Tis the Season (Had You Heard?), ’60 Minutes’ Goes to the Dogs, Kelly Rowland on ‘Equalizer’ & Oprah Meets Quinta

A CNN special surveys the history of holiday movies and TV specials, just in time for a flurry of new holiday movies and TV specials, including a new Christmas showcase for Mickey Mouse. Anderson Cooper presents two 60 Minutes reports with surprising facts about man’s best friend (dogs). Kelly Rowland guests on The Equalizer as a music superstar in peril. Oprah Winfrey turns her spotlight on Abbott Elementary creator Quinta Brunson.

Will Ferrell and Ed Asner in 'Elf'
New Line/courtesy Everett Collection

Tis the Season: The Holidays on Screen

Special

SUNDAY: Surely you’ve noticed by now that Christmas-themed programming is everywhere you look. It’s part of a rich history of holiday movies and TV specials, surveyed in a two-hour special from executive producers Tom Hanks, Gary Goetzman and Mark Herzog (The Sixties, etc.). With archival footage from many of our favorites, Tis the Season also features commentary from an eclectic array of filmmakers, celebrities, critics and historians, including Ken Burns, Tim Burton, Vince Gilligan, Hanks, Ron Howard, Phil Rosenthal—and Dr. Anthony Fauci?

Mickey Mouse, Pluto, Minnie Mouse - 'Mickey Saves Christmas'
ABC

Mickey Saves Christmas

Special

SUNDAY: The weekend’s highest-profile new holiday special stars Disney icon Mickey Mouse in a stop-motion animated half-hour in which he, Minnie and their friends head to the South Pole after Pluto causes Santa to lose all the presents on his sleigh. Simulcast on Disney Channel, Disney Junior and Disney XD. Followed on ABC by a repeat of the Frozen spinoff Olaf’s Frozen Adventure (7:30/6:30c) and the two-hour The Wonderful World of Disney: Magical Holiday Celebration (8/7c) with musical performances from Disney’s theme parks.

CNN's Anderson Cooper
CNN

60 Minutes

SUNDAY: Correspondent Anderson Cooper does double duty with segments involving our canine companions. In “Survival of the Friendliest,” he reports on the evolution of dogs from wolves as they developed “friendliness mutations” that can also be found in a human condition called Williams Syndrome. A second segment deals with Comparative Oncology, a growing scientific field in which physicians and veterinarians study similar cancers in people and pet dogs, hoping to find treatments for both species. In a more sobering piece, Scott Pelley reports from Clearwater, Florida, where the search is on for lost graves from erased African-American cemeteries.

Kelly Rowland and Queen Latifah on 'The Equalizer'
Michael Greenberg/CBS

The Equalizer

SUNDAY: Grammy-winning singer Kelly Rowland guests as a music superstar who needs Robyn’s (Queen Latifah) help when a scary fan letter causes her to think of retiring. Her security chief (Sullivan Jones) seeks out the Equalizer to ease her fears. What are the odds they’ll duet by the climax?

Jacob Buster and Grace Gummer in LET THE RIGHT ONE IN
Emily Aragones/SHOWTIME

Let the Right One In

SUNDAY: The storylines begin to converge in a pivotal episode of the vampire drama, when detective Naomi (Anika Noni Rose) follows the drug trail to Claire Logan (Grace Gummer) at her family’s Long Island manse, where her experiments in vampiric virus research have taken a grisly new turn. Back in Brooklyn, Mark (Demián Bichir) takes Naomi on a date, gleaning information that may lead him to Claire’s doorstep as well. And how will Mark take the news that vampire daughter Eleanor (Madison Taylor Baez) has shared her secret with neighbor BFF Isaiah (Ian Foreman)? Not well.

Jennifer Coolidge in 'The White Lotus' Season 2
HBO

The White Lotus

SUNDAY: Tanya (Emmy winner Jennifer Coolidge) is beside herself with glee when Quentin (Tom Hollander) and his pals whisk her away from the White Lotus to Palermo for a debauched getaway. Back at the resort, young Albie (Adam DiMarco) is in for a surprise after his overnight tryst with Lucia (Simona Tabasco), and Harper (Aubrey Plaza) isn’t about to let sleeping dogs lie when it comes to the guys’ night of partying with the local talent.

The Yule Log:

Inside Weekend TV:

  • OWN Spotlight: Oprah and Quinta Brunson Abbott Elementary (Saturday, 9/8c, OWN): Oprah Winfrey sits with Emmy-winning Abbott Elementary creator/star Quinta Brunson to discuss the hit comedy’s roots and Brunson’s own childhood, mentors and career. Given Oprah’s love for learning, it’s little wonder this wonderful series has captured her attention.
  • Byron Allen Presents theGrio Awards (Saturday, 8/7c, CBS): Yolanda Adams, Tyrese, Fantasia and Music Icon Award recipient Patti LaBelle perform in the inaugural ceremony of an event, held at the Beverly Hilton, honoring cultural and civic leaders in the African-American community. Other recipients include Jennifer Hudson, Queen Latifah, Norman Lear (Champion Award), Tyler Perry, Kenan Thompson and the ever-controversial Dave Chappelle (Cultural Icon).
  • 48 Hours (Saturday, 10/9c, CBS): Eric Moriarty reports on the case of Michael Politte, charged with his mother’s murder as a teenager and now out on parole after nearly 20 years, still claiming his innocence and telling Moriarty he knows who’s responsible.
  • East New York (Sunday, 9/8c, CBS): In the urban crime drama’s midseason finale, Deputy Inspector Haywood (Amanda Warren) second-guesses a retired policeman’s “suicide” after learning he was wanted to reveal a list of crooked cops.
  • This Is Life with Lisa Ling (Sunday, 10/9c, CNN): The journalist returns for a final season of provocative reports, starting with a study of how technology is shaping love, sex and relationships after the recent years of COVID-19 isolation.