The live TV musical returns with NBC’s starry new Annie adaptation. ABC’s George Stephanopoulos lands a headline-making interview with Alec Baldwin about the accidental fatal shooting on the set of the movie Rust. Drag queens are the rage in a new singing competition and a campy Christmas movie. CBS’ Ghosts welcomes a superfan of Jazz Age chanteuse Alberta.
The sun will come out at night when a new Annie takes the spotlight, as the live TV musical makes a comeback in a new adaptation of the Broadway and film hit. 12-year-old discovery Celina Smith is the spunky orphan who charms Daddy Warbucks (Harry Connick Jr. in a bald cap) while eluding the schemes of the nefarious Miss Hannigan (Empire’s Taraji P. Henson, hamming it up). Tituss Burgess (Rooster), Megan Hilty (Lily), and Nicole Scherzinger (Grace) fill out the other lead roles. You bet your bottom dollar that this is something the family can enjoy together.
ABC News‘s George Stephanopoulos and his production company lands a major exclusive interview as the Good Morning America co-anchor speaks with Alec Baldwin about the deadly accidental shooting on the set of his Western film, Rust. (ABC’s 20/20 will feature the interview, along with additional reporting about the events on the troubled movie set, in a two-hour edition next week on Dec. 10.)
From the producers of the Emmy-winning RuPaul’s Drag Race comes a global singing competition featuring the world’s most accomplished drag queens representing their countries in head-to-head (and no doubt magnificently coiffed) performances. British talk-show host Graham Norton hosts, with a “Pop Diva Panel” of judges including Drag Race’s Michelle Visage, singer-actress Vanessa Williams, drag superstar Trixie Mattel and pop star Leona Lewis.
It’s about time the drag universe got its own holiday movie, and this campfest is chock-full of them. RuPaul stars alongside such wild personalities as Ginger Minj, Brooke Lynn Hytes, Peppermint, Latrick Royale, Gottmik, Morgan McMichaels, Porkchop, Heidi N Closet, Manila Luzon, Mayhem Miller, Pandora Boxx, Raven, and many more in the story of a fashion journalist (Krysta Rodriguez) who visits a Christmas-obsessed small town and finds all manner of cutthroat intrigue surrounding a “Winter Ball” competition. No less an icon than Charo also shows up for the fun!
Another ghost gets her moment to shine in this sparking supernatural comedy. Jazz Age diva spirit Alberta (Danielle Pinnock) may be gone, but she’s not forgotten — at least not by nerdy superfan Todd (Rodrigo Fernandez-Stoll), who arrives at the mansion to dig deeper into her history at the site of her mysterious death. When Todd begs to sleep over, Sam (Rose McIver) and Jay (Utkarsh Ambudkar) step up to test their acumen as bed-and-breakfast hosts.
When ninja bandits kill a Starfleet officer during a dilithium robbery, Michael (Sonequa Martin-Green) is reunited with her mother Gabrielle (Sonja Sohn) as the Discovery Captain and Tilly (Mary Wiseman) go on a mission to get justice. It’s a highly emotional episode, with Book (David Ajala) seeking cathartic closure as he helps Stamets (Anthony Rapp) investigate the anomaly that destroyed his home planet, as Adira (Blu del Barrio) anxiously monitors her Trill symbiont Gray (Ian Alexander), who’s being transferred into a synthetic human form all can see.
Inside Thursday TV:
- The Pact (streaming on Sundance Now): A six-part Welsh thriller embroils four employees of a brewery in a cover-up when their young boss is found dead. Complicating matters: One of the group’s husband is a police officer investigating the mysterious death.
- Music Box: Listening to Kenny G (8/7c, HBO): His jazz may be smooth, but chart-topping saxophonist Kenny G’s critical reputation is, shall we say, rocky. This documentary from director Penny Lane probes the minds of music critics, scholars, and the musician himself to examine his global allure.
- B Positive (9:30/8:30c, CBS): When Gina (Annaleigh Ashford) brings her shaggy dog to the retirement home, the pooch becomes an instant hit with the seniors. Her kidney recipient Drew (Thomas Middleditch), meanwhile, is prepping for his fresh start, which entails driving cross-country in a camper van.
- Bull (10/9c, CBS): On the eve of his own jury-tampering trial, jury consultant Bull (Michael Weatherly) turns off mock jurors with his brashness. Worse, his wife Izzy (Yara Martinez) could be implicated in the alleged bribe.
- The Great Balloon Bomb Invasion (streaming on discovery+): An intriguing side note of WWII history involves thousands of bomb-rigged balloons sent across the Pacific by the Japanese in 1944 and 1945, resulting in deaths in Oregon. Only 300 of the balloon bombs were ever found, and this documentary special follows the high-tech search for the missing ordnance.
A blizzard of holiday treats:
- Single All the Way (streaming on Netflix): Ugly Betty’s Michael Urie stars in a same-sex holiday rom-com as a bachelor who goads his buddy (Philemon Chambers) to pretend to be his beau during a trip home to see his family, including scene-stealers Kathy Najimy and Jennifer Coolidge (The White Lotus) as his mom and aunt.
- The Business of Christmas 2 (streaming on BET+): Daphne Maxwell Reid stars in a movie directed by her husband Tim Reid (WRKP in Cincinnati) about a family trying to move on and find some holiday spirit after losing their father.
- A Christmas Village Romance (8/7c, Lifetime): A more conventional holiday movie sends a romance novelist (Jeni Ross) to a struggling pioneer village where she uses her celebrity to organize a Christmas gala.
- Baking It (streaming on Peacock): Saturday Night Live veterans Andy Samberg and Maya Rudolph are the jokey hosts and executive producers of a holiday-themed baking competition from the makers of NBC’s equally charming Making It. In a twist, the judges of each challenge are real-life grandmothers, who as we all know make excellent bakers.
- Sugar Plum Twist (streaming on Hallmark Movies Now): Law & Order: SVU’s Jamie Gray Hyder stars in a ballet-themed movie about an aspiring ballerina who decides to put a Latin twist on the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy when she’d denied the role in the annual Nutcracker
- Santa Inc. (streaming on HBO Max): Sarah Silverman and Seth Rogen provide voices in an eight-part animated series about an ambitious elf (Silverman) who aims to become the first female Santa.
- Rugrats (streaming on Paramount+): A special “Traditions” holiday episode honors each of the gang’s family traditions, from Hannukah to Christmas to Las Posadas.
- Olaf’s Frozen Adventure (8/7c, ABC): From the Land of Brand Extensions, ABC repeats this animated 2017 Frozen spinoff, followed by 2014’s Toy Story That Time Forgot.
- Mickey and Minnie Wish Upon a Christmas (7/6c, Disney Junior): The fabled mouse couple and their friends — separated all over the globe on Christmas Eve — try to reunite.