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Your Guide to What's on TV This Thanksgiving Thursday

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Football, Servant, Merry Happy Whatever, and more
  • NBC's coverage of The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade kicks off at 9am. (Photo: NBC)
    NBC's coverage of The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade kicks off at 9am. (Photo: NBC)

    Between the parade, football, classic TV marathons and a long history of primetime family-centric programming, television is as much a part of the Thanksgiving tradition as the meal itself. This year's new offerings include Dennis Quaid's sitcom debut and a dark new series from M. Night Shyamalan. Here's what's new and noteworthy on TV this Thanksgiving Thursday:

    LIVE COVERAGE:  It wouldn't be Thanksgiving without the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.  At press time, there was a chance that high winds might ground the parade's balloons for the first time in almost 50 years, but nevermind that — balloons or not, the Thanksgiving Day Parade is the holiday tonic we all desperately need. Hosted by Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, and Al Roker. 9:00 AM ET and PT on NBC

    NFL FOOTBALL: For the 14th consecutive year, the NFL has scheduled three football games for Thanksgiving Day, and you can bet the Lions and the Cowboys are once again a part of it.:

    • The Detroit Lions kick off the day hosting division rival the Chicago Bears at 12:30 PM ET / 9:30 AM on Fox
    • As has become tradition, The Dallas Cowboys take the late afternoon spot, playing the Buffallo Bills at 4:30 PM ET / 1:30 PM PT on CBS
    • Earning the coveted primetime spot, the New Orleans Saints take on the Atlantic Falcons at 8:20 PM ET / 5:20 PM PT on NBC

    SERIES PREMIERE:  From executive producer M. Night Shyamalan, Servant may be the most bizarre original series on Apple TV+'s slate. The story follows parents Dorothy and Sean Turner (Six Feet Under's Lauren Ambrose and Black Mirror's Toby Kebbell) who, following their infant son's death, pretend he is still alive by replacing him with a doll. Harry Potter's Rupert Grint and Games of Thrones' Nell Tiger Free co-star. Read our review. Streaming on Apple TV+

    SERIES PREMIERE: Dennis Quaid brings his enduring appeal to an unlikely starring vehicle: a holiday-themed TV sitcom. In Netflix's Merry Happy Whatever, Quaid plays an iracible widowed cop and family man celebrating the holidays while making life especially uncomfortable for his daughter's new boyfriend. Watch the preview. Streaming on Netflix

    HOLIDAY EVENT: Another Thanksgiving tradition, NBC is once again airing highlights from this year's National Dog Show. Dog expert David Frei and actor/TV personality John O’Hurley host as over two thousand dogs from 190 American Kennel Club-recognized breeds compete in the best of seven classes, with the winners facing off for the coveted title Best in Show. Noon on NBC

    HOLIDAY SPECIAL: Matthew Morrison, Emma Bunton, and Jesse Palmer host The Wonderful World of Disney: Magical Holiday Celebration, featuring special performances from Cinderella Castle at Disney World and Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland. . 8:00 PM ET on ABC

    NEW EPISODE: The family that until recently didn't even know they existed gathers for the holiday in a new episode of Almost Family that finds Julie (Brittany Snow) acting as host to her quickly expanding circle of siblings. 9:00 PM ET on Fox

    HOLIDAY CLASSIC: If all today's togetherness has you wishing your family would disappear, Freeform's Thanksgiving night airing of Home Alone may be just the ticket. 8:00 PM ET on Freeform


    • Holiday Rush follows a newly unemployed radio DJ and widower as he and his children learn the meaning of Christmas during a lean holiday season. Watch the preview. Streaming on Netflix
    • Christmas at the Plaza follows Jessica (Elizabeth Henstridge) and Nick (Ryan Paevey) as they design the iconic hotel's holiday displays, only to find they may have designs on… each other. 8:00 PM ET on Hallmark

    Mike Attebery is Senior Editor at Primetimer and the author of seven mystery thrillers. Follow him on Twitter at @mikeattebery.

    TOPICS: Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, NBC, Thanksgiving