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Watch Me: Christmas Edition

Ah, Christmastime -- a time for hopes and dreams and childhood wishes. And Orange Level terror alerts. And mad cow outbreaks. And the prospect of uninterrupted airings of Whoopi.

Huh. Maybe it's better to spend this holiday season sacked out in front of the TV watching more uplifting fare.


Disney-owned ABC gives the holiday gift that keeps on giving -- corporate synergy, in the form of The Walt Disney World Christmas Day Parade (Check local listings). Aw, really, ABC -- you shouldn't have. (The parade also airs on The Disney Channel at 8 p.m.) That's followed later in the day with an NBA Doubleheader (3 p.m. PT) featuring the Sacramento Kings playing the Dallas Mavericks and the Los Angeles Lakers taking on the Houston Rockets.

Just when your kids are about to flatline from their all-day gift binge, you can park themselves in front of the TV for back-to-back airings of The Rugrats Movie and Rugrats in Paris (CBS, check local listings) and enjoy a moment's peace while they stare unblinkingly at the talking box.

Nothing says "festive holiday" like apple-cheeked pixies in sequined uniforms skating around to Christmas music in Holiday Celebration on Ice (NBC, check local listings). "Festive holiday" or "unspeakable hell" -- either one, really.

How do you say "overwrought caterwauling" in French? Find out on World Idol (Fox, 8 p.m.), which pits Kelly Clarkson against Idol winners from around the world in an international celebration of tepid pop music.

WWE SmackDown! (8 p.m., UPN) heads to Iraq for a special performance in front of the troops, as Iraqis get their first sweet taste of Western culture.


You want to see The Christmas Story? Then, stray no farther than TNT, which began showing Peter Billingsley's greatest movie at 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve and will continue showing it until 6 p.m. Christmas Day. That marathon is followed by Jack Frost ( 6 p.m.) -- a movie that will make you hate Christmas, Michael Keaton, and perhaps even life itself.

Ebeneezer Scrooge was haunted by three ghosts; you will be haunted by three Adam Sandler movies -- Billy Madison, The Waterboy and Happy Gilmore (USA, 6 p.m., 8 p.m., 10 p.m.). Scrooge got off easy.

The Cartoon Network serves up a pair of ill-advised animated sequels -- The Land Before Time III: The Time of the Great Giving (4 p.m.) and An American Tail: Fievel Goes West (7 p.m.). Wedged in between is We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story (5:30 p.m.), which is not a sequel, but is certainly ill-advised.

SpikeTV offers six Bond movies -- Live and Let Die (9 a.m.), The Man With the Golden Gun (12 p.m.) , The Spy Who Loved Me (3 p.m.), The World Is Not Enough (6 p.m.), The Living Daylights (9 p.m.) and For Your Eyes Only (midnight). Then again, SpikeTV is always showing Bond movies, so I hardly see what the big deal is.

It's really hard to say which is the most off-putting made-for-TV Christmas movie that Lifetime is showing in lieu of dead air. Is it The Christmas Gift (12:30 p.m.) featuring John Denver and a pre-Malcolm in the Middle Jane Kaczmarek? Or Unlikely Angel (2:30 p.m.), starring Dolly Parton as a dead country singer who gets into heaven by uniting a troubled family during the holidays? Or maybe it's Jason Alexander as The Man Who Saved Christmas (4:30 p.m.). I'm going to have to go with D -- all of the above.

A&E wishes you a very Columbo Christmas, with two movies featuring the rumpled detective (8 p.m. - midnight).

Do you find it odd that Oxygen, a channel ostensibly for women, has a marathon of Alfred Hitchcock movies, a man who made his bones with films about women being menaced or menacing others? No matter. Please enjoy Vertigo ( 9 a.m.), Rope (12 p.m.), The Man Who Knew Too Much (2 p.m.) and Rear Window (8 p.m.) in lieu of Oxygen's normal Xena reruns.

Turner Classic Movie's religion-themed movie marathon began Christmas Eve, but continues today with The Greatest Story Ever Told (6:30 a.m. PT), Ben Hur (10 a.m. PT) and King of Kings (2 p.m. PT). When Robert Montgomery appears as a prematurely dead boxer in Here Comes Mr. Jordan (5 p.m.), you'll know you've slipped into TCM's movies-about-angels marathon (which includes A Guy Named Joe, The Horn Blows at Midnight and Cabin in the Sky).

