This Week on TV
A SELECTION OF SHOWS, SPECIALS AND MOVIES. BY SHIVANI GONZALEZ
BIG BROTHER REINDEER GAMES 8 p.m. on CBS. I can’t think of another time where a reality show dedicated a season to creating a holiday vibe. On this spinoff of the longrunning “Big Brother” competition show, nine previous contestants will return to play six episodes of holiday-themed games, and the winner will walk away with a $100,000 stocking stuffer. It doesn’t get much more holly and jolly than that.
BARRY MANILOW’S A VERY BARRY CHRISTMAS 10 p.m. on NBC. Manilow will be joined by a 24-piece band to perform his greatest hits and a couple of holiday songs at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino, where Manilow regularly performs. Santa may make an appearance — as long as he can pull himself away from the roulette table at the Bellagio.
VANDERPUMP RULES: A DECADE OF RUMORS
AND LIES 10:15 p.m. on Bravo. It is hard to believe that these restaurant employees have been providing endless drama and entertainment for an entire decade. Ahead of the premiere of the 11th season in January, Lisa Vanderpump (the reason we are all here) narrates this special, which reflects on some of the previous seasons’ best moments.
CMT PRESENTS: A CODY JOHNSON CHRISTMAS 9 p.m. on CMT. Christmas is headed to Texas this week: Cody Johnson is joined by his family on this special to discuss holiday memories and traditions. He will also perform classic holiday songs with a country flair.
THE CLIP SHOW: HOLIDAY EDITION 8 p.m. on NBC. Nothing can bond a family quite like laughing at people being humiliated on TV. Matt Iseman and Akbar Gbajabiamila host this show, which is a bit like “American’s Funniest Home Videos” but all the mishaps are related to ice- and snow-related accidents or awkward presents being given and received.
NATIONAL CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING 8 p.m. on CBS. In December 1923 President Calvin Coolidge held a celebration outside the White House with a decorated Christmas tree and a performance by the U.S. Marine Band. The tradition carries on 100 years later with performances from Darren Criss, Dionne Warwick and St. Vincent, among others.
ELF (2003) 7 p.m. on AMC. Be warned: You should have waffles, maple syrup and marshmallows on hand while watching this movie because it has been known to induce that craving (or, if you don’t have a sweet tooth, it might just turn you off those things). Will Ferrell stars as Buddy, the human who always thought he was an elf. He ventures to New York City to find his real father, but on the way he encounters tough reality checks and somehow charms a sweet and blond Zooey Deschanel.
DIE HARD (1988) 9 p.m. on MTV. It is that time of the year for the annual fight with your weird uncle about whether “Die Hard” is a Christmas movie. In the film, John McClane (Bruce Willis) goes to a holiday party to reconnect with his estranged wife (Bonnie Bedelia). During the party, terrorists take over the building and hold everyone hostage — and John has to spring into action. The movie does take place on Christmas Eve, and there wouldn’t have been a plot if there weren’t an office holiday party, so my vote is that it is a Christmas movie. (But I also watch “Love Actually” and “The Holiday” all year long, so I don’t know if my opinion should be trusted.)
WILLIE NELSON’S 90TH BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION 8 p.m. on CBS. Recorded at the Hollywood Bowl in April, this celebration of Willie Nelson’s 90th birthday will finally be broadcast to let those of us who couldn’t make it to the live show join in. The event is hosted by Jennifer Garner, Chelsea Handler, Woody Harrelson, Ethan Hawke, Helen Mirren and Owen Wilson. Nelson performs along with Sheryl Crow, Snoop Dogg, Norah Jones and the Chicks.
FELLOW TRAVELERS 9 p.m. on Showtime. This is the new fall show that I’m surprised everyone isn’t talking about. The story is, at its core, a love story involving Hawkins Fuller (Matt Bomer) and Tim Laughlin (Jonathan Bailey). But on the side, it is also a political thriller that dives into the policies and public narratives that were affecting gay communities throughout the second half of the 20th century. The story jumps back and forth in time, from the 1980s, when Tim is sick and is reconnecting with Hawkins, to a different past decade every episode, to explain the intricacies of their relationship.
Dates, details and times are subject to change.
New York Times