It’s late December, which means the season for televised holiday specials is drawing to a close.
During previous Christmas seasons, pop and country singers such as Michael Buble, Mariah Carey, Kelly Clarkson and Blake Shelton have hosted their own tinsel-filled holiday singalongs for network TV. Typically, these specials are one-offs; they don’t re-air during subsequent holiday seasons, none quite capable of achieving the classic status enjoyed by animated holiday fare and black-and-white family films.
In the absence of door-to-door caroling, televised holiday specials were one of the only opportunities I had to feel serenaded growing up.
With the exception of Michael Buble, who really committed to the televised Christmas special format to the tune of four specials in the United States and/or Canada between 2011 and 2014, holiday musical revues don’t pull in huge viewerships.
Networks seem to pivoting, but won’t we miss the holiday musical revue if it disappears entirely? It’s a tradition that dates to the earliest days of television, when Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Perry Como first initiated the Christmas-themed song, dance and comedy special in the 1950s.
Song-and-dance Christmas specials could use some livening up.
Imagine Bryan Cranston hosting a holiday special or the cast of “Orange Is the New Black,” which boasts two performers who have recently appeared in musical theater: Uzo Aduba in “The Wiz Live!” and Danielle Brooks in “The Color Purple” on Broadway.