The Western movies on AMC kick off at 5:20 a.m. with Jesse James and wrap up around 2:35 a.m. on Boxing Day with Rooster Cogburn. In between, the highlights include High Noon (11:25 a.m.), Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1:10 p.m.) and The Searchers (8 p.m.).

In case you missed all those Christmas specials ABC Family has been showing throughout December, the cable channel shows them again: All I Want for Christmas (12 p.m.), The Christmas List (2 p.m.), Borrowed Hearts (4 p.m.), Three Days (6 p.m.) and Picking Up and Dropping Off (8 p.m.). Those movies are bookended by two animated specials -- Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town (10 p.m.) and The Year Without a Santa Claus (11 a.m.), which of course features the greatest Christmas song ever. A-one and a-two... I'm Mr. Green Christmas/I'm Mr. Sun/I'm Mr. Heat Bli....

(Thanks to the use of a carefully placed cattle prod, we've managed to sedate Mr. Michaels. We promise you he will not spontaneously break out into the Heat Miser song for the remainder of this article.--Ed.)


It's nothing but Saturday Night Live reruns on Comedy Central (11 a.m. - 8 p.m). I assume these are Christmas episodes, but all TiVo tells me is "An ensemble performs sketch comedy." Which is sort of like describing "The Three Musketeers" as "A trio of swordsmen have adventures." You will get two Christmas episodes of South Park (9 p.m.) later that evening, however.

Having driven Trading Spaces (1 p.m. - 3 p.m.) into the ground, TLC now turns its attention to overexposing While You Were Out with a 10-hour marathon beginning at 4 p.m.

I missed the memo where VH-1 now only programs countdown shows, such as 100 Moments That Rocked TV, (2 p.m. - 6 p.m.) and 100 Greatest Songs of the Last 25 Years (9 p.m. - 1 a.m.)

Spend Christmas with Ally Hilfiger and Jaime Gleicher on MTV's four-and-a-half-hour Rich Girls marathon (begins at 8 p.m.) and suddenly Christmas dinner with Uncle Herb, Aunt Rita and the cousin with the drooling problem doesn't seem so dreary.

E! highlights the 101 Biggest Celebrity Ooops! (3 p.m. - 7 p.m.), which presumably highlights celebrity bloopers and other miscues as opposed to people who mistakenly became celebrities due to the cruel whims of the public. If it's the latter, however, my vote is for that big-haired kid from the first installment of American Idol. Him or Tony Danza.

If you've ever dreamed of spending Christmas with Tyler Florence, The Food Network indulges your odd fantasy with six hours of Tyler's Ultimate (2 p.m. - 8 p.m).

I'm not sure five hours of watching neglected and abused animals get rescued will stir up warm holiday feelings, but there's an Animal Cops marathon (Animal Planet, 5 p.m. - 10 p.m.) available for your viewing pleasure, regardless.

ESPN2 taunts the NFL with back-to-back episodes of the much-hated-by-Paul-Taglibue Playmakers (7 p.m. PT).

Bible stories, Bible stories, and more Bible stories still on The Discovery Channel, starting at 10 a.m. and wrapping up in the evening with a tribute to the birthday boy Himself, Jesus: The Complete Story (8 p.m.).

If a 14-hour marathon of Headliners & Legends (MSNBC, starting at 3 p.m.) is what gets your motor running, then you really watch too much television.


At last, a chance to savor the genius of Gene Rayburn -- Match Game Merry Blank-a-Thon (Game Show Network, 5 p.m. PT) is a four-hour collection of Christmas-themed Match Game episodes.

It's the most bittersweet Christmas present of all on ESPNClassic, which re-airs Game Seven of the 2003 American League Championship Series (7 p.m. PT). On the one hand, it's another victory for the hated Yankees. On the other, it's a painful defeat for the Boston Red Sox, thus giving me my vengeance over the obnoxious Red Sox fan who taunted me at the A's-Red Sox playoff this year. I think, in this case, I shall choose vengeance.

Spend Christmas with the Governor, as Bravo shows the original Terminator (8 p.m.).

Kneel before Zod! Sci-Fi caps off a day of not-at-all-related movies with Superman II (11 p.m.).

Celebrate the holidays by reliving the corporate scandal that forced you to give your kids tin cans and pogs for Christmas on The Big Lie: Inside the Rise and Fraud of WorldCom (CNBC, 11 a.m. PT).

If you are the least bit excited about the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl (ESPN, 5 p.m. PT), you are either an alumnus of the universities of Hawaii or Houston or you are a degenerate gambler. I'm not trying to judge here.


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