Nothing says holiday special quite like high-tech gourd hurling. Brad Sherwood (“Whose Line Is It Anyway?”) hosts the hour-long “23rd Annual World Championship Punkin’ Chunkin” (8 p.m., Science), a festival of backyard engineering and a contest to see who can project a pumpkin the furthest using devices ranging from air cannons to medieval catapults. Pity the folks who have to clean up the orange crush.
• The TLC network hopes that families gathered ’round the turkey still have an appetite for big family fare. They’re offering a 15-hour marathon of “Jon & Kate Plus 8” (5 a.m. to 8 p.m.), the reality show about parents of twins and a set of sextuplets.
• Audience fascination with plus-sized broods did not begin with reality television. Turner Classic Movies offers a festival of family features, beginning with the 1950 favorite “Cheaper by the Dozen” (7 p.m., TCM), starring Clifton Webb as the devoted dad of 12 during the 1920s. If you’re familiar only with the more recent adaptations, be warned: This heart-warmer has a tear-jerker side that the Steve Martin versions avoid.
Pre-“Brady Bunch” comedies of blended broods follow, including “Yours, Mine and Ours” (7 p.m.) and “With Six, You Get Eggroll” (10:30 p.m.), both from 1968.
• Happy Thanksgiving: Now clean your room! Style unfolds a 20-hour marathon of “Clean House” (5 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday) episodes. Other marathons include “Dirty Jobs” (5 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday, Discovery); “The First 48” (7 p.m. through 11 p.m., A&E); “Blue Planet: Seas of Life” (1 p.m. through 5 a.m. Friday, Animal Planet); and “Chowder” (11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Cartoon Network).
The Fox Movie Channel won’t change just its programming for Thanksgiving — it’s changing its name. For four whole days, Thanksgiving through Sunday, it will become “Channel of the Apes,” repeating an onslaught of the five theatrical “Planet of the Apes” movies and five TV movies spun off from the 1974 CBS TV series. A Saturday-morning cartoon version aired on NBC from 1975 to 1976, but it doesn’t seem to be part of the festival. The documentary “Fox Legacy: Planet of the Apes” (7 p.m., FMC) will also air repeatedly, offering insight into the production of the franchise. The year 2008 marks the 40th anniversary of the first “Planet.”
• Feeling alienated by the holidays? Check out “Goth Cruise” (11 p.m., IFC: free, On Demand), an insightful and occasionally even heartwarming documentary look at a group of 150 self-styled Goths who join a cruise of 2,500 vacationers on a trip from New Jersey to Bermuda and back.
Tonight’s other highlights
• Miley Cyrus and David Archuleta join a roster of performers during the coverage of the 82nd annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (8 a.m., NBC).
• John O’Hurley hosts the “National Dog Show” (11 a.m., NBC).
• Jeff Probst hosts “Survivor” (7 p.m., CBS).
• A crime fighter and his family return triumphantly from retirement in the 2004 animated comedy “The Incredibles” (7 p.m., NBC).
• A TV remote control takes on magical properties in the 2006 comedy “Click” (7 p.m., Fox), starring Adam Sandler.
• A boy and his dog host a holiday feast in the 1973 special “Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” (7 p.m., ABC).
• A military doctor (Kevin McKidd, “Rome”) arrives on a two-hour “Grey’s Anatomy” (8 p.m., ABC).
• Kid Rock sings and talks about his life on “Storytellers” (8 p.m., VH1).