Television special

A television special (often TV special, or rarely "television spectacular") is a stand-alone television show which temporarily interrupts episodic programming normally scheduled for a given time slot. Specials have been produced which provide a full range of entertainment and informational value available via the television medium (news, drama, comedy, variety, cultural), in various formats (live television, documentary, studio production, animation, film), and in any viewing lengths (short films, theatrical films, miniseries, telethons).[1][2]


The types of shows described as television specials include:[2]


The production of early televisions shows was very expensive, with few guarantees of public success, and on-going (weekly) shows typically required a single, major sponsor to operate. As such, a good deal of programming was one-off shows, accommodating smaller sponsors and not requiring a loyal audience following. As the industry matured, this trend reversed; by the 1950s, most networks aimed to provide stable, routine, and proven content to their audiences. Television executives, such as CBS president James Aubrey, sought avoid any disruption in viewing habits which might cause viewers to move to another network. These weekly series, though, typically became too expensive for any single sponsor, so stand-alone shows offered a way to continue accommodating the single-sponsor practice, leading to shows like Amahl and the Night Visitors (1951, sponsored by Hallmark Cards as part of the Hallmark Television Playhouse) and the Ford 50th Anniversary Show (1953, a two-hour variety show simulcast on both CBS and NBC).[1][3][4]

In 1954, NBC president Sylvester Weaver pioneered an innovative style of programming which he called "spectaculars". These stand-alone broadcasts, usually 90 minutes in length, were designed to attract large, new audiences and bring prestige to the network. The spectaculars aired on three nights every fourth week - a major gamble because it controversially broke up viewer routines and risked stable weekly sponsorship deals. To address this, Weaver used his "magazine" style which involved selling segments of each show to a different sponsor - a practice which would evolve into the modern "commercial". The three initial spectacular blocks were Hallmark Hall of Fame (Sundays, produced by Albert McCleery), Producer's Showcase (Mondays, produced by Fred Coe), Max Liebman Presents (Saturdays, produced by Max Liebman). In time, the term "spectacular" was seen as hyperbolic, and so led to the more modern and modest term, "special".[3][4]

In the 1960s, multi-part specials, over several days in a week, or on the same day for several weeks, evolved from this format, though these were more commonly called miniseries. The term "TV special" formerly applied more to dramas or musicals presented live or on videotape (such as Peter Pan) than to filmed presentations especially made for television, which were (and still are) designated as made-for-TV movies.

In pre-cable and pre-home video days, television audiences often had to wait an entire year or more to see a special program or film that had a great impact on first viewing. Online streaming makes it possible for viewers to watch a television show again almost immediately after it is aired, and home video, digital downloads as well as internet television and video on demand, make it possible for the general public to own copies of television shows and films.

See also


  1. ^ a b Brown, Lester L. (1992). "Specials". Les Brown's Encyclopedia of Television (3rd ed.). Gale Research, Inc. pp. 525–526. ISBN 0-8103-8871-5.
  2. ^ a b Terrace, Vincent (2013). "Preface". Television Specials (2nd ed.). McFarland & Company. ISBN 978-0-7864-7444-8. Retrieved 20 April 2018 – via Google Books.
  3. ^ a b Brown, Lester L. (1992). "Spectaculars". Les Brown's Encyclopedia of Television (3rd ed.). Gale Research, Inc. p. 526. ISBN 0-8103-8871-5.
  4. ^ a b O'Dell, Cary. "Encyclopedia of Television - "Special/Spectacular"". Museum of Broadcast Communications. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
AFI's 10 Top 10

AFI's 10 Top 10 honors the ten greatest US films in ten classic film genres. Presented by the American Film Institute (AFI), the lists were unveiled on a television special broadcast by CBS on June 17, 2008. In the special, various actors and directors, among them Clint Eastwood, Quentin Tarantino, Kirk Douglas, Harrison Ford, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Roman Polanski, and Jane Fonda, discussed their admiration for and personal contributions to the films cited.

The entire list of 500 nominated films is available on the American Film Institute website.

To date, this is the final program in AFI's countdown specials.

Andy Samberg

Andy Samberg (born August 18, 1978) is an American actor, comedian, writer, producer, and musician. He is a member of the comedy music group The Lonely Island and was a cast member on Saturday Night Live (2005–2012), where he and his fellow group members have been credited with popularizing the SNL Digital Shorts.Samberg has starred in several films, including Hot Rod (2007), I Love You, Man (2009), That's My Boy (2012), Celeste and Jesse Forever (2012), Hotel Transylvania (2012), Hotel Transylvania 2 (2015), Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (2018), Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (2016), and Storks (2016).

