Arizona PBS rings in the season with new holiday specials and classics

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PHOENIX – (Nov. 22, 2016)

Arizona PBS celebrates the magic of the season with new specials, children’s programming and holiday favorites.

This year’s lineup includes a diverse collection of specials, including holiday concerts, historical explorations and seasonal episodes of popular series.

“We’re thrilled to top off another year with a diverse lineup of programming that captures the spirit of the holiday season,” said Nancy Southgate, associate general manager of content at Arizona PBS.

“This year, viewers are invited to celebrate the season with American heroes, explore the history behind Christmas, listen to captivating performances of treasured holiday songs sung by celebrated artists, and much more.”

Frontline kicks off the holiday lineup as it traces the origins of Christianity in the special, “From Jesus to Christ” on Dec. 13 at 8 p.m. Viewers will also be treated to a special episode of “Lidia Celebrates America,” in which Lidia Bastianich celebrates the holidays with veterans, discussing the sacrifices that come with service and the importance of family.

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir returns for another year of holiday cheer with an all-new Christmas special featuring Broadway star Laura Osnes and acclaimed British screen actor Martin Jarvis. Jordan Smith, the season nine winner of “The Voice,” continues the festivities in the all-new musical celebration, “Tis the Season,” airing on Christmas Eve at 10 p.m.

Arizona PBS is also bringing back beloved classics, such as “Celtic Woman: Home for Christmas,” “Christmas at Belmont,” and “Christmas in Norway with the St. Olaf Choir.”

“Arizona Encore,” presented on KBAQ 89.5 FM, Classical Arizona PBS (DTV 8.5) and the Classical Arizona PBS mobile app, will feature two holiday-themed editions, including a Phoenix Chorale holiday special. This December also brings hour-long holiday specials of some of PBS KIDS’ most popular series, including “Wild Kratts” and “Peg + Cat,” among others. Capping off the holiday lineup, Arizona PBS invites viewers to ring in 2017 with all-new musical specials from “Live from Lincoln Center,” “Austin City Limits” and “Great Performances.”

A full listing of Arizona PBS’ 2016 holiday programming is included below:

Holiday Specials

Frontline “From Jesus to Christ”
Tuesdays, Dec. 13 and 20, at 8 p.m. Journey back 2000 years to the time and place where Jesus of Nazareth once lived and preached, re-examining familiar assumptions and conventional notions about the origins of Christianity.

Lidia Celebrates America “Holiday for Heroes”
New: Friday, Dec. 16, at 9 p.m.
Join host Lidia Bastianich for an unforgettable holiday special celebrating veterans, who discuss the importance of family during holidays, the challenges and sacrifices of their work and the pride they take in having defended our country.

Christmas with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir featuring Laura Osnes New: Monday, Dec. 19, at 8 p.m.
Broadway star Laura Osnes, acclaimed British screen actor Martin Jarvis and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra perform joyous holiday favorites in the annual Christmas concert at Temple Square. Joining Osnes and Jarvis are four distinguished Metropolitan Opera soloists.

Christmas at Belmont 2015
Monday, Dec. 19, at 9 p.m. Nearly 700 student musicians join the Belmont School of Music faculty and the Nashville Children’s Choir to perform traditional carols, classical masterworks and light-hearted seasonal favorites.

Call the Midwife Holiday Special New: Sunday, Dec. 24, at 7 p.m. Christmastime sees the nuns receive an SOS call from a tiny mission hospital in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. Understaffed, underfunded and with a poor water supply, struggling Hope Clinic is faced with closure. Can the Nonnatus medics and midwives make a difference to the people whose lives depend upon its work? Far from home and everything familiar, the team faces some of their toughest challenges yet with increasingly limited resources.

Celtic Woman: Home for Christmas
Saturday, Dec. 24, at 8 p.m. Enjoy timeless favorites performed with a Celtic twist in this brilliantly staged production.

Christmas in Norway with the St. Olaf Choir
Saturday, Dec. 24, at 9 p.m.
The rich choral music traditions of both America and Norway resound in Nidaros Dom cathedral.

Jordan Smith: ’Tis the Season
New: Saturday, Dec. 24, at 10 p.m.
Jordan Smith, season nine winner of NBC’s “The Voice” performs music from his new Christmas album, joined by special guests.

PBS KIDS hour-long specials

Wild Kratts: A Creature Christmas Monday, Dec. 5, at 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11, at 11 a.m. Friday, Dec. 23, at 7 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Sunday, Dec. 25, at 11 a.m.
Alerted that their favorite creatures are suddenly disappearing, the Wild Kratts’ holiday party turns into a rescue mission.

Peg + Cat + Holidays
Tuesday, Dec. 13, at 11:30 a.m. Peg and Cat help Santa deliver presents and spend Hanukkah with Albert Einstein.

Curious George: A Very Monkey Christmas
Friday, Dec. 16, at 8:30 a.m.
Sunday, Dec. 18, at 8 a.m.

George and The Man with The Yellow Hat are counting down the days until Christmas. There’s only one puzzle: neither of them can figure out what to give the other for a present. Will they be able to find the answers before Christmas morning?

The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Space
New: Monday, Dec. 26, at 2 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 30, at 2 p.m.

The Cat in the Hat takes us on a cosmic adventure through the solar system to assist with Operation Rover Repair.

New Year’s Specials

Live from Lincoln Center “New York Philharmonic New Year’s Eve” New: Saturday, Dec. 31, at 9 p.m. Ring in the new year with a night of American classics, including beloved works by Rodgers & Hammerstein, featuring Joyce DiDonato with the New York Philharmonic.

Austin City Limits “Hall of Fame New Year’s Eve Special” New: Saturday, Dec. 31, at 11 p.m. Celebrate New Year’s Eve as Bonnie Raitt, B.B. King and Kris Kristofferson are inducted into the Hall of Fame. Performers include Willie Nelson, Rodney Crowell, ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons and more.

Great Performances “From Vienna: The New Year’s Celebration 2017” New: Sunday, Jan. 1, at 6:30 p.m.
Join host Julie Andrews as the Vienna Philharmonic performs favorite Strauss family waltzes.

Classical Arizona PBS

Listen on 89.5 KBAQ-FM, DTV 8.5 Classical Arizona PBS and the Classical Arizona PBS mobile app.

Arizona Encore
Tuesday, Dec. 20, at 7 p.m.
In this special holiday edition of “Arizona Encore,” watch performances by chorale ensembles from throughout Arizona as they pay homage to some of the season’s most enduring melodies.

Phoenix Chorale Holiday Special Thursday, Dec. 22, at 7 p.m. The Phoenix Chorale lends their voices to some of the most beloved holiday songs in this all-new special.

More information about classical recordings produced by Central Sound at Arizona PBS is available at:

For more information about Arizona PBS’ holiday programming, please visit:

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