NBC is ringing in the holiday season with its iconic Christmas in Rockefeller Center special on Wednesday, Dec. 2 at 8-10 p.m. ET/PT. Then on Thursday, Dec. 10 at 8 p.m. ET/PT, Tina Fey will host One Night Only: The Best of Broadway.
During the Christmas in Rockefeller Center special, viewers will be treated to festive performances by Kelly Clarkson, Goo Goo Dolls, Earth, Wind & Fire, Brett Eldredge, Jimmy Fallon, Tori Kelly, Leslie Odom Jr., Dolly Parton, Pentatonix, Dan + Shay, Gwen Stefani and Meghan Trainor.
The evening includes a special holiday treat with Clarkson and Eldredge performing together, along with duets featuring Parton and Fallon, and Trainor and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame supergroup Earth, Wind & Fire. The cast from the Tony Award-winning hit Ain’t Too Proud will perform a musical number and the Radio City Rockettes will also make an appearance.
Clarkson, Parton, Pentatonix, Stefani and Trainor will perform at various locations around the country.
NBC News’ TODAY co-anchors Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, Craig Melvin and Al Roker will host.
Prior to the primetime telecast, an additional live hour of the special will be broadcast on all NBC Owned Television Stations as well as many of the NBC affiliates (7-8 p.m. ET. Check local listings). The regional hour will be co-hosted by Access Hollywood‘s Mario Lopez along with NBC4 New York’s Natalie Pasquarella and David Ushery.
“Every year our viewers look forward to NBC’s iconic tree-lighting ceremony,” said Doug Vaughan, Executive Vice President, Special Programs, NBC Entertainment. “There’s something special about kicking off the holiday season with such an awe-inspiring event.”
The tradition of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree dates back to 1931 during the Great Depression. The first official tree-lighting ceremony occurred two years later in 1933 in front of the then eight-month-old RCA Building (the current Comcast Building). The Christmas tree gathering was enhanced in 1936 with the opening of the Rockefeller Plaza outdoor ice-skating pond. NBC-TV televised the tree lighting for the first time in 1951 on The Kate Smith Show and as part of the nationwide Howdy Doody television show from 1953-55.
The 88th annual holiday special will celebrate the lighting of a 75-foot tall, 45-foot wide Norway Spruce from Oneonta, N.Y. The tree weighs approximately 11 tons. It will be adorned with more than 50,000 multi-colored LEDs and will be topped with a stunning Swarovski star.
NBCUniversal will continue its partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation for the 12th year in a row to support tree-planting efforts across the United States. For each of the 50,000 bulbs decorating the Spruce, NBCUniversal will plant a tree in areas that have been affected by wildfires, hurricanes, and other natural disasters. This ongoing partnership is an important annual tradition that has helped to restore forests for future generations to enjoy.
After the tree leaves Rockefeller Center, it will be milled into lumber for donation to Habitat for Humanity and used to build homes in the region.
While the holidays are a time of celebration, there are also many families who are facing extraordinary challenges. At key moments throughout the night, viewers will have the opportunity to donate to Red Nose Day in support of children and families facing hunger and food insecurity this holiday season. In the U.S. alone, an estimated 1 in 4 children in the U.S., or around 18 million, have faced food insecurity in 2020 and may not know where their next meal will come from. Money raised during the broadcast will support programs providing meals to children and families as well as helping to address child hunger and long-term food insecurity both domestically and internationally.
With health and safety the highest concern, there will be no public access to the tree lighting ceremony at Rockefeller Center. The public is invited to view the live national broadcast Christmas in Rockefeller Center from home on NBC.
Christmas in Rockefeller Center is produced by the Emmy Award-winning Brad Lachman Productions. Brad Lachman serves as executive producer, Bill Bracken will co-executive produce and Debbie Palacio directs.
On December 10, Tony Award-nominated Tina Fey (Mean Girls) is set to host two-hour special One Night Only: The Best of Broadway, an unforgettable night of music celebrating the incredible and resilient Broadway community and featuring songs from the Great Bright Way’s top productions.
Several of Broadway’s best shows will take over the streets of New York City with special performances from the casts of Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of The Temptations, Chicago, Jagged Little Pill, Diana: The Musical, Jersey Boys, Mean Girls, Rent and an appearance by the cast of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. The night will also showcase special sneak peaks at Broadway shows coming in 2021.
One Night Only: The Best of Broadway will feature performances by Kelly Clarkson, Brett Eldredge, Patti LaBelle and appearances from Annaleigh Ashford, Lance Bass, Kristen Bell, Ron Cephas Jones, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Peter Gallagher, Josh Groban, Jake Gyllenhaal, Sean Hayes, Nathan Lane, Camryn Manheim, Alanis Morissette, Jerry O’Connell, Leslie Odom Jr., Billy Porter, John Stamos, Aaron Tveit, Blair Underwood, Vanessa Williams, Susan Kelechi Watson and more.
Donations during this special will help provide groceries and medication, health care and emergency financial assistance to those in the Broadway community who are struggling through a pandemic that threatens their health and will shutter their industry for more than a year. For more than 25 years, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS has been helping to support and strengthen The Actors Fund’s safety net of social services, enabling thousands in the entertainment industry receive lifesaving medications, health care, nutritious meals, counseling and emergency financial assistance.
In addition to the telecast, NBCUniversal is making a donation to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. To find out how you can help please go to broadwaycares.org/help2020. “I’m so happy to be a part of this night, raising money for Broadway Cares, and to watch these mega talented people do what they do best,” Fey said.
“With Broadway being crippled by current events, it’s never been more vital to showcase these incredible performers and remind audiences of their extraordinary talents for when they return to the stage,” said Doug Vaughan, Executive Vice President, Special Programs, NBC Entertainment. “We’re proud to partner with Broadway Cares and do our part to help those in that tight-knit community during these difficult times.”
“We are deeply grateful to NBC for making this special evening possible and to the spectacular lineup of Broadway’s best who are so generously sharing their time and talent,” said Tom Viola, executive director of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. “The joy that this special will create will translate into meals and medication, health and hope for those within our Broadway community who are struggling during this pandemic and extraordinary work shutdown.”
The One Night Only: The Best of Broadway telecast is a production of Brad Lachman Productions with Lachman serving as executive producer. Bill Bracken is co-executive producer.