Saturday TV: More Santa Conning

SantaConIn the crush of TV Christmas movies, Melissa Joan Hart enters the fray, directing and starring in “The Santa Con” (Lifetime, 8 p.m.), about a convict (Barry Watson from “Hart of Dixie”) who, when released from prison becomes a department store Santa Claus who promises too much from the chair. Cameos include Wendy Williams as a pastor in a short wig, Jaleel White is a very un-Urkel like prisoner, John Ratzenberger is warden. It’s the second Lifetime movie in as many weeks to be shot in Connecticut, which gives a double meaning to the title.

Like an unusual number of these TV movies, “Best Christmas Party Ever” (Hallmark, 8 p.m.) is in a corporate setting where a planner (Torrey DeVitto of “Pretty Little Liars”) has to put on the biggest event to keep her job. By law, romance must play a role at some point.

Elsewhere, “The Christmas Kiss II” (ION, 9 p.m.) is the sequel to “The Christmas Kiss” (ION, 8 p.m.), continuing the series about consequences under the mistletoe.

The live event from last week gets its first full repeat, “Peter Pan Live!” (NBC, 8 p.m.), all three hours of it.

The first Saturday without primetime college football makes way for things like the 2011 Bradley Cooper film “Limitless” (ABC, 8 p.m.) and the ugliness of UFC (Fox, 8 p.m.), always a bad idea on prime time broadcast TV.

CBS goes for holiday reruns of its ancient specials “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” (CBS, 8 p.m.), “Frosty the Snowman” (CBS, 9 p.m.) and “Frosty Returns” (CBS, 9:30 p.m.).

Holiday standbys are everywhere with “Christmas Vacation” (ABC Family, 8 p.m.), “Miracle on 34th Street” (AMC, 7 and 9:15 p.m.), “Finding Mrs. Claus” (Lifetime, 10 p.m.), “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” (ABC Family, 10 p.m.), “Nine Lives of Christmas” (Hallmark, 10 p.m.).

This week’s two hour finale of “Sons of Anarchy” (FX, 10 p.m.) also gets a replay.

In “The U Part 2″ (ESPN, 9 p.m.), on the documentary series “30 for 30,” continues the story of the University of Miami’s struggles to climb out of its scandals. It follows a more admirable moment in sports, the Heisman Trophy Presentation (ESPN, 8 p.m.).

Animated movies tonight include “Monsters University” (Encore, 8 p.m.), “Tangled” (Disney, 8:30 p.m.) and, somewhat animated, “Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked” (FXX, 8 and 10 p.m.).

Last year’s action films seem stressed tonight with “47 Ronin” (HBO, 8 p.m.) and “Riddick” (Cinemax, 8 p.m.).

A hidden standout is this year’s “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” (Showtime 2, 8 p.m.).

A former jet pilot who stabbed his wife is subject of a “48 Hours” (CBS, 10 p.m.) running opposite “20/20″ (ABC, 10 p.m.).

An army of the undead causes problems on “Atlantis” (BBC America, 9 p.m.).

“Santa Sent Me to the ER” (TLC, 9 p.m.) may be a lamer excuse than “Sex Sent Me to the ER” (TLC, 10 p.m.).

The mystery continues on “The Missing” (Starz, 9 p.m.).

Michael Keaton, Victoria Wood, Jamie Oliver, Ian McKellen and One Direction are on “The Graham Norton Show” (BBC America, 10 p.m.).

Frank goes to Libya on “Transporter: The Series” (TNT, 10 p.m.).

“My Fair Lady” (TCM, 8 p.m.) is featured as one of the “essentials” tonight, followed by “Ruggles of Red Gap” (TCM, 11 p.m.) and “Tea for Two” (12:45 a.m.).

Later, Stella Stevens stars in the 1978 horror film “The Manitou” (TCM, 2:30 a.m.) followed by “The Beast with Five Fingers” (TCM, 4:15 a.m.).

Loads of college hoops today including North Carolina at Kentucky (CBS, noon), Radford at Georgetown (Fox Sports 1, noon), Wichita State at Detroit (ESPNU, noon), St. Mary’s at Creighton (Fox Sports 1, 2 p.m.), Dayton at Arkansas (ESPN2, 2 p.m.), St. Bonaventure at Pittsburgh (ESPNU, 2 p.m.), Oklahoma at Tulsa (CBS Sports Network, 2:30 p.m.), Utah vs. Kansas (ESPN, 3:15 p.m.), Xavier at Missouri (ESPN2, 4 p.m.), Michigan at Arizona (ESPN, 5:15 p.m.), Oklahoma State at Memphis (ESPN2, 6 p.m.), Northern Iowa at Virginia Commonwealth (NBC Sports, 7 p.m.), Florida State at Notre Dame (ESPN2, 8 p.m.) and Gonzaga at UCLA (ESPN2, 10 p.m.).

The only college football games are Coastal Carolina at North Dakota State (ESPN, noon) and Army vs. Navy (CBS, 3 p.m.).

Hockey tonight includes Detroit at Toronto (NHL, 7 p.m.) and St. Louis at Colorado (NHL, 10 p.m.).

Rodrigo y Gabriela burn up the guitar strings on a replay of “Austin City Limits” (PBS, 9 p.m.).

Martin Freeman hosts a new “Saturday Night Live” (NBC, 11:30 p.m.) with musical guest Charli XCX.

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