004), is on UPtv four times – 7 and 11 p.m. ET on Sunday (March 28) and 9 and 11 p.m. Friday (April 2). It’s also on the Fox Nation streaming service.
– “Ben-Hur” (1959), 8 p.m. to midnight ET Friday (April 2), Turner Classic Movies. This epic won 11 Academy Awards, including best picture and best actor (Charlton Heston).
– “The Ten Commandments” (1956), 7-11:44 p.m. Saturday (April 3), ABC. It’s Heston again, this time as Moses in a film that’s become an Easter Week tradition for ABC. It won an Oscar for special effects – parting the Red Sea, no less – and was nominated for six more, including Best Picture.
– Several faith-based films are on UPtv, including the Easter Sunday debut (7 and 11:30 p.m. ET April 4) of “When We Last Spoke” (2019), with Melissa Gilbert, Corbin Bernsen and Cloris Leachman. Others (all times ET) include – On April 3, “Facing the Giants,” 2 p.m.; “Fireproof,” 4:30; “Courageous,” 7; “Fireproof,” 9:30; “Facing the Giants,” midnight. And on Easter Sunday – “Somebody’s Child,” 11 a.m.; “Mr. Church,” 1 p.m.; “Undercover Angel,” 3 p.m.; “Heaven is For Real,” 5 p.m.; “In-Lawfully Yours,” 9:30 p.m.
– And faith-based films are on Lifetime on Easter Sunday – “I Can Only Imagine,” 3 p.m.; “Mahalia,” 5:30; “Color of Love,” 8 and midnight; “Heaven is For Real,” 10:03 p.m. and 12:04 a.m.
– “The Chosen” is a crowd-funded project that hopes to have seven seasons, following the life of Jesus. The first season – filmed in Texas and released in 2019 – is on Fox Nation and on UPtv, with a second season in production. On Uptv (all times ET) this is 9 and 10 p.m. Sunday (March 28), then 10 p.m. March 29; 9 and 10 p.m. March 30 and 31; and 9 p.m. April 1. The entire mini-series then reruns from 1:30 to 9 p.m. Friday, April 2.
– “The Bible” is the History Channel’s 2013 epic, produced by Mark Burnett and Roma Downey; it was nominated for three Emmys, includingbest movie or mini-series. It reruns from 2 p.m. to midnight Saturday, April 3, with the Easter portions from 8 to midnight.
– “Our OWN Easter,” is 9 p.m. Tuesday (March 30) on the Oprah Winfrey Network, rerunning at 1 p.m. Easter Sunday (April 4). Deborah Joy Winans, who co-starred in OWN’s “Greenleaf,” hosts with her uncle, Gospel great BeBe Winans. Her aunt, CeCe Winans, performs, as do Kirk Franklin, Ledisi, Travis Greene, Osby Berry, Jonathan McReynolds and Anthony Hamilton and the Hamiltones.
– “Because He Lives” is 9 and 11 p.m. ET Thursday (April 1) on TBN, rerunning at 4 p.m. Easter Sunday (April 4). CeCe Winans also performs here. Others are Amy Grant, Ellie Holcomb, Jekanlyu Carr, Karen Peck & New River, Anthony Brown & Group TherAPy, Natalie Grant & Bernie Herms and Nicole C. and Zach Williams.
– “Stellar Music of Hope” is 10 a.m. ET Easter Sunday (April 4), UPtv. Jekalyn Carr and Tauren Wells host a concert with Yolanda Adams, Marvin Sapp, CeCe Winans, Donnie McClurkin, Karen Clark Sheard, Kierra Sheard, JJ Hairston, Evvie McKinney, Rich Tolpert, Jr. and Pastor Mike, Jr.
– “The Women of the Bible Speak,” 10 p.m. ET Sunday (March 28), Fox News Channel. Shannon Bream, whose book on the subject arrives March 30, hosts Kathie Lee Gifford, Alveda King, singer Sara Evans, actress Kristy Swanson and Missy Robertson of “Duck Dynasty.”
– Saturday (April 3): “The Jesus Strand: A Search for DNA,” noon to 2 p.m., History. Samples are taken from artifacts at holy sites, in an attempt to find Jesus’ descendants.
– Ongoing: A five-part series based on “The Women of the Bible Speak” (including the same guests) airs on Fox Nation. Also on the streaming service are two specials with Ainsley Earnhardt, two focusing on the late Billy Graham and a rerun of the four-part “Charleton Heston Presents The Bible.”