Not even a lethal global pandemic can stop one of the most beloved American holiday traditions on television, but expect some changes in this year’s broadcast of this perennial holiday favorite. Rest assured, members of the “Today” team are back as hosts, but the event itself will be a TV-only affair, not a live public event with cheering throngs and multiple marching bands. Still on offer: colorful balloons (pulled by trucks, not human handlers), colorful costumes, floats and, of course, Santa Claus.
The annual Thanksgiving tradition of turkey, parades and football reaches a crescendo this afternoon with more than 10 hours of NFL action, starting here with the Detroit Lions hosting the Houston Texans. Then on Fox, it’s a clash of NFC East rivals when the Washington Football Team pays a visit to the Dallas Cowboys. Finally, in prime time on NBC is the marquee matchup of the day, a battle for supremacy in the AFC North with the Pittsburgh Steelers defending home turf from the Baltimore Ravens.
Shown in theaters as a featurette accompanying “Coco,” this animated tale continues the saga of characters from the hit 2013 Disney-Pixar movie “Frozen.” Josh Gad again voices snowman Olaf, who tries to ensure that the Christmas being celebrated by Anna and Elsa (voices of fellow returnees Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel) is one that they’ll never forget. Jonathan Groff (“Hamilton”) also returns to the voice cast as the score boasts four original songs.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic scuttled plans for a new edition of a special that has become an ABC Thanksgiving tradition to kick off the main holiday season, but there’s still plenty of magic on the menu in this festive look back at highlights from past years of performances from the Walt Disney Parks in California and Florida. Matthew Morrison, Emma Bunton, Jesse Palmer, Sting, Shaggy, Pentatonix, Andy Grammer, Ingrid Michaelson and Lindsey Stirling are among the featured stars.