ATLANTA, Oct. 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- As Thanksgiving arrives, holiday programming will transform UP (@UPtv) into "America's Christmas Channel," with over 40 days of uplifting holiday movies, Christmas specials, music and marathons with some of television's most beloved family-favorite series. The network's slate of family-friendly holiday programming launches Monday, November 18 and runs through Tuesday, December 31, 2013.
"We have firmly established ourselves as America's Christmas Channel with 40+ days and 400+ hours of entertaining and uplifting Christmas programming," said Leslie Glenn Chesloff, UP's EVP, programming. "America's families love it, as evidenced by the 55% ratings growth that we saw last year and the double digit growth we anticipate this holiday season. This year, our Christmas programming shines brightly with eight UP Original and Premiere movies and two Christmas specials and more. We clearly are the network destination for holiday and Christmas programming."
Highlights include exclusive world premieres and UP Original Movies, including Marry Me For Christmas, Guess Who's Coming to Christmas, Silver Bells, 3 Day Christmas, Angel in the House, Christmas For A Dollar, Thomas Kinkade's Christmas Miracle, and the UP Original Christmas Special "K-LOVE Music City Christmas Special." In addition, UP will bring back the popular, family-favorite "My Big Fat Waltons Thanksgiving" marathon followed by the exclusive network presentation of the classic family film that started it all – The Homecoming: A Christmas Story.
UP's Christmas season program highlights include the following. All times are EST. See local listings for encore broadcasts:
3 DAY CHRISTMAS – UP Premiere Movie
Premiere: Friday, November 22 at 9 p.m. EST
Martin Taylor has totally lost touch with his family. He has no clue who his teenage daughter's friends are, why his son only communicates with an electronic sign outside his bedroom door, or why his youngest child watches so much TV. Convinced the family needs to reconnect, Martin surprises the wife and kids with a little experiment – he locks them in their own home with no power, no heat, no running water, and absolutely no contact with the world outside! The sudden holiday "stay-cation" isn't what the Taylors had in mind for Christmas, but they'll have to team up to prove they can survive Dad's wacky mission and their wackier relatives. But with a little planning and a whole lot of love, this just might turn into the best Taylor family Christmas yet! Stars: George Newbern, Megyn Price, Taylor Spreitler, Francesca Capaldi, Aidan Potter and Corbin Bernsen.
ANGEL IN THE HOUSE – UP Premiere Movie
Premiere: Sunday, November 24 at 7 p.m. EST
Struggling to adopt a child and unable to conceive one of their own, the Morrison family is in need of a miracle. However, their luck changes when a precocious, funny seven-year-old boy unexpectedly shows up on their doorstep. A heart-warming family tale, Angel in the House is sure to bring out the child in all of us. Stars: Toni Collette, Ioan Gruffudd, Maurice Cole, Richard E. Grant, Hayley Mills and Anne Reid.
THOMAS KINKADE'S CHRISTMAS MIRACLE – UP Premiere Movie
Premiere: Tuesday, November 26 at 7 p.m. EST
Due to an unforeseen road closure, eight strangers are forced to take refuge in an abandoned church during a storm. During their time together, they learn from one another how to manage through various personal dilemmas, and that despite their differences; by working together they can make even the most unlikely miracles happen. Presented by Thomas Kinkade, the beloved "Painter of Light," this uplifting holiday story shares the real meaning of the season -- kindness, understanding and love. Stars: Allison Hossack, Aaron Pearl, David Kykl, Valin Shinyei, Lori Ann Triolo, Randal Edwards and Siobhan Williams.
MY BIG FAT WALTONS THANKSGIVING MARATHON
Thursday, November 28, 9 a.m. to Friday, November 29, 2 a.m. EST
Classic movies and series episodes from "The Waltons" will entertain families on Thanksgiving Day and night: The Thanksgiving Story (1 p.m.), Day for Thanks on Waltons Mountain (3 p.m.), A Waltons Thanksgiving Reunion (5 p.m.), The Homecoming: A Christmas Story (7 and 9:10 p.m.) and "The Best Christmas" (1 a.m.).
SILVER BELLS – UP Premiere Movie
Premiere: Sunday, December 1 at 7 p.m. EST
Bruce Dalt is an ambitious, gung-ho father and local TV sports anchor who approaches the holidays much like he approaches life - competitively. This Christmas, he wants his interior designing wife Piper to win the neighborhood's annual holiday house decorating contest. He wants his son Jason to be the winning basketball player on his high school team. And of course, he wants everyone in the family -- including daughter Kasey, who is in her first year of law school – to win by securing the biggest Black Friday shopping deals before dawn. Bruce Dalt is all "for the win!" This philosophy, however, has put a strain on his family; especially Jason, who has more heart than competitive drive. When Bruce gets into a physical scuffle with a ref at Jason's basketball game, the holidays take a turn for the worse. In no time, the video goes viral. Bruce is then sued, suspended from the anchor desk, and sentenced to community service with The Salvation Army. There, he meets Major Melvin Lowell, who patiently guides Bruce while managing his competitive streak. When Bruce encounters the people in his life from behind the kettle, everything – especially his relationship with his son – begins to change. The Dalts are about to embark on the most meaningful holiday season ever -- all thanks to ringing that signature bell. Stars: Bruce Boxleitner, Bridgett Newton, Kenton Duty, Laura Spencer, Kevin Downes and Antonio Fargas.
K-LOVE MUSIC CITY CHRISTMAS – UP Christmas Special
Premiere: Monday, December 2 at 8 p.m. EST
UP and contemporary national radio powerhouse KLOVE partner to create the very first K-LOVE Christmas music special, hosted by Candace Cameron Bure (UP's Finding Normal, "Full House"). The special will include interviews and performances of beloved Christmas standards and new original songs by top contemporary music artists, including TobyMac, Newsboys with for KING & COUNTRY, Mandisa, Colton Dixon, Kari Jobe, Matthew West, David Crowder and Tenth Avenue North. Taped before a live audience in Nashville, TN. The special will be simulcast nationally to K-LOVE radio listeners.
25TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL: A VERY SPECIAL CHRISTMAS
Thursday, December 5 at 11 p.m. EST
This landmark documentary music special celebrates 25 years of "A Very Special Christmas," the holiday album series benefiting Special Olympics. The special is a blend of new and historical performances, music videos, interviews and inspirational Special Olympic profiles. Featured artists include Francesca Battistelli, Jon Bon Jovi, Sheryl Crow, Martina McBride, John Mellencamp, Tom Petty, Darius Rucker, Run-DMC, Jordin Sparks, Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Train, U2, Stevie Wonder and many more. Hosted by Grammy®, Emmy®, and Tony®-nominated entertainer Vanessa Williams.
GUESS WHO'S COMING TO CHRISTMAS – UP Original Movie
Premiere: Sunday, December 8 at 7 p.m. EST
Jaded rock star Dax is found by New York paparazzi passed out in his car with a frozen holiday turkey in the passenger seat. In order to repair his tarnished image, Dax publicly agrees to grant a fan's "Dear Santa" Christmas wish. To his dismay, his manager Jason drops Dax off in Cedar Grove, a Midwest small town, where he's committed to spend a week and perform in a local holiday Christmas concert. At first, Dax is horrified to be stuck in the Reverend Harding family's home with strict rules and a curfew. But he soon becomes charmed by the Reverend's wife Lynne, teenage son Tim and very surprised contest winner and daughter Kelly, a sassy, unemployed book jacket writer. Dax begins to appreciate what the Hardings have as a family – love, caring and an uplifting holiday spirit. The movie features an original musical duet by Lachey and Porter, entitled "You." Stars: Drew Lachey, MacKenzie Porter, Matt Ward, Peter Lacroix, Ellie Harvie, Evan Bird and Olivia Cheng.
MARRY ME FOR CHRISTMAS – UP Original Movie
Premiere: Saturday, December 14 at 7 p.m. EST
Marcie Jewel is a successful ad executive who is happy with her life. But while all of her cousins are married and having babies, Marcie is the only one who has passed up marriage and motherhood for the sake of her career. As the family prepares for the big Christmas Eve wedding of Marcieʼs favorite cousin, Dana (who also happens to be the last of the cousins besides Marcie to get married), Marcieʼs mom, Stephanie Chandler Jewel, is applying pressure to her daughter to settle down and have children. So she does the only thing she can do: find a fake fiance. Star: Malinda Williams.
CHRISTMAS FOR A DOLLAR – UP Premiere Movie
Premiere: Sunday, December 15 at 7 p.m. EST
The Kamp family is struggling to get by, particularly since Mrs. Kamp's untimely death. The older children do their best to take care of the family, but the younger children -- straight-talking little Ruthie and Norman, a fan of fictional cowboy hero Hopalong Cassidy – struggle most with a bleak-looking future. With their father facing mounting debts resulting from Norman's battle with polio, the siblings expect a Christmas without presents. But when father scrapes together a dollar to use for gifts, things change. As each child comes up with a special gift to give another member of the family, they soon begin to see many of their dearest wishes come true. Perhaps a boy who struggles to walk can become a real cowboy after all. Based on the book by Gale Sears. Stars: Brian Krause, Nancy Stafford, Danielle Chuchran, Heather Beers, James Gaisford, Jacob Buster, Ruby Jones, Ethan Hunt.
Other featured programming on America's Christmas Channel includes the popular UP Premiere Movies Christmas Angel and The Heart of Christmas, as well as holiday favorites Christmas With a Capital 'C', Christmas Snow and The Town Without Christmas.
Starting on Monday, November 18 and running through Tuesday, December 31, all of UP's music blocks will feature all genres of Christmas music.
On December 24 at 8:00 p.m. EST, UP will present its annual Yule Log featuring 24 toasty hours of gospel and Christian music with limited commercial interruption.
UP (www.uptv.com) is America's favorite network for uplifting family entertainment. The network presents original and acquired movies, series, stage plays and music specials along with gMovies, the first faith-friendly streaming movie service. The UP brand is reflected in "Uplift Someone," the network's successful pro-social initiative. UP can be seen in more than 65 million homes on various cable systems around the country, as well as DISH Network on channel 188, DIRECTV on channel 338 and Verizon FIOS on channel 224. Follow UP on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/UPtv, Twitter on @UPtv and Instagram at UP_TV.