Thanksgiving week means a lighter TV schedule, except for many, many hours of holiday programming. In non-holiday choices, a famous horse story gets reimagined and a popular romance drama returns for season two.
Dispatches: Weekly TV news
Fox ordered the new series, “Game of Talents.” The unscripted variety show focuses on contestants guessing performers’ hidden talents, based only on their first impressions and clues. Wayne Brady (“Let’s Make a Deal,” “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”) hosts and executive produces the show, which will premiere in 2021.
Nicki Minaj announced on Twitter that HBO Max ordered a docuseries about her. She promised that the six-episode show will be a “raw, unfiltered” look at her life.
Contenders: Shows to keep on your radar
Here are a few holiday specials airing on Nov. 27: “Frosty the Snowman” (CBS, 8 p.m. ET), “Frosty Returns” (CBS, 8:30 p.m. ET), “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” (ABC, 8 p.m. ET), “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (NBC, 8 p.m. ET), “Minions Holiday Special” (NBC, 8:30 p.m. ET), and “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” (The CW, 8 p.m. ET).
Anna Sewell’s classic novel, “Black Beauty” (Nov. 27, Disney+) gets reimagined with Kate Winslet as the voice of Black Beauty and Mackenzie Foy as Jo Green, the spirited teenage girl who forges an unbreakable bond with the wild mustang. This version follows Black Beauty, who is captured and forced to leave the freedom of the American West for life at Birtwick Stables. As Beauty is sold to different owners, Jo is determined to reunite with her.
Season two of “Virgin River” premieres (Nov. 27, Netflix). The romance drama, based on the book series by Robyn Carr, will continue its focus on small-town love stories and give more backstory for Marines, Jack (Martin Henderson) and Preacher (Colin Lawrence).
Comic and ventriloquist, Jeff Dunham, premieres his first special for Comedy Central in six years called, “Jeff Dunham’s Completely Unrehearsed Last Minute Pandemic Holiday Special” (Nov. 27, 8 p.m. ET).
The “2020 Soul Train Awards” are hosted by Tisha Campbell and Tichina Arnold (Nov. 29, BET, VH1, BET Her and MTV2, 9 p.m. ET).
“The Disney Holiday Singalong” returns for a third installment (Nov. 30, ABC, 8 p.m. ET) with performances and appearances by Andrea Bocelli, BTS, Michael Buble, Ciara, Katy Perry and many others. The special also includes performances from members of the Broadway casts of “The Lion King,” and “Aladdin,” and North American Touring companies of “Frozen.”
In non-holiday themed programming, “Atlas of Cursed Places” (Dec. 1, National Geographic, 9 p.m. ET) follows author and adventurer Sam Sheridan around the globe as he searches for the most cursed places on the planet.
Also on National Geographic is “Trafficked with Mariana van Zeller” (Dec. 2, 9 p.m. ET). The eight-part series follows van Zeller as she explores smuggling networks, offering viewers a behind-the-scenes look at these criminal underworlds.
Report Card: Ratings winners and losers
Winners: The “Supernatural” (The CW) finale delivered the show’s largest audience since April 2019.
Losers: The upcoming season four of “Black Lightning” (The CW) will be its last.
Melissa Crawley is the author of “Mr. Sorkin Goes to Washington: Shaping the President on Television’s ‘The West Wing.’” She has a Ph.D. in media studies and is a member of the Television Critics Association. To comment on Stay Tuned, email her at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter at @mcstaytuned.