Off the Wall: Yule be watching Christmas shows

A small town's annual tradition of hosting a A small town's annual tradition of hosting a wishing tree, a bare tree covered with handwritten holiday wishes, becomes the setting for sparks to fly between a lonely English professor (Jason Gedrick) and his friendly colleague (Erica Cerra). Photo Credit: Handout

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Diane Werts Newsday columnist Diane Werts

Diane Werts writes about television for Newsday. Werts previously was the founding editor of Newsday's trend-spotting magazine TV ...

Off the Wall celebrates everything.

YULE FIND HOLIDAY FUN Here come the Christmas shows. The annual Lifetime stunt, "It's a Wonderful Lifetime," launches its first of 10 original movies, "The Christmas Consultant" (Saturday night at 8), starring David Hasselhoff and Caroline Rhea. Already in the swing of the season is Hallmark, which delivers two more festive films: Jason Gedrick in "The Wishing Tree" (Saturday night at 8) and Richard Thomas and Beau