What’s on TV This Week: Christmas Specials and a ‘Vanderpump Rules’ Recap

Between network, cable and streaming, the modern television landscape is a vast one. Here are some of the shows, specials and movies coming to TV this week, Dec. 11-17. Details and times are subject to change.

BIG BROTHER REINDEER GAMES 8 p.m. on CBS. I honestly can’t think of another time where a reality show dedicated a season to creating a holiday vibe. On this spinoff of the long-running competition show, nine previous contestants will come back to play six episodes of holiday-themed games, and the winner will walk away with a $100,000 stocking stuffer — it doesn’t get much more holly and jolly than that.

BARRY MANILOW’S A VERY BARRY CHRISTMAS 10 p.m. on NBC. Manilow will be joined by a 24-piece band to perform his greatest hits and a couple of holiday songs at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino, where Manilow regularly performs. Rumor has it that Santa will make an appearance — as long as he can pull himself away from the roulette table at the Bellagio.

VANDERPUMP RULES: A DECADE OF RUMORS AND LIES 10:15 p.m. on Bravo. It is hard to believe that these restaurant employees have been providing endless drama and entertainment for an entire decade. Ahead of the premiere of the 11th season in January, Lisa Vanderpump (the reason we are all here) narrates this special, which looks back at some of the previous seasons’ best moments.

CMT PRESENTS: A CODY JOHNSON CHRISTMAS 9 p.m. on CMT. Christmas is headed to Texas this week: Cody Johnson is joined by his family on this special to discuss holiday memories and traditions. He will also perform some classic holiday songs with a country flair.

THE CLIP SHOW: HOLIDAY EDITION 8 p.m. on NBC. There’s nothing that can bond a family together quite like laughing at people getting humiliated on TV. Matt Iseman and Akbar Gbajabiamila host this show that is a bit like “American’s Funniest Home Videos,” but all the mishaps have to do with ice- and snow-related accidents or awkward presents being given and received.

NATIONAL CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING 8 p.m. on CBS. It was December of 1923 when President Calvin Coolidge held a celebration outside of the White House with a decorated Christmas tree and a performance from the U.S. Marine Band. The tradition carries on 100 years later with performances from Darren Criss, Dionne Warwick and St. Vincent, to name a few.

ELF (2003) 7 p.m. on AMC. Be warned, you should have waffles, maple syrup and marshmallows on hand while watching this movie because it has been known to induce that craving (or, if you don’t have a problematic sweet tooth, it might just turn you off those things). Will Ferrell stars as Buddy, the human who thought his whole life that he was an elf. He ventures to New York City to find his real dad, but on the way gets some tough reality checks and somehow charms a very sweet and blond Zooey Deschanel.

DIE HARD (1988) 9 p.m. on MTV. It is officially that time of the year for the annual fight with your weird uncle about whether or not “Die Hard” is a Christmas movie. In the film, John McClane (Bruce Willis) goes to a holiday party to try to reconnect with his estranged wife (Bonnie Bedelia). During the party, terrorists take over the building and hold everyone hostage — and John has to spring into action. It does take place on Christmas Eve, and there wouldn’t have been a plot if there weren’t an office holiday party, so my vote is that it is a Christmas movie. (But I also watch “Love Actually” and “The Holiday” all year long, so I don’t know if my opinion should be trusted.)

WILLIE NELSON’S 90TH BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION 8 p.m. on CBS. Recorded at the Hollywood Bowl in April 2023, this celebration of Willie Nelson’s 90th birthday will finally be broadcast to let those of us who couldn’t make it to the live show join in. The event is hosted by Jennifer Garner, Chelsea Handler, Woody Harrelson, Ethan Hawke, Helen Mirren and Owen Wilson. Nelson performs along with Sheryl Crow, Snoop Dogg, Norah Jones and the Chicks.

FELLOW TRAVELERS 9 p.m. on Showtime. This is the new show of the fall that I’m surprised that we aren’t all talking about. The story is, at its core, a love story between Hawkins Fuller (Matt Bomer) and Tim Laughlin (Jonathan Bailey). But on the side, it is also a political thriller that dives into the policies and public narratives that were affecting gay communities throughout the second half of the 20th century. The story jumps back and forth in time, from the 1980s, when Tim is sick and is reconnecting with Hawkins, to a different past decade every episode, to explain the intricacies of their relationship.

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