Type keyword(s) to search


Attaboy, Clarence! It's a Wonderful Life Rings in the Holiday on NBC

ALSO: A Christmas Story, Christmas Eve Mass, The Greatest Showman, Rudolph, Frosty, and more.
  • Henry Travers and James Stewart in It's a Wonderful Life. (NBC)
    Henry Travers and James Stewart in It's a Wonderful Life. (NBC)

    It wouldn't be Christmas Eve without NBC's annual airing of It's a Wonderful Life. Though the 1946 classic became infamous for round-the-clock holiday broadcasts after the film's copyright lapsed in 1974, the tale of George Bailey's Christmas Eve miracle has had an exclusive home on NBC since 1996, when ownership disputes were finally resolved and the film's TV airings shifted from a punchline to a special event.

    Also today: Pope Francis leads Christmas mass from St. Peter's Basilica, TNT and TBS run simultaneous Christmas Story marathons, and Freeform is airing all your favorite holiday specials. Here's what's new and noteworthy on TV this Thursday:

    HOLIDAY MOVIE: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Mitchel, and Henry Travers star in the Frank Capra classic It's a Wonderful Life, about a struggling family man who learns what the world would be like if he had never been born. 8:00 PM ET on NBC

    BROADCAST PREMIERE: Inspired by the life of P.T. Barnum, Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Zac Efron and Zendaya star in The Greatest Showman. The musical favorite puts a fanciful spin on the days before the traveling big top. Watch trailer. 8:00 PM ET on ABC

    CHRISTMAS MASS: With the logistics of midnight mass trickier than ever this year, NBC has a solution for worshippers choosing to stay home, airing Pope Francis lead Christmas Eve Mass from St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. 11:30 PM ET on NBC

    MOVIE MARATHON: All Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) wants for Christmas is a Red Ryder BB gun, but before he get a chance to shoot his eye out, he'll have to endure schoolyard bullies, terrifying encounters with Santa, a fragile "Italian" lamp, and a well-deserved run-in with a bar of soap. Simultaneous A Christmas Story marathons will run for 24 hours, every hour on the hour, starting at 8:00 PM ET on TBS and 9:00 PM ET on TNT

    ENCORE PRESENTATION: The original Yuletide pop extravaganza goes virtual this year as the iHeartRadio Jingle Ball 2020 presents at-home performances from Billie Eilish, Doja Cat, Dua Lipa, Harry Styles, Lewis Capaldi, Sam Smith, Shawn Mendes and The Weeknd. 8:00 PM ET on The CW

    HOLIDAY SPECIAL: It was 51 years ago that Frosty the Snowman first came to life in this holiday classic, all these years later he's still going strong. 8:15 PM ET on Freeform

    HOLIDAY MOVIE: After making his family "disappear," young Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) is Home Alone, forced to do battle with the Wet Bandits while holding down the homestead in this holiday favorite. 12:30 PM ET on Freeform

    HOLIDAY SPECIAL: First broadcast in 1964, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer follows the famous misfit and his friends as they search for their place in the world and wind up saving Christmas in the process. 8:50 PM ET on Freeform

    HOLIDAY SPECIAL: Fred Astaire narrates the classic 1970 Rankin/Bass stop motion holiday special Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town, in which Santa is young, buff, dating the future Mrs. Claus, and squaring off against Burgermeister Meisterburger. 9:55 PM ET on Freeform

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

    TOPICS: it's a Wonderful Life, NBC, Donna Reed, Francis Capra, Jimmy Stewart