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Archive for Thursday, December 23, 2004

Survivor’ survives its dullest season yet

December 23, 2004

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Christmas comes early for "Survivor" fans. The torches of Vanuatu may have been quenched, but the long-running reality show lives on. CBS has announced plans for at least two additional seasons, running through 2006. While you'd think that a series as dull as "Vanuatu: Islands of Fire" would give programmers some pause, even a sluggish "Survivor" remains the most popular reality show on television. No episode of "The O.C.," "Joey" or "Will & Grace" ever came close to dethroning Jeff Probst's games of shuffle board, puzzles and crockery smashing. Of course, that may say more about the competition than about "Survivor."

Holiday films tonight:

  • Tim Allen plays a man legally obliged to become Santa in the popular 1994 comedy "The Santa Clause" (7 p.m., ABC). Released 10 Christmas-movie seasons ago, this film marked a media hat trick for Allen. At the time, his ABC show "Home Improvement" was the No. 1 rated show and his book "Don't Stand Too Close to a Naked Man" was No. 1 on many bestseller lists.
  • A singer (LeAnn Rimes) gets bad news from home just before her Grand Old Opry debut in the 1997 tearjerker "Holiday in Your Heart" (8 p.m., Lifetime). An impressive cast includes Aidan Quinn, Bernadette Peters, Donald Sutherland and Ben Kingsley.
  • On a lighter note, the 1999 animated feature "Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas" (7 p.m., Disney) features holiday tales from Mickey, Minnie and Goofy.
  • In another animated feature, "Ed, Edd 'n Eddy's Jingle Jingle Jangle" (7 p.m., Cartoon Network), Eddy's cynical plan to get new and better gifts actually provides him with new insights into other families' holiday traditions and teaches him the meaning of Christmas. The Cartoon Network also affords viewers one of their final chances to catch "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas" (7:30 p.m.).
  • Sam Elliott, Rebecca Harrell and Cloris Leachman star in the 1989 fantasy "Prancer" (7 p.m., Family) about a wounded reindeer and a little girl's sense of wonder.

Tonight's other highlights

  • Gibbs' team races to save a Navy captain's kidnapped wife and sightless daughter on "Navy: NCIS" (8 p.m., CBS).
  • The dark side of cosmetic surgery on "CSI" (8 p.m., CBS).
  • On back-to-back episodes of "The O.C." (Fox), Seth combines Christmas and Hanukkah to make his own very special day (7 p.m.) and New Years' plans go awry (8 p.m.).
  • Kirsten Dunst stars in the 2001 romance "Crazy/Beautiful" (7 p.m., WB).
  • A motivational speaker vanishes en route to a lecture on "Without a Trace" (9 p.m., CBS).
  • Christmas in the Congo proves romantic for Dr. Carter on "ER" (9 p.m., NBC).
  • High-tech diving equipment and special cameras help reveal "Secrets of the Titanic" (9 p.m., National Geographic).

Series notes

Michael moves in with his uncle on "Joey" (7 p.m., NBC) ... Cameo-ing on an uninspired 90-minute block of back-to-back episodes of "Will & Grace" (NBC): Barry Manilow (7:30 p.m.) and Jennifer Lopez (8 p.m.).

Late night

Jay Thomas and Darlene Love appear on "Late Show with David Letterman" (10:35 p.m., CBS) ... Jay Leno hosts Rob Schneider, Scarlett Johansson and A.M.E. on "The Tonight Show" (10:35 p.m., NBC) ... Jason Schwartzman and Xzibit appear on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" (11:05 p.m., ABC).

Bill Murray and Tony Bennett chat on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" (11:35 p.m., NBC) ... Kelly Rowan and Joseph Arthur are booked on "The Late, Late Show" (11:37 p.m., CBS).

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