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 September 26

'Gilligan's Island' Premieres
It is said that if you’ve seen one episode of Gilligan’s Island, you’ve seen them all. However, when the show premiered on this day in 1964, the show was already altered a great deal from its original concept. The basic premise was the same, but three of the seven castaways were totally different. Instead of the Professor, Ginger and MaryAnn, the “lost pilot” featured a high school teacher (John Gabriel), Bunny (Nancy McCarthy) a dumb blonde secretary and Ginger (Kit Smythe) a “practical” secretary. The theme song was completely different too. The music was written by John Williams with a calypso-styled beat and the lyrics were sung by Sherwood Schwarz, the creator of the show. This theme song was twice as long as the now famous one and was, well, horrible.

ABC Gambles with 'Cop Rock'
Steven Bochco, known for creating TV series like Hill Street Blues, Doogie Howser, M.D. and NYPD Blues, hasn’t always made hit shows. His most notorious work, Cop Rock, premiered on ABC on this day in 1991. The show combined the typical and serious police procedural with a Broadway-styled rock music and dancing production. The end result was as odd as one would think it would be. TV Guide said that the show was “the single most bizarre TV musical of all time.” The show was a critical and ratings loser and so, the show was yanked after 11 episodes. Despite all of the bad press, Cop Rock was nominated for five Emmy Awards in 1991 winning two for Outstanding Editing for a Series – Single Camera Production and Outstanding Achievement in Music and Lyrics.

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