Since 2013, he stars as Jake Peralta in the police sitcom Brooklyn Nine-Nine, for which he was awarded a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy in 2014.

Christmas by medium

Christmas themes have long been an inspiration to artists and writers. Moviemakers have picked up on this wealth of material, with both adaptations of literary classics and new stories.


The Coneheads was a recurring sketch on Saturday Night Live (SNL) about a family of aliens with bald conical heads. It originated in the 1977 premiere on January 15th (episode 35: season 2 episode 11) and starred Dan Aykroyd as father Beldar, Jane Curtin as mother Prymaat, and Laraine Newman as daughter Connie. It was later made into the movie.

Elvis (1968 TV program)

Singer Presents...Elvis (commonly referred to as the '68 Comeback Special) is a television special starring singer Elvis Presley, aired by NBC on December 3, 1968. It marked Presley's return to live performance after seven years during which his career was centered in the movie business. Presley was unhappy with his distance from musical trends of the time, and the low-quality movie productions he was involved in.

Initially planned as a Christmas special by the network, and Presley's manager Colonel Tom Parker, producer Bob Finkel transformed the idea. He hired director Steve Binder to update Presley's sound, and to create a special that would be current and appeal to a younger audience. Filming took place in June 1968 at NBC's Burbank Studios. The show consisted of a sit-down section, stand-up numbers and two musicals. The sit-down session showcased Presley in an informal setting, surrounded by fans and small band. The stripped sound, and intimate atmosphere would become the forerunner to MTV Unplugged.

The special garnered good reviews when it aired, topped the Nielsen television ratings for the week, and was the most watched show of the season. Later known as the "Comeback Special", it re-launched Presley's singing career and his return to live performance.

Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media

The Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media is an honor presented to a composer or composers for an original score created for a film, TV show or series, video games or other visual media at the Grammy Awards, a ceremony that was established in 1958 and originally called the Gramophone Awards. Honors in several categories are presented at the ceremony annually by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States to "honor artistic achievement, technical proficiency and overall excellence in the recording industry, without regard to album sales or chart position".It has been awarded since the 2nd Annual Grammy Awards in 1959. The first recipient was American composer and pianist Duke Ellington, for the soundtrack to the 1959 film Anatomy of a Murder. Originally known as the Grammy Award for Best Sound Track Album – Background Score from a Motion Picture or Television, the award is now known as the Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media. Until 2001, the award was presented to the composer of the music alone. From 2001 to 2006, the producer and engineers shared in this award. In 2007, the award reverted to a composer-only award. John Williams holds the record for most wins and nominations for the award, with eleven wins out of thirty-two nominations.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (TV special)

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (also known as Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas!) is a television special directed and co-produced by Chuck Jones. It is based on the eponymous children's book by Dr. Seuss, the story of the Grinch trying to take away Christmas from the townsfolk of Whoville below his mountain hideaway. Originally telecast in the United States on CBS on December 18, 1966, it went on to become a perennial holiday special. The special also features the voice of Boris Karloff as the Grinch and the narrator.

Matthew Lillard

Matthew Lyn Lillard (born January 24, 1970) is an American actor, voice actor, director, and producer. He is known for portraying Chip in Serial Mom (1994), Emmanuel "Cereal Killer" Goldstein in Hackers (1995), Stu Macher in Scream (1996), Stevo in SLC Punk! (1998), Billy Brubaker in Summer Catch (2001), Jerry Conlaine in Without a Paddle (2004), Dez Howard in The Groomsmen (2006), Joey in Home Run Showdown (2012), Jack Rusoe in Return to Nim's Island (2013) and Shaggy Rogers in both Scooby-Doo (2002) and Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (2004). In animation, he has been the current voice of Shaggy since veteran actor Casey Kasem retired from the role. Lillard also stars as Dean Boland in the ongoing television series Good Girls.

While much of his work is comedic in nature, Lillard has given dramatic performances in The Descendants (2011), Trouble with the Curve (2012) and Match (2014). He made his directorial debut with the coming-of-age drama Fat Kid Rules the World (2012).

Neil Patrick Harris

Neil Patrick Harris (born June 15, 1973) is an American actor, writer, producer, comedian, magician, and singer. He is known primarily for his comedy roles on television and his dramatic and musical stage roles. On television, he is known for playing the title character on Doogie Howser, M.D. (1989–1993), Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother (2005–2014, for which he was nominated for four Emmy Awards), and Count Olaf in A Series of Unfortunate Events (2017–2019).

