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!)

This Day in Pop Culture for June 11

ET flew into theaters on June 11, 1982.

E.T. Takes Flight

It is said that Steven Spielberg drew from his own childhood as a lonely child of divorce for E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial which was released on this day in 1982. This was Spielberg’s second film about aliens and a decidedly friendlier version than in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. During that year, TIME magazine included the character in its list of nominees for Man-of-the-Year. The film was nominated for nine Oscars at the 1983 Academy Awards and won four. After an initial re-release in theaters in 1985, ET was re-released again in 2002, but with some changes. The new cut featured scenes that were not included in the original film and improved special effects. The most notable was the removal of guns federal agents which were replaced with walkie talkies.

American Idol

American Idol Airs for the First Time

The reality TV music competition show, American Idol, began its 15-year run on this day on FOX on this day in 2002. Based on the British series, Pop Idol, American Idol was an instant hit and a ratings giant for FOX. Ryan Seacrest and Brian Dunkleman hosted the first season of the show, but Dunkleman never appeared again until the show’s finale on April 7, 2016. The original judges for the show consisted on Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul. Throughout the years, different judges would come and go including Ellen DeGeneres, Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez, Harry Connick, Jr., Kara DioGuardi, Steven Tyler, Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey. The show’s winners list includes: Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Fantasia Barrino, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Hicks, Jordin Sparks, David Cook, Kris Allen, Lee DeWyze, Scotty McCreery, Phillip Phillips, Candice Glover, Caleb Johnson, Nick Fradiani, and Trent Harmon. The show wasn't off the air very long before ABC picked it up and aired the first of the new in early 2018 and for now, American Idol lives on.

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