The Ultimate Guide to Christmas Specials

Christmas TV specials, limited series and movies are bigger than ever these days from now until the New Year, you’ll be able to find some festive yule-tide programming every night of the week. From the traditional viewing of It’s a Wonderful Life, the different versions of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, to baking shows and live music specials, we’ve got them all listed on the new Christmas TV Specials page. (Since not all of the networks list their specials early, this list will be updated throughout the coming weeks, so check back often for new additions!)

ABC Jumps on the Musical Bandwagon with ‘Dirty Dancing’

Colt Prattes and Abigail Breslin in 'Dirty Dancing.'
Colt Prattes and Abigail Breslin in Dirty Dancing (ABC)
After four successful live musical performances on NBC (The Sound of Music, Peter Pan, The Wiz and Hairspray) and three from FOX (Grease, The Passion and The Rocky Horror Picture Show) ABC is finally jumping in with their own musical, only this one won’t be live.

On the 30th anniversary of the movie Dirty Dancing, ABC will air a new three-hour musical version of the story starring Abigail Breslin and Colt Prattes taking on the roles famously played by Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze. The new movie will be different in other ways as well says ABC. “The story from the beloved 1987 romantic drama and instant movie classic told from a fresh perspective, diving deeper into the iconic characters, showcasing their progression and tackling social themes like race, women’s rights and the socio-economic division in the country at that time,” says the press release. The original had some raunchy dance moves, hence the title of the movie, but it is not clear how much of those will be kept in the made-for-TV movie.

The new Dirty Dancing follows the familiar story of Frances “Baby” Houseman spending the summer with her family at a Catskills resort when she falls in love with Johnny Castle, the resort’s camp instructor. The movie will feature modern versions of the songs featured in the film (like “Time of My Life,” “Love Man,” “Do You Love Me,” “Hungry Eyes,” “She’s Like the Wind”) with other familiar tunes not featured in the original (like “Fever” and “They Can’t Take That Away From Me.”) “Viewers will discover what happens to Baby and Johnny after that summer and more about the supporting characters from the original film. This fresh reimagining explores the relationship between Jake and Marjorie Houseman, Lisa’s goals in life and uncovers a fully realized character in Neil, with plenty of surprises in store,” says ABC.

Dirty Dancing stars Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine) as Baby, Debra Messing (Will & Grace) as Marjorie Houseman, Bruce Greenwood (American Crime Story: The People vs. OJ Simpson) as Dr. Jake Houseman, Nicole Scherzinger (Dancing with the Stars) as Penny, Colt Prattes (Rock of Ages) as Johnny, Sarah Hyland (Modern Family) as Lisa Houseman, Tony Roberts (Annie Hall) as Max Kellerman, Trevor Einhorn (Mad Men) as Neil, Shane Harper (The Passion) as Robbie Gould, J. Quinton Johnson (Everyone Wants Some) as Marco, Beau “Casper” Smart (Perfect Match) as Billy, Katey Sagal (Sons of Anarchy) as Vivian Pressman and Billy Dee Williams (Star Wars) as Tito.

Dirty Dancing will air on Wednesday, May 24 at 8:00 p.m. on ABC.

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