Much like “The Wizard of Oz,” the 1946 holiday favorite “It’s a Wonderful Life” (7 p.m. Saturday, NBC) owes its classic status to repeated TV airings rather than its box-office reception. Donna Reed, who played George Bailey’s doting wife, would go on to have her own popular TV series.
But the “Life” cast member with the most influence on television would be actor Sheldon Leonard, who plays Nick, the impatient barkeep who throws George and Clarence out into the cold, cruel parallel universe where George has never been born. Nick’s role is short, but he gets the harshest line in this sentimental movie. “Hey look, mister, we serve hard drinks in here for men who want to get drunk fast, and we don’t need any characters around to give the joint ‘atmosphere.’” Things are tough in Pottersville!
Leonard would go on to produce “Make Room for Daddy” (with Danny Thomas), “The Andy Griffith Show,” ‘‘The Dick Van Dyke Show,” ‘‘Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.” and “I Spy.”
• Nick Cannon and Mario Lopez host the 28th annual “Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade” (11 a.m. Sunday, ABC), featuring performances by Christina Aguilera and Justin Bieber, Jennifer Hudson, Cee Lo Green, Scotty McCreery and the McClain Sisters.
• Christmas marathons include a 24-hour marathon of “The Outer Limits” (5 a.m. Sunday to 5 a.m. Monday) on Chiller, the NBC Universal channel dedicated to suspense and horror. While never as popular or iconic as “The Twilight Zone,” the black-and-white “Outer Limits” put greater emphasis on science fiction and attracted some of the best writers from the pulp tradition, including Harlan Ellison.
• Continuing a tradition of another sort, E! offers viewers four hours of “Kourtney & Kim Take New York” (11 a.m. Sunday).
• Fans can get their fill of “MythBusters” (10 a.m. Sunday to 2 a.m. Monday, Discovery) and eight hours of “Man vs. Food” (6 p.m. Sunday to 2 a.m. Monday, Travel).
• A controversial new method of natural gas extraction becomes a killer on “CSI” (7 p.m., CBS).
• Boris Karloff narrates the 1966 special “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (7 p.m., ABC).
• The Green Bay Packers host the Chicago Bears on “Sunday Night Football” (7 p.m., NBC).
• A cyber tycoon feels slandered by a movie depiction on “The Good Wife” (8 p.m., CBS).
• Jim Carrey hams it up in the 2000 live-action adaptation of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (7:30 p.m., ABC).
• A fisher of men on “CSI: Miami” (9 p.m., CBS).
Bart and Lisa reel in the years on “The Simpsons” (7 p.m., Fox) ... Lessons from the elders on “The Cleveland Show” (7:30 p.m., Fox).