Harris is also known for his role as the title character in Joss Whedon's musical Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog (2008) and a fictional version of himself in the Harold & Kumar film series (2004–2011). His other films include Starship Troopers (1997), Beastly (2011), The Smurfs (2011), The Smurfs 2 (2013), A Million Ways to Die in the West (2014), and Gone Girl (2014). In 2014, he starred in the title role in Hedwig and the Angry Inch on Broadway, for which he won the 2014 Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical.

Harris has hosted the Tony Awards in 2009, 2011, 2012, and 2013, for which he won several special class Emmy Awards. He also hosted the Primetime Emmy Awards in 2009 and 2013, and hosted the 87th Academy Awards in 2015, thus making him the first openly gay man to host the Academy Awards.Harris was named one of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People in 2010. He is married to David Burtka. In 2010, they had twins via surrogacy.

Out to Lunch (TV program)

Out to Lunch is a prime-time television special that was broadcast on December 10, 1974, on ABC, from 9 to 10pm ET. It mixed the Sesame Street Muppets and the cast of The Electric Company along with guest stars Elliott Gould, Barbara Eden and Carol Burnett. This is the first and one of the few Sesame Street-related productions directly produced by Henson Associates (the others being the 1983 television special Big Bird in China, and the 1985 feature film Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird, and the 1989 television special Sesame Street… 20 Years & Still Counting, and the 1996 television special Elmo Saves Christmas, and the 1998 television special Elmopalooza!, and the 1999 feature film The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland).

A member of the Electric Company cast, Rita Moreno, received an Emmy nomination in 1975 for her participation in the show in the category of Outstanding Continuing or Single Performance by a Supporting Actress in Variety or Music.

Return to Oz (TV special)

Return to Oz is a 1964 animated television special produced by Crawley Films for Rankin/Bass Productions (Videocraft). It first aired 9 February 1964 in the United States on NBC's The General Electric Fantasy Hour. It was directed by F. R. Crawley, Thomas Glynn and Larry Roemer from a teleplay by Romeo Muller, who later wrote Dorothy in the Land of Oz.

Crawley Films also produced the earlier 1961 animated series Tales of the Wizard of Oz and brought similar artistic character renditions to the special. There is also a 1985 live-action Disney film of the same name.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (TV special)

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is a 1964 Christmas stop motion animated television special produced by Videocraft International, Ltd. (later known as Rankin/Bass Productions) and currently distributed by Universal Television. It first aired Sunday, December 6, 1964, on the NBC television network in the United States, and was sponsored by General Electric under the umbrella title of The General Electric Fantasy Hour. The special was based on the Johnny Marks song "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" which was itself based on the poem of the same name written in 1939 by Marks' brother-in-law, Robert L. May. Since 1972, the special has aired on CBS; the network unveiled a high-definition, digitally remastered version of the program in 2005. As with A Charlie Brown Christmas and How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Rudolph no longer airs just once annually, but several times during the Christmas and holiday season on CBS. Unlike other holiday specials that also air on several cable channels (including Freeform), Rudolph airs only on CBS. It has been telecast every year since 1964, making it the longest continuously running Christmas TV special in history. 2014 marked the 50th anniversary of the television special and a series of postage stamps featuring Rudolph were issued by the United States Postal Service on November 6, 2014.

Shah Rukh Khan filmography

Shah Rukh Khan (also credited as Shahrukh Khan) is an Indian actor, producer and television personality. Khan began his acting career on television by playing a soldier in the Doordarshan series Fauji (1988), a role that garnered him recognition and led to starring roles in more television shows. He soon started receiving film offers and had his first release with the romantic drama Deewana (1992), in which he played a supporting part. Khan subsequently played villainous roles in the 1993 thrillers Baazigar and Darr, box office successes that established his career in Bollywood. In 1995, Khan starred opposite Kajol in Aditya Chopra's romance Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, that became the longest running Indian film of all time. He continued to establish a reputation in romantic roles by playing opposite Madhuri Dixit in Dil To Pagal Hai (1997), and Kajol in the Karan Johar-directed Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998) and Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham... (2001).In 1999, Khan collaborated with Aziz Mirza and Juhi Chawla to start a production company, Dreamz Unlimited, whose first release was the comedy-drama Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani (2000) starring Khan and Chawla. The film was a commercial failure as was their next production, Aśoka (2001), which led critics to believe that the end of Khan's career was imminent. Khan's career prospects, however, improved in 2002 when Sanjay Leela Bhansali cast him alongside Dixit and Aishwarya Rai as a depressed lover in Devdas, a period romance that garnered Khan critical acclaim. In 2004, he collaborated with his wife Gauri Khan to launch another company, Red Chillies Entertainment, whose first feature was the box office hit Main Hoon Na (2004). Khan's popularity continued to increase in the 2000s as he played the romantic lead opposite younger actresses, most notably Rani Mukerji and Preity Zinta, in several top-grossing productions, including Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003) and Veer-Zaara (2004). He also played against type as a NASA scientist in the drama Swades (2004), a hockey coach in the sports film Chak De! India (2007), and an autistic man in the drama My Name Is Khan (2010). From 2007 onwards, Khan began to star opposite a third generation of heroines, most notably opposite Deepika Padukone in Om Shanti Om (2007) and Anushka Sharma in Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi (2008). Khan went on to co-star with Padukone in the action-comedies Chennai Express (2013) and Happy New Year (2014), and reunited with Kajol in Dilwale (2015), all of which grossed over ₹3.4 billion (US$47 million) to rank among the highest-grossing Indian films. He then starred alongside Sharma in Jab Harry Met Sejal (2017) and Zero (2018), both of which were commercially unsuccessful.Seventeen of Khan's films have grossed over ₹1 billion (US$14 million) in global ticket sales. With eight Filmfare Awards for Best Actor, he shares the record for the most wins in the category with Dilip Kumar. Khan has also starred in several non-fiction films that have documented his popularity, including the Nasreen Munni Kabir-directed documentary The Inner and Outer World of Shah Rukh Khan (2005). From 2003 onwards, he has hosted several award ceremonies, including ten Filmfare Awards and six Screen Awards. In addition, he has featured as the host of four television game shows, including Kaun Banega Crorepati (2007), and the talk show TED Talks India Nayi Soch (2017–present).

Sinatra (TV program)

Sinatra: Featuring Don Costa and His Orchestra was a 1969 Emmy nominated television special starring Frank Sinatra, broadcast Wednesday, November 5, 1969, on CBS.

TCB (TV program)

TCB is a 1968 television special produced by Motown Productions and George Schlatter–Ed Friendly Productions of Laugh-In fame. The special is a musical revue starring Motown's two most popular groups at the time, Diana Ross & the Supremes and The Temptations. Containing a combination of showtunes, specially prepared numbers, and popular Motown hits, the special was taped before a live studio audience in September 1968 and originally broadcast December 9, 1968 on NBC, sponsored by the Timex watch corporation. The title of the program uses a then-popular acronym, "TCB", which stands for "Taking Care of Business".

Among the program's highlights were Diana Ross' "Afro Vogue" solo spot, Paul Williams' emotionally charged rendition of "For Once in My Life," a cover by both groups of the Aretha Franklin version of Otis Redding's "Respect," and then-new Temptations lead singer Dennis Edwards' lead performance on "(I Know) I'm Losing You," a song considered a signature for his predecessor, David Ruffin.

Pre-empting Laugh-In on Monday night, TCB was the first musical TV special of the rock era to air on American broadcast television. It exceeded all performance expectations, winning its timeslot in the ratings and becoming the top-rated variety show of 1968. A soundtrack album, TCB – The Original Cast Soundtrack was released a week before the special aired on December 9 and reached #1 on the U.S. Billboard Top 200 albums chart. It also became the third #1 album for Diana Ross and The Supremes.

TNA Genesis

Genesis was an annual professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event promoted by Impact Wrestling (formerly TNA). The name was originally used on May 9, 2003 for a two-hour DirecTV special that highlighted early moments in TNA’s history.Genesis was actually not amongst the original names used by TNA for its first twelve pay-per-view events, but ultimately was added to the rotation as the thirteenth pay-per-view name during a time of name shuffling on the part of TNA Management. All shows except for one has been held at the Impact Zone. Originally Genesis was held in November but was changed to January starting in 2009. For this reason 2008 didn't have a Genesis PPV event. There have only been five World Championship matches in the main event. On January 16, 2014, Genesis was televised as an Impact Wrestling television special on Spike TV. On February 2, 2017, Genesis was televised as an Impact Wrestling television special on Pop.

The Cat in the Hat (TV special)

The Cat in the Hat is an American animated musical television special first aired on CBS on July 4, 1971, based on the 1957 Dr. Seuss children's book of the same name, and produced by DePatie–Freleng Enterprises. With voices by Allan Sherman and prolific vocal performer Daws Butler, this half-hour special is a loose adaptation with added musical sequences.

You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown (TV special)

You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown is the 29th prime-time animated musical TV special based upon the comic strip Peanuts, by Charles M. Schulz. This adaptation of the 1967 musical You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown originally aired on the CBS network on November 6, 1985. The special was produced by Charles M. Schulz Creative Associates. It is the first Peanuts special to have input from the Japanese animation studio, Studio Pierrot, and like the other specials, had input from Toei Animation, also from Japan.

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