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“George & Tammy”: love, pain and intermittent triumph

It’s one of the great country-music stories, filled with love, pain, sex, addiction and triumph.
But it also seems to spiral downward. “That’s not the way it’s gotta be,” George Jones says near the end of the “George & Tammy” mini-series (shown here). “There’s a happy ending.”
Well … not really, but this six-part film does find pieces of one.
“George & Tammy” opens at 9 p.m. Sunday (Dec. 4) on Showtime and the Paramount Network (right after “Yellowstone”). Its other five episodes arrive Sundays on Showtime and Paramount+. Read more…

Here’s an all-inclusive (almost) list of Christmas TV

When the Thanksgiving Day parade (shown here) begins, one thing will be clear: TV’s Christmas season has begun.
Yes, some cable channels have slipped in some new movies early. They’re like that.
But the rush begins on Nov. 24-27. During those four days, the Christmas line-up includes at least 20 new cable or streaming movies … three new music specials … one new cartoon special, plus eight classics (including “Grinch” and “Frosty”) … and a few classic big-screen movies, including “Wizard of Oz” (twice), “Polar Express” (twice) and all-day marathons of “Elf” and “Christmas Vacation.”
And all of that is before the Freeform channel starts its annual “25 Days of Christmas” rush. Read more…

Quick change: Award show will be Saturday (Nov. 26)

There’s a new awards show coming – quickly. And some Christmas cartoons will be delayed to make room.
In an unusually speedy move, CBS announced that it will air “Byron Allen Presents TheGrio Awards,” from 8-10 p.m. Saturday (Nov. 26) on the network and on Paramount+. The shows that had been scheduled then — “Robie the Reindeer” and “The Story of Santa Claus” – will move back a week, to Dec. 3.
Allen, 61, is a former comedian and actor who has become one of the major Black owners in the TV world. His company owns The Weather Channel plus regional sports channels, digital channels, TV stations and shows.
Now he’s created awards that will go to Black icons (including Dave Chappelle, shown here) and to Norman Lear, the 100-year-old producer known for “All in the Family,” “The Jeffersons: and more. “Grio” is based on a word for an African storyteller. Read more…

New Christmas movies: Here are the best (and worst)

Sure, all those cable Christmas movies look the same.
They have the same sunny faces, same glittery settings, same songs (public-domain, no problem getting rights) in the background.
But once you get past that, they vary widely. There are some good ones (really); that includes “Must Love Christmas,” shown here. There are also some awful ones (obviously) and a lot in-between.
We sampled a dozen of them, many from around Thanksgiving weekend, when key ones arrive. The dates listed here are when they first air, but don’t worry: Christmas movies, like old Christmas sweaters, never really go away: Read more…

Christmas commotion? It depends on where you live

If you think Christmas is a big deal in your neighborhood … well, compare that to Puerto Rico.
“Food is abundant,” Rita Moreno said. So is commotion.
“You go from house to house and make a lot of noise,” she said in a video press conference. “Everyone has homemade instruments. And if it’s 1 o’clock in the morning, it doesn’t matter. You open the door.”
Now Moreno – who moved to New York when she was 5 — co-stars in a film filled with the tamer traditions of the mainland. “Santa Bootcamp” (shown here), at 8 p.m. Saturday and 10:03 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 19-20, on Lifetime. It has her running a school for Santas and such Read more…

CBS give Wednesdays a mid-season shake-up

After putting “The Real Love Boat” in drydock, CBS has a mid-season plan for Wednesdays.
The night will no longer be all-reality. This winter, it will juggle reality (“Tough as Nails,” then “Survivor”), game shows (“Lingo” and “The Price is Right at Night”) and an action series (shown here) – a fresh twist on the James Cameron film, “True Lies.” Read more…

Let’s have a timely new “Father of the Bride”

The movie “Father of the Bride” has already been made twice – first with Spencer Tracy and then (shown here) with Steve Martin. So let’s try it again:
The setting this time is Florida and the time is … well, this Saturday, Nov. 12. The bride’s name is Tiffany, after the place where rich people buy glitter to impress each other. And the wedding will be at her father’s resort.
By custom, a wedding is all about the bride. This time, however, that’s problematic. For this father of the bride, it’s always all about him.
At a reception, the father’s speech or toast should be five minutes or less, filled with kind words. But that’s not his style; he likes to talk for two hours or more, mostly about himself and about people he’s mad at. Read more…

CBS plans a Carey Christmas

CBS has re-discovered Christmas – and has Mariah Carey (shown here) to prove it.
The network announced today (Nov. 10) that it will have a two-hour Carey concert, at 8 p.m. Dec. 20. She’ll sing in Madison Square Garden, including her perennial hit, “All I Want For Christmas is You.”
The show will also spread across the rest of the Paramount universe – on Paramount+ and rerunning at times (not yet announced) on MTV. Read more…

Jordan brought an impish charm to TV

(Finding Leslie Jordan’s final TV work on Fox has been a bit tricky. His “Call Me Kat” episode, on Nov. 3, was bumped by the World Series; so was his visit to “The Masked Singer” on Nov. 2. The latter was rescheduled for 8 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 6 … but will be bumped again, if the Series goes to seven games. Meanwhile, here’s the story I wrote after Jordan died in a car accident.)  
When Leslie Jordan first got there, Hollywood knew what a star should look like.
That was 40 years ago, when TV was dominated by Tom Selleck and Selleck types. A star would be 6-foot-4, handsome, a lades man, with a Midwestern-type voice.
And Jordan (shown here), who died Monday (Oct. 24) at 67, was the exact opposite. He was 4-foot-11, gay, with an impish charm and a pronounced Tennessee accent. “I realized that my job was the funny guy that comes in with the zingers,” he told the Television Critics Association in 2018. Read more…