Updated Nov. 20, 2012, 4:23pm CT
We’ve broken down the list of Thanksgiving TV marathons, as well as some upcoming Thanksgiving and Christmas episodes of your favorite TV shows. Now, here is a look at some of the top standalone Thanksgiving TV specials airing over the holiday weekend this year. Some are new, some are returning favorites, and all should help satisfy your hunger for Turkey Day viewing.
All times are Eastern; programming subject to change. Check back for regular updates and additions.
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (encore) — Nov. 21 & Nov. 22 at 8pm on ABC. ABC is airing this Peanuts classic from 1973 — one of the most beloved of Thanksgiving TV specials — two nights in a row. Charlie Brown wants to do something special for the gang. However, the dinner he arranges is a disaster when the caterers — Snoopy and Woodstock — prepare toast and popcorn as the main dish. It will take all of Marcie’s persuasive powers to salvage the holiday for a humiliated Charlie Brown. These airings also feature a bonus cartoon from Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz, called This Is America, Charlie Brown: The Mayflower Voyagers.
Planes, Trains and Automobiles (encore) — Nov. 21 at 8pm on The CW. John Hughes’ 1987 holiday comedy classic follows a high-strung ad exec (Steve Martin) and an optimistic shower curtain ring salesman (John Candy) as they share a three-day odyssey of misadventures trying to get the exec home to Chicago from New York City in time for Thanksgiving dinner with his family.
DP World Tour Championship — Nov. 22-25 from 3-8am (live), 8:30am-1:30pm (replay) and 6:30pm-11:30pm (replay) on Golf Channel. The final event of the 2012 European Tour season takes place in Dubai and features an elite field of 57 players — including 28 winners from this season — who qualified via the season-long “Race to Dubai” points race. All 12 members of the victorious European Ryder Cup team highlight the field — Nicolas Colsaerts, Luke Donald, Sergio Garcia, Peter Hanson, Martin Kaymer, Paul Lawrie, Graeme McDowell, Rory McIlroy, Francesco Molinari, Ian Poulter, Justin Rose and Lee Westwood.
The Thanksgiving Day Parade on CBS — Nov. 22 at 9am Live (tape-delayed PT) on CBS. Kevin Frazier and Brooke Anderson of The Insider host this special that features portions of the 86th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade from New York City, as well as performances by Martina McBride. For the second year, Broadway and country music star Laura Bell Bundy will offer an additional viewpoint of the parade as an on-the-street reporter, interacting with the crowd. Stars stopping by to chat with Frazier and Anderson will include Jessica Chastain, Dan Stevens, Ed Asner, Henry Winkler and Erin Heatherton.
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade — Nov. 22 at 9am (all time zones) on NBC; repeats Nov. 22 at 2pm. The 86th annual parade takes to the streets of New York City, with Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie and Al Roker hosting the festivities for NBC. Stars joining the parade this year include Kareem Abdul-Jabbar; Trace Adkins; Big Apple Circus; Chica and the gang from Sprout; Colbie Caillat; Rachel Crow; Thirza Defoe; Jimmy Fallon & The Roots; Flo Rida; Whoopi Goldberg; Chris Isaak; Carly Rae Jepsen; Karmin; Kidz Bop; Christian Laettner; Sandra Lee; Mannheim Steamroller; Jennette McCurdy; Don McLean; Megan & Liz; Olivia Culpo, Miss USA 2012; the Muppets and cast of Sesame Street; Neon Trees; Power Rangers Megaforce; Cody Simpson; U.S. Olympic gold medalists Gabby Douglas, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman, Kyla Ross and Jordyn Wieber; The Wanted; and Food Network’s Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian. There will be performances from Broadway’s best musicals, including “Annie,” “Bring It On,” Rodgers + Hammerstein’s “Cinderella,” “Elf” and “Nice Work If You Can Get It.” In addition, the world-famous Radio City Rockettes will join the presentation to help kick off the holidays. Among the parade’s famous balloons, there will be a returning favorite with a brand-new design, and two never-before-seen characters: The Elf on the Shelf, Hello Kitty and Papa Smurf.
The National Dog Show Presented By Purina — Nov. 22 at 12pm (all time zones) on NBC; repeats Nov. 23 at 8pm. The 11th edition of the holiday special showcases some 2,000 purebred canines competing for the title of Best in Show, in a Kennel Club of Philadelphia event. Included this year are two new American Kennel Club-sanctioned breeds — the Russell terrier and the Treeing Walker Coonhound. John O’Hurley returns as host, with David Frei offering analysis, and Mary Carillo reporting from inside the show ring.
NFL Football — Nov. 22 at 12:30pm on CBS; 4:15pm on FOX; 8:20pm on NBC. It’s a veritable Turkey Day feast of NFL football with three games on the schedule. The Houston Texans visit the Detroit Lions at Ford Field in the first game on CBS. Then, it’s an NFC East clash on FOX when the Washington Redskins head to Dallas to take on the Cowboys. The Thanksgiving night game goes to NBC this year, with an AFC East rivalry game at New York’s MetLife Stadium as the New England Patriots visit the Jets.
College Basketball: Battle 4 Atlantis — Nov. 22-24 at 7pm and 9:30pm on NBC Sports Network. The second annual Battle 4 Atlantis, featuring No. 2 Louisville, No. 5 Duke, No. 13 Missouri, No. 19 Memphis, Stanford, Virginia Commenwealth, Minnesota and Northern Iowa, tips off on Thanksgiving night. At 7pm, Memphis takes on VCU, live from the Atlantis resort on Paradise Island in the Bahamas. Then, at 9:30pm, Louisville plays Northern Iowa. On Nov. 23 at 7pm, the winner of Memphis-Virginia will take on the victor of the first-round game between Duke and Minnesota. At 9:30pm on Nov. 23, the winner of Louisville-Northern Iowa battles either Missouri or Stanford. Coverage concludes Nov. 24 with the Battle 4 Atlantis championship game at 9:30pm, preceded by the consolation game at 7pm.
Bad 25 — Nov. 22 at 9:30pm on ABC. The television premiere of Spike Lee’s documentary commemorating the 25th anniversary of the release of Michael Jackson’s album Bad.
College Football — Nov. 23 at 12pm & 3:30pm on ABC; Nov. 23 at 2:30pm on CBS; Nov. 23 at 3:30pm on FOX. ABC’s doubleheader features Nebraska at Iowa, followed by West Virginia at Iowa State. CBS airs LSU at Arkansas. FOX will broadcast Washington at Washington State.
Frosty the Snowman/Frosty Returns (encore) — Nov. 23 at 8pm & 8:30pm on CBS. The day after Thanksgiving, CBS brings us right into the Christmas spirit with airings of these two perennial holiday classics.
Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer (encore) — Nov. 23 at 8pm on The CW. Based on the hit song, this special follows a young boy’s quest to track his missing grandma down on Christmas Eve and prove that Santa Claus is indeed real.
Happiness Is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown (encore) — Nov. 23 at 8pm on FOX. The Peanuts gang is back and ready to help Linus break away from his childhood security blanket. The stakes are high as Linus learns his grandmother is coming to visit, and he must decide whether or not to dispose of his most cherished possession. In an effort to help Linus kick his habit, Charlie Brown, Lucy and even Snoopy pitch in to help.
Hoops&Yoyo Ruin Christmas (encore) — Nov. 23 at 9pm on CBS. This animated special presented by Hallmark follows the unexpected adventure of the comical pink kitty and green bunny team, hoops&yoyo, after they become accidental stowaways on Santa’s sleigh.
The Happy Elf (encore) — Nov. 23 at 9pm on The CW. Eubie the Elf’s enthusiastic view of the holiday season is put to the test when he sets out to bring Christmas joy to a dreary town called Bluesville. Harry Connick Jr. contributes songs to, and narrates, this animated special, which also features the voices of Carol Kane and Mickey Rooney.
It’s a SpongeBob Christmas! — Nov. 23 at 9:30pm on CBS. John Goodman lends his voice as Santa Claus in this new, stop-motion animated special starring the lovable title character of the hit Nickelodeon series. The program is inspired by the popular song, “Don’t Be a Jerk, It’s Christmas,” by Tom Kenny (voice of SpongeBob SquarePants) and Andy Paley. In this special, Mr. Krabs’ nemesis, Plankton, vows to get his Christmas wish — obtaining the Krusty Krab’s secret Krabby Patty formula — by turning everyone bad in Bikini Bottom with the help of his special jerktonium-laced fruitcake.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (encore) — Nov. 24 at 8pm on NBC. NBC airs a special holiday presentation of the fourth installment in the Indiana Jones franchise, with Harrison Ford returning as the daring archaeologist.
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving: © 1973 United Feature Syndicate, Inc.
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade: Courtesy of Macy’s, Inc.
It’s a SpongeBob Christmas: Credit Nickelodeon