Diane Werts writes about television for Newsday. Werts previously was the founding editor of Newsday's trend-spotting magazine TV
Don't start with me. Just don't start. I know it's not even Halloween yet, much less Thanksgiving. But Christmas TV is only days away.
Blame the folks at Hallmark Channel. Their first original Countdown to Christmas movie of the year airs Nov. 3 -- that's 52 days before Christmas -- with Natasha Henstridge and Gabriel Hogan starring in 9 p.m.'s "Christmas Song." Hallmark's second 2012 holiday premiere comes Nov. 4 at 9 p.m. with Autumn Reeser and Antonio Cupo in the slightly less jumping-the-gun title "Love at the Thanksgiving Day Parade" -- you know, the big event that used to kick off the Christmas season.
These days, half the hoopla is over by then. Thanksgiving 2012 falls on Thursday, Nov. 22. Lifetime will be nearly two weeks into its annual stunt It's a Wonderful Christmas, which starts Nov. 10 with "The Christmas Consultant," featuring David Hasselhoff and Caroline Rhea. Before you eat turkey, Lifetime will have debuted "The March Sisters at Christmastime" (Nov. 11) with "General Hospital" Emmy winner Julie Marie Berman, "Holiday High School Reunion" (Nov. 17) with Marilu Henner, and "Love at the Christmas Table" (Nov. 18) with Danica McKellar, Lea Thompson and Scott Patterson.
By then, Hallmark Channel will have shown five of its 12 New Movies of Christmas, also including "The Wishing Tree" (Nov. 10) with Jason Gedrick and Erica Cerra, "Matchmaker Santa" (Nov. 17) with Lacey Chabert and Adam Mayfield, and "It's Christmas, Carol!" (Nov. 18) with Carrie Fisher and Carson Kressley.
ABC Family, showing remarkable restraint, doesn't start its now-annual Countdown to the 25 Days of Christmas lead-in to its long-running 25 Days of Christmas stunt -- until Nov. 18. It's practically Thanksgiving by then! What are they, nuts? How will they cram everything in?
Well, they'll follow the new custom of running Christmas series episodes early, too. A special holiday hour of "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" hits ABC Family Nov. 19. Family holiday specials are also in a hurry. Hallmark debuts its new animated special "Jingle and Bell's Christmas Star" on Nov. 23, the same night-after-Thanksgiving when CBS premieres "It's a SpongeBob Christmas!"
That's why we're already keeping tabs on Christmas viewing. Check all holiday season for continuing updates on everything yule tube.