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So...This is Christmas?

During this time of year, it’s interesting to see what the TV networks think constitutes “holiday programming.”

Two nights before Christmas, ABC ran the heart-warming, Oscar-winning classic The Sound of Music, while at the same time NBC scheduled a two-hour episode of Dateline NBC: To Catch a Predator about busting would-be child molesters.  NBC’s seemed like an odd choice, as the only holiday-related connection I could think of is that NBC usually has a plate of fresh baked cookies awaiting the predator, in order to keep him from leaving the “trap” before being surprised by reporter Chris Hansen.

On Christmas Eve, CBS apparently thought murder on Cold Case was the perfect lead-in to its Christmas-themed 9 o’clock movie—perhaps to illustrate that you can’t appreciate the good in life if you don’t experience enough of the bad.

NBC seemed to put out an effort for its Christmas primetime, dressing the Deal or No Deal models in holiday attire and having Santa Claus as part of the 1 vs. 100 mob.  But ABC must have figured that Johnny Depp’s goateed buccaneer was better than a fake bearded Santa, thereby airing the blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl.

The night after Christmas, with the exception of ABC’s Rudolph’s Shiny New Year, the holidays seemed almost forgotten.  NBC scheduled Tom Brokaw Reports, in which the former anchorman explores the consequences of illegal immigration. Simultaneously on Fox, TV listings show an episode of House had a 7-year-old boy plunge from his bedroom window “after telling his parents that aliens were after him.”  They were of the outer space variety.

So, for a couch potato or someone just wanting a break from shopping and the relatives, it’s just as easy to find some holiday fare on TV as it is to escape it.

By Jim Benson