- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Holiday hits and misses

Ah, Thanksgiving Day, a time for food, family and — if you’re lucky enough to escape daylong kitchen duty — hours of leisurely, uninterrupted viewing in front of the TV.

For those in the latter category, here are a few of today’s holiday highlights (and at least one low light):

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, 9 a.m. on NBC: Three-fourths of the “Today” show anchor team — Katie Couric, Matt Lauer and Al Roker — pull overtime duty to host the 79th annual holiday spectacle after a slightly abbreviated version (7 to 9 a.m.) of their top-rated three-hour morning news show. The parade (continuing until noon) will showcase 27 floats, 14 supersize hellium balloons and star power galore: Oscar winner Adrien Brody (star of the new “King Kong”), Harry Connick Jr., LeAnn Rimes, “American Idol” Carrie Underwood, the Beach Boys, Aaron Neville, Brian McKnight, Tony-winning actress Kristin Chenoweth, Rita Coolidge, Michael Feinstein and performances by the casts of Broadway’s “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” “Jersey Boys,” “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” and “Sweet Charity.”

The Wiz, 10 a.m. on TV One: Logic — and, at the very least, Universal/Motown studio execs — should have told Diana Ross that at 34 she was just too old to play the teenage Dorothy Gale in this 1978 film adaptation of the Tony-winning musical. Yet vanity prevailed, resulting in a nonsensical version of the L. Frank Baum classic with Dorothy reinvented as a thirtysomething schoolmarm who follows the Scarecrow (Michael Jackson before his plastic-surgery obsession), the Tinman (the late Nipsey Russell) and the Lion (the late Ted Ross) down the yellow brick road to see the Wiz (Richard Pryor). On the bright side, director Sidney Lumet cast his former mother-in-law, the ageless Lena Horne, as Glinda the good witch, and the amazing Quincy Jones did the Oscar-nominated orchestration.

The Godfather, The Godfather II, 10 a.m. on WBDC: We all have our view of family values, and the District’s WB affiliate, apparently, has its — it’s opting to air the 1972 Oscar-winning mob drama “The Godfather” and its 1974 sequel (following at 1:30 p.m.) on a day when most are gathered with their nearest and dearest. Because this is, after all, broadcast TV, most of the violence likely will be edited out. That didn’t stop the station from sending the press a cheesy reminder of the film’s most memorable and gory scene: an aluminum bookmarker shaped like a horse’s head. We kid you not.

National Dog Show Presented by Purina, noon on NBC: The owners of the nation’s most talented and pampered pooches are letting the dogs out for this annual Thanksgiving Day competition, hosted by “Dancing With the Star’s” John O’Hurley. Woof-woof.

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, 8 p.m. on ABC: Chaos ensues in this 1973 animated feature when Charlie Brown invites the Peanuts gang for a Thanksgiving feast prepared by (who else?) Snoopy.

Finding Nemo, 8:30 p.m. on ABC: There was a time when word of a broadcast premiere of a highly popular film automatically drew viewers to the TV set. Yet two years after its release and an estimated worldwide gross of $1.73 billion plus DVD profits, you would be hard-pressed to find anyone under 10 in this country who hasn’t seen the charming animated fish tale. Maybe they’ll watch it again.

Daddy Day Care, 8 p.m. on Fox: Like ABC, Fox is going the broadcast-premiere route with 2003’s “Daddy Day Care,” a box-office hit with Eddie Murphy and Jeff Garlin as two out-of-work executives who open their own fairly unconventional child care facility.

Compiled by Robyn- Denise Yourse

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