Wednesday TV: Switching on the Lights

Christmas-at-Rockefeller-Center-3They could just flick a switch and be done with it, but lighting the 72-foot-tall Norway spruce during the 86th Annual Christmas in Rockefeller Center (NBC, 8 p.m.) comes with a number of performances from Diana Ross, Tony Bennett with Diana Krall, Brett Eldridge, Darci Lynne Farmer, Martina McBride, Pentatonix, Ella Mai, Rob Thomas, the Radio City Rockets and the New York City Ballet, dancing George Balanchine’s “The Nutcracker.”

Also appearing at Rockefeller Center will the star of the new holiday variety special that follows, John Legend. He joins his wife Chrissy Teigen for “A Legendary Christmas with John and Chrissy” (NBC, 10 p.m.). They will be joined by Stevie Wonder, Esperanza Spalding, Darren Criss, Jane Lynch, Raphael Saadiq and Meghan Trainor, with appearances from Awkwafina, Neal Brennan, Zach Galifianakis, Derek Hough, Kris Jenner, Retta, Ben Schwartz, Kenan Thompson and Kim Kardashian.

Though that special will have sketches as well as music, more laughs are guaranteed in the latest “Conan Without Borders” (TBS, 10 p.m.) with Conan O’Brien on a trip to Japan.

Letters from home make for a usually emotional episode of “Survivor” (CBS, 8 p.m.).

Cookie recalls early struggles on “Empire” (Fox, 8 p.m.).

“Nature” (PBS, 8 p.m., check local listings) follows a pair of newborn polar bear cubs.

Betty hopes to find out the true Gargoyle King, a figure not found in early Archie comics, on “Riverdale” (CW, 8 p.m.).

None of the kids want the living room heirlooms on “The Goldbergs” (ABC, 8 p.m.).

Haley considers her future on “Modern Family” (ABC, 9 p.m.).

Teresa and Joe fight on “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” (Bravo, 9 p.m.).

“Total Divas” (E!, 9 p.m.) has its eighth season finale.

Tori tells the story of his father Bjorn on “Vikings” (History, 8 p.m.). It’s the first of two new episodes; Ivar is crowned new king at 9.

Trace Adkins pops in on “Real Country” (USA, 10 p.m.).

The new series “Kentucky Ayahuasca” (Viceland, 10 p.m.) follows the practice of a rural healer using a plant-based hallucinogen.

Katie recruits a new room mom on “American Housewife” (ABC, 8:30 p.m.).

On “All American” (CW, 9 p.m.), a group goes to Malibu to scout their next rival.

Maggie has to face past trauma on “A Million Little Things” (ABC, 10 p.m.).

“Cities of the Underworld” (Travel, 8 p.m.) looks at new technologies in Tokyo.

On “Star” (Fox, 9 p.m.), Carlotta returns to the label.

Parma Lakshmi joins “Busy Tonight” (E!, 10 p.m.).

Jane Russell is star on Turner Classic Movies tonight with “The Outlaw” (8 p.m.), “His Kind of Woman” (10:15 p.m.), “Young Widow” (12:30 a.m.), “The Las Vegas Story” (2:30 a.m.) and “The Fuzzy Pink Nightgown” (4:15 a.m.).

The birthday of actress Gloria Grahame is marked earlier in the day, with “Song of the Thin Man” (6 a.m.), “It Happened in Brooklyn” (7:45 a.m.), “Blonde Fever” (9:45 a.m.), “Roughshod” (11 a.m.), “The Cobweb” (12:45 p.m.), “A Woman’s Secret” (3 p.m.), “The Bad and the Beautiful” (4:30 p.m.) and “Crossfire” (6:30 p.m.). Missing: Her sassy role as Violet in “It’s a Wonderful Life” (Amazon Prime, streaming).

Basketball includes New York at Philadelphia (NBA, 7 p.m.) and Orlando at Portland (NBA, 9:30 p.m.).

Hockey has St. Louis at Detroit (NBC Sports, 7 p.m.) and Pittsburgh at Colorado (NBC Sports, 9:30 p.m.).

Men’s college basketball includes Miami, Ohio at Xavier (Fox Sports 1, 6:30 p.m.), Richmond at Georgetown (CBS Sports, 7 p.m.), Syracuse at Ohio State (ESPN2, 7:15 p.m.), Rutgers at Miami (ESPNU, 7:15 p.m.), Virginia at Maryland (ESPN, 7:30 p.m.), Cleveland State at DePaul (Fox Sports 2, 8 p.m.), Montana at Creighton (Fox Sports 1, 8:30 p.m.), Purdue at Florida State (ESPN2, 9:15 p.m.), Georgia Tech at Northwestern (ESPNU, 9:15 p.m.) and North Carolina at Michigan (ESPN, 9:30 p.m.).

Daytime Talk

Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest: Eric McCormack, Joan Allen. The View: Antoni Porowski, Tan France, Jonathan Van Ness, Bobby Berk, Karamo Brown. The Talk: Francisco Careers, Paris Hilton. Ellen DeGeneres: John Krasinski, Meek Mill. Wendy Williams: Donna Brazile. The Real: Ronreaco Lee.

Late Talk

Stephen Colbert: Eric McCormack, David Alan Grier, Sara Bareilles. Jimmy Kimmel: Kurt Russell, Tessa Thompson, Jake Owen (rerun). Jimmy Fallon: Ice-T, Mariska Hargitay, Macaulay Cullin, J.I.D with BJ the Chicago Kid & Thundercats. Seth Meyers: Sarah Silverman, Jason Mantzoukas, Broods (rerun). James Corden: Michael Pena, Andy Serkis, Lauv + Julia Michaels. Carson Daly: Finn Jones, Flora Cash, Madison Iseman (rerun). Trevor Noah: Al Gore.

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