Happy Thanksgiving, a day of holiday traditions old and new. One of the newest and most television-friendly Thanksgiving events also celebrates ingenuity, innovation, talent and man’s inherent desire to hurl recently harvested gourds and watch them splat. We’re talking of course about “Punkin Chunkin 2010” (7 p.m., Science and Discovery). Not only has “Chunkin” grown in stature, but it has secured its place on the much larger Discovery network after emerging on The Science Channel. And Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman of “Mythbusters” fame are on hand to officiate.
NBC’s primetime ratings may be nothing to celebrate, but the Peacock network hosts two daytime Thanksgiving events that show no signs of flagging. Meredith Vieira, Matt Lauer and Al Roker of “Today” host the 84th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade (9 a.m., all time zones, NBC) a kick-off to the Christmas season dating back to the days of radio.
Immediately following the parade, John O’Hurley (“Dancing with the Stars,” “Seinfeld”) co-hosts “The National Dog Show” (noon, NBC) with canine expert and analyst David Frei. More than 2,000 four-legged tail waggers competed to appear here. May the best pug win.
• We’ve long come to accept the acceleration of the Christmas season. But tonight NBC will air “NBC’s People of the Year” (8 p.m., NBC), the kind of round up traditionally associated with the week before New Year’s Eve.
Matt Lauer will profile some of the big personalities of 2010 with more than five weeks left to go in the year. What if somebody makes a big splash in December? For the record “Barbara Walters Presents: The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2010” won’t air until Dec. 9.
• While the big day is most closely associated with the consumption of turkey, some people prefer to veg out in front of marathons. This year’s offerings include 24 hours of “Burn Notice” (5 a.m., USA); “Beverly Hills 90210” (5 p.m. to 11 p.m., Soapnet); “Mythbusters” (8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Discovery) and a full slate of James Bond movies on Syfy (7 a.m. to 2 a.m.).
Tonight’s other highlights
• If the bird’s in the oven, the Lions must be on the field. The Detroit Lions host The New England Patriots in a holiday tradition (11:30 a.m., CBS).
• A young singing sensation prepares for her new album on the musical special “Taylor Swift: Speak Now” (7 p.m., NBC).
• The gang learns the history of the holiday in the animated special “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” (7 p.m., ABC).
• The New York Jets hosts the Cincinnati Bengals (7:20 p.m. NFL Network). Check local listings.
• A cyber sicko targets health-care providers on “CSI” (8 p.m., CBS).
• A pop singer prepares to entertain an international audience on “Beyonce’s I Am ... World Tour” (8:30 p.m., ABC).
• The gang plugs products for Isaac Mizrahi on QVC on “The Apprentice” (9 p.m., NBC).