Josh Groban at Radio City, ‘Fantasy Football’ and College Football, a Hip Hop Nutcracker, ‘We’re Here’ Returns
Josh Groban brings his mighty voice to Radio City Music Hall for a Great Performances special. Marsai Martin (black-ish) stars in and produces the family film Fantasy Football, while actual college football action airs through the day and evening in a post-Thanksgiving tradition. The Nutcracker gets a hip-hop stage treatment as TV’s Yule Log continues to burn bright. The HBO reality series We’re Here returns for a third season, spreading joy through drag.
Few voices can fill the 6,000-seat arena of New York’s Radio City Music Hall with the booming baritone power of Josh Groban, a Grammy, Emmy and Tony nominee who’s returning to Broadway this spring in a revival of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd. During a Great Performances program filmed in April, Groban dedicates his stirring rendition of “Bring Him Home” from Les Miserables to the people of Ukraine. The playlist features “The Impossible Dream,” “You Lift Me Up,” Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” (a duet with his Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 co-star Denée Benton), “Time After Time” (with Cyndi Lauper), “Real Men Don’t Cry” (with Breland), and Tiler Peck dancing to “So She Dances.” David Garibaldi creates a live painting during “New York Minute,” and fans who stream the concert on PBS Passport will get five additional songs, including “Cinema Paradiso” (with violinist Itzhak Perlman) and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”
black-ish scene stealer Marsai Martin is star and producer of a whimsical family film set against the world of NFL and EA Sports Madden football. She’s Callie, whose prowess at playing video-game football comes in handy when a magic twist allows her to control her fumble-prone dad’s (Omari Hardwick) performance on the NFL gridiron. Can she take him all the way to the Super Bowl? With cameos by CBS Sports talent Jim Nantz, Tony Romo and Nate Burleson.
The Hip Hop Nutcracker
Based on Jennifer Weber’s live stage hit, touring the country during the holidays, this special reimagining of the Tchaikovsky ballet classic pops and locks in hip-hop style, with special appearances by ballet greats Mikhail Baryshnikov and Tiler Peck. Starring as Maria-Clara is Caché Melvin, who turns to toymaker Drosselmeyer (Comfort Fedoke) and the reanimated Nutcracker (Du-Shant “Fik-shun” Stegall) to help bring her parents (Allison Holker Boss and Stephen “tWitch” Boss) back together in a propulsive musical adventure.
What great timing for the Emmy-winning reality show to return, with its joyous message of acceptance and inclusion, after last weekend’s tragedy in Colorado Springs. Bob the Drag Queen, Eureka O’Hara and Dancing with the Stars finalist Shangela are back, blazing a trail of love and happiness in small-town communities in Texas, Florida, Utah, Mississippi and New Jersey for a third season. First stop: Granbury, Texas, which may be their most challenging city to date, where they meet hairstylist Adrienne, a fierce ally, nonbinary teen Lou and Deshay, a minister of music who was recently ousted from their church.
- Tis the day after Thanksgiving, and what goes better with leftovers than college football. ABC is especially busy, with No. 21 Tulane taking on No. 25 Cincinnati at noon/ET, followed by No. 13 North Carolina vs. No. 24 NC State, and in the network’s first-ever prime-time Thanksgiving Friday game, the Florida Gators battle the Florida State Seminoles at 7:30 pm/ET. ESPN presents a Big 12 showdown between Baylor and Texas at noon/ET, and other highlights include Arizona State at Arizona on FS1 (3 pm/ET) Arkansas at Missouri on CBS (3:30 pm/ET), and UCLA at California on Fox (4:30 pm/ET).
The Yule Log:
- The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special (streaming on Disney+): A whimsical outing brings the Guardians to Earth to find the perfect present for Quill (Chris Pratt): a real-life Kevin Bacon!
- Steppin’ Into the Holiday (8/7c, Lifetime): Mario Lopez is Billy, a former Broadway star fired from his host/judge gig on a TV Celebrity Dance Off show who finds his step when he goes back home to help stage a dance recital fundraiser with dance studio owner Rae (Jana Kramer). With cameos by Mario’s wife Courtney Lopez and comic actors Cheri Oteri and Mario Cantone.
- #Xmas (6 pm/5c Hallmark Channel): Nashville’s Clare Bowen plays Jen, who forms a fake family with best friend Max (Brant Daugherty) and her baby nephew to enter a brand’s design contest. When she becomes a finalist, will she come clean?
- A Royal Corgi Christmas (8/7c, Hallmark Channel): Hunter King is a prince who turns to a dog whisperer (Jordan Renzo) to train a rowdy Corgi named Mistletoe in time for his mother the Queen’s Christmas Ball.
- Christmas at the Drive-In (8/7c, Great American Family): Now playing: the story of a property lawyer (The Wonder Years’ Danica McKellar) who tries to keep the local drive-in theater open, clashing with the seller (Neal Bledsoe). Bet we know how this movie ends.
- Christmas perennials, old and recent, include Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Trolls Holiday in Harmony on NBC (8/7c and 8:30/7:30c); Frosty the Snowman and Frosty Returns on CBS (8/7c and 8:30/7:30c), followed by the 2021 movie A Christmas Proposal (9/8c); and on the CW, Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer (8/7c) and Scooby-Doo, Where Are You Now! (9/8c).
Inside Friday TV:
- Jeff Dunham: Me the People (8/7c, Comedy Central): The popular ventriloquist presents his 11th stand-up special from the stage of the Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C., where he’s joined by characters familiar and new as he takes on cancel culture and our addiction to devices.
- Dateline NBC (9/8c, NBC): Andrea Canning reports the creepy story of “The House on Pitch Pine Crescent” in Toronto, where a family lives in fear after relatives are found dead in the same home over the years.
- Destination Fear (9/8c Travel Channel, streaming on discovery+): In a new season of paranormal investigation, the only thing that could make a trip to the sprawling 20-building Cresson Sanatorium and Prison in rural Pennsylvania more unnerving is to explore the place in the dark, without flashlights!