Either the market is ripe for a whole lot of new animated holiday specials, they are somehow easier to produce, or both.
For whatever reasons, the Chistmas season, which begins in earnest today, is filled with new animated specials, including two on CBS.
“The Elf on a Shelf: An Elf’s Story” (CBS, 8:30 p.m. p.m.), is an adaptation of the self-published children’s book that became a bestseller, “The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Traditition.” It comes to the screen, with big scenes of choreographed elves at work, helping kids believe in Christmas, and trying to determine who is naughty and nice.
“Hoops & Yoyo Ruin Christmas” (CBS, 8 p.m.) concerns the antics of the two characters with fast, chirpy high-pitched voices from the Hallmark card series, pictured here.
The Hallmark Channel has its own new holiday special, “Jingle All the Way” (Hallmark, 8 p.m.), a story about a boy finding a dog. That it happens during the Yule season is almost incidental. The Husky pup enjoys bell ringing, hence his name; he’s first encountered while shopping for Christmas trees, and the holiday is the backdrop for the rest of the action (though Santa comes into help at the end).
The special seems to be more non-commercial than some of the other specials, but this one promotes the “Jingle Interactive Storybook and Story Buddy” – a stuffed animal that barks at key moments during the show. Like a laugh track.
More big animation tonight” How about the 2007 hit “Shrek the Third” (ABC, 8 p.m.), oddly playing opposite last year’s “Shrek Forever After” (HBO, 7:40 p.m.).
If you liked two competing Charlie Brown specials Thursday, here’s two full length “Peanuts” features back to back: “A Boy Named Charlie Brown” (ABC Family, 7 p.m.) and “Snoopy, Come Home” (ABC Family, 9 p.m.).
A couple of old animated holiday specials couldn’t be more different: The generally bad “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” (The CW, 8 p.m.) and the hip “Olive, the Other Reindeer” (The CW, 9 p.m.), with voice contributions from Drew Barrymore and Michael Stipe, among others.
Other feature films on network TV tonight include “Iron Man” (Fox, 8 p.m.) and “National Treasure: Book of Secrets” (NBC, 8 p.m.).
I’ve noticed thought that whenever the remade “Parent Trap” (Oxygen, 8 and 10 p.m.) is on, kids will watch nothing else. It’s like comfort food. But so are “Forrest Gump” (TNT, 8 p.m.) and, in its odd way, “Jurassic Park” (AMC, 8 p.m.).
The world premiere of an opera made out of the award-winning film “Il Postino” plays on “Great Performances” (PBS, 9 p.m., check local listings). Placido Domingo stars in the new production from Daniel Catan at the LA Opera
The latest spinoff from one of his hit movies, “Why Did I Get Married?” is “Tyler Perry’s For Better or Worse” (TBS, 10 p.m.) following one couple from the film, played by Micharl Jai White and Tasha Smith.
If you had “A Very Gaga Thanksgiving” yesterday, today you can top it off with last year’s “Lady Gaga Presents the Monster Ball Tour: Madison Square Garden” (HBO, 10 p.m.).
Three movies based on novels by Sir Walter Scott play on Turner Classic Movies: “Ivanhoe” (8 p.m.), “Quentin Durward” (10 p.m.) and “King Richard and the Crusaders” (midnight).
College football today includes Louisville at South Florida (ESPN2, 11 a.m.), Iowa at Nebraska (ABC, noon), Arkansas at LSU (CBS, 2:30 p.m.), Boston College at Miami (3:30 p.m.), Pittsburgh at West Virginia (ESPN, 7 p.m.) and California at Arizona State (ESPN, 10:15 p.m.).
Kelly Ripa: Nathan Fillion, Josh Capon, Jerry O’Connell. The View: Laurence Fishburne, Harley Pasternak, David Tutera, Dr. Shari Brasner, Dr. Jorge Rodriguez, Dr. Tiffanie Davis Henry. Ellen DeGeneres: Felicity Huffman, Cirque du Soleil: Iris. Wendy Williams: Deborah Tilman. Rosie O’Donnell: Chynna Phillips, Billy Baldwin, Little Big Town (rerun).
David Letterman: Mark Harmon, Mike Judge, Matt Lauer, Eli Young Band (rerun). Jay Leno: Jimmy Fallon, Drew Brees, Gym Class Heroes featuring Estelle (rerun). Jimmy Kimmel: Ellen Degeneres, Gabourey Sidibe, Chris Isaak (rerun). Jimmy Fallon: Eddie Murphy, Drew Carey, Childish Gambino (rerun). Craig Ferguson: Danny DeVito, Olivia Munn (rerun). Tavis Smiley: Michael Lewis, Stockard Channing (rerun). Carson Daly: Joe Berlinger & Bruce Sinofsky, Action Bronson, the Airborne Toxic Event (rerun). Chelsea Handler: Mary J. Blige, Bobby Lee, April Richardson, Chris Fanjola.