Saturday, December 20, 2014

Late Night: Late Show With David Letterman

Letterman's Big Christmas Show is His Last One
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Each year for about three decades, including 20 years on CBS's Late Show, David Letterman has put on a big, flashy Christmas show with dozens of performers singing Christmas songs and just rocking out. Last night was no exception, except that it was Dave's last Christmas show (although, musical sidekick and annual guest Darlene Love say they'll put on a live show next Christmas). Check out a clip from last night's show.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Late Night: Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson

Craig Ferguson's Final Show Tonight is Sadder Than Colbert's Finale
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photo: CBS
Last night, after nine years hosting late night show The Colbert Report on Comedy Central, Stephen Colbert bid that show a fond farewell with an amazingly diverse group of singers (from Big Bird to newsman Charlie Rose) gathering as they might for "We Are the World" to say goodbye. It was great. And it marked an incredible transition for Colbert who'll take over David Letterman's Late Show on CBS in a few months.

But, tonight, when Craig Ferguson ends his run as Letterman's follow up on CBS's Late Late Show (12:35am) it'll be quite a bit sadder. We know we'll still have Stephen. But Craig, who's smart, witty and delivers a one-of-a-kind standup, has a less clear future.

Oh, sure, there's his game show Celebrity Name Game, which will likely return for a second season next fall. But a talked-about half-hour talk show in the evening - probably to air in 2015 on Tribune Media-owned stations - isn't a sure bet to move forward.

We'll miss you, Craig. Hope to see you sitting beside a gay robot in the near future.

Preview: A Home For The Holidays

Celebrating Christmas with Families Who've Adopted Kids Out of Foster Care
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Each year at Christmastime, CBS celebrates families who have adopted a few of the 400,000 kids in the foster care system, with musical performances and stories told by some of these families and the kids they adopted.



It's a moving and touching special, which CBS puts on in association with the late Wendy's founder Dave Thomas' Foundation for Adoption and the Children's Action Network.

A Home for the Holidays (9pm) this year includes performances by Jennifer Hudson, Train and Katharine McPhee.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Preview: Red Planet Rover

If NASA Finds Evidence of Life on Mars Discovery Channel Will Be There
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Space agency NASA appears to be on the brink of discovering the most concrete evidence yet that life once existed on Mars, with its Curiosity rover this week detecting organic material on the red planet. Discovery Channel cameras are with the rover as the network will highlight tonight on Red Planet Rover (10pm).

Preview: Conan To Go

Conan O'Brien's Best-Of Bits Hit Primetime TV
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The current late-night TV shake up that includes NBC icing Jay Leno as Tonight Show host, and replacement Jimmy Fallon improbably pumping up that No. 1 show's ratings, and CBS kicking David Letterman and Craig Ferguson to the curb was triggered almost five years ago by NBC's earthquakian debacle of replacing Jay Leno with Conan O'Brien. Then, worse, canning Conan.


(Clip from Conan.)


It wasn't pretty. But it did end up well, as it turns out, with a revitalized late-night TV scene and Conan in 2010 signing a deal with TBS, where way down the dial he and sidekick Andy Richter are churning out some of late night's funniest bits and celebrity interviews.

Tonight at 10pm on Conan To Go, Conan takes on primetime with some of his funniest late-night skits.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Preview: Michael Bublé's Christmas In New York

Crooner Michael Bublé Hangs Out with Babs and Miss Piggy This Christmas
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By now, Michael Bublé's Christmas specials have become a regular part of the countdown to Christmas, much like the non-stop lineup of holiday movies on cable networks like Hallmark Channel and the old and new stop-motion animated specials we've been watching for decades.



Which is a good thing because his specials are reliably entertaining with a touch more class than most everything else on TV. Tonight, on Michael Bublé's Christmas in New York (NBC, 8pm), Michael is spending this holiday with Barbra Streisand, Miss Piggy, Ariana Grande and the Radio City Rockettes.

Preview: Road To The Winter Classic

NHL Hockey Teams Prep for One of Sports' Coolest Shows
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For most people, NHL hockey - fun and sometimes thrilling inside an arena - doesn't generate even a measurable pulse when watching it on TV. But there is an exception to that, the annual Winter Classic when two teams battle it out outside, all the better when it's frigid and snowing.



EpixHD is following the Chicago Blackhawks and the Washington Capitals in the weeks leading up to the Feb. 3 outdoor game with its four-part series Road to the NHL Winter Classic, which began on Monday but can be seen now on EpixHD.com.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Review: Elf: Buddy's Musical Christmas

Elf is an Absolutely Adorable New Christmas Cartoon Classic
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Zip! Before you know it, Elf: Buddy's Musical Christmas (NBC, 8pm) is over and done way too soon.

Within the hour that precedes the cute closing credits (and you frantically pushing the rewind button on your DVR), the new animated Christmas special, based on the 2003 movie Elf and the one-time Broadway show Elf: The Musical, is a comfortably familiar story that will leave you feeling a whole lot better about the world and the often feared-missing Christmas spirit.

Like the movie that inspired it, Elf: Buddy's Musical Christmas is about an orphaned human baby who accidentally gets swept away by Santa Claus one Christmas Eve. Once at the North Pole, the soon-to-be-gigantic Buddy is embraced for his differences, like being far taller than the elves that surround him and for being perpetually happy.

Preview: A Chef's Life Holiday Special

Restaurateur Vivian Howard Cooks Christmas Dinner
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On the PBS cooking docu-series A Chef's Life, former New York City chef Vivian Howard and her husband Ben Knight are running the James Beard Award-nominated restaurant The Chef and the Farmer in North Carolina, they're building a home and raising twins. Tonight on A Chef's Life Holiday Special (10pm), Vivian is also cooking Hanukkah and Christmas dinner.

Preview: Sacred Journeys With Bruce Feiler

Author Bruce Feiler Walks with Modern-Day Pilgrims
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For countless millennia, people have walked long distances over days and weeks to express their faith or simply to get from one place to a distant holy land, whether it's Catholics walking en mass to Lourdes, France or Buddhists walking a 700-mile journey around the island Shikoku in Japan. On the new series Sacred Journeys (PBS, 8pm), Bruce Feiler joins these pilgrims to find out why they do it.