Broadcasters offer up a veritable cornucopia of Thanksgiving programming

Coverage of the 91st Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade airs Thursday, Nov. 23, on NBC and CBS.

Thanksgiving programming: A horn o’ plenty

Thanksgiving is the Rodney Dangerfield of holidays: It just doesn’t get any respect.

Consider: On a last Thursday (or thereabouts) in November when we’re supposed to be sitting down with loved ones and giving thanks for all we have – including the great feast before us – we’re instead barraged with messages telling us that Christmas is just around the corner and we’d better leave the table soon to catch all the great sales and beat the Black Friday crowds. That is, if we’re not still working on our Halloween candy.

Yep, Thanksgiving isn’t feeling the love these days, but fortunately there are a few programs on broadcast and basic cable this week to remind us what we already know – that when it comes to sheer magnificence, Thanksgiving takes a back seat to no other holiday.

And that’s evident in spades the morning of Thursday, Nov. 23, when NBC broadcasts the 91st Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade from New York City. “Today” regulars Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie and Al Roker will have the call as giant balloons, marching bands, celebrities and, of course, Santa Claus make their way down 6th Ave. to Herald Square to mark the beginning of the holiday season. At the same time over on the Eye Network, there is “The Thanksgiving Day Parade on CBS,” which also covers the New York procession from its perch near Times Square.

“The National Dog Show” airs Thursday, Nov. 23, on NBC.

Immediately following on NBC is “The National Dog Show,” the Kennel Club of Philadelphia’s annual event in which more than 2,000 canines in 170 breeds vie for the titles of First in Group and ultimately Best in Show, all before the watchful eyes of host John O’Hurley and analyst David Frei.

Thanksgiving surely isn’t complete without football, and this Turkey Day is no exception, offering up a tripleheader of gridiron action that starts at midday (ET) on Fox with the Detroit Lions hosting the Minnesota Vikings. Immediately following on CBS, the Los Angeles Chargers visit the Dallas Cowboys, while in prime on NBC, it’s the New York Giants invading the home turf of the Washington Redskins.

Movie lovers will have their pick of classic films and holiday-oriented fare. In the case of the former, SundanceTV on Thursday will offer up a marathon of “Gone With the Wind” while AMC is running all three “Godfather” movies all day long, in addition to the “Titanic” marathon on Wednesday. And on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, there are titles such as “The Thanksgiving House” (Sunday, Nov. 19) starring Emily Rose, “Love at the Thanksgiving Day Parade” (Wednesday) with Autumn Reeser, and “A Family Thanksgiving” (Thursday) starring Daphne Zuniga.

Those who prefer humor for the holiday would do well to check out NBC’s “Saturday Night Live Thanksgiving Special” the night before, which no doubt will feature holiday-oriented skits with the likes of Kate McKinnon, Beck Bennett, Cecily Strong, Kenan Thompson and others. And on Thanksgiving Day, there is a “Three Stooges” marathon on IFC.

On the subject of Thursday marathons, there are 27 hours of “Star Trek: Voyager” on BBC America, 15 hours of “Running Wild With Bear Grylls” on National Geographic, 13 1/2 hours of “Impractical Jokers” on truTV, and seven hours of “Food Paradise” on Travel Channel – in case you haven’t had enough of food for the day.

And on CBS, look for Thanksgiving episodes of “9JKL” and “Me, Myself & I” (Monday, Nov. 20), and “Bull” (Tuesday, Nov. 21).

George Dickie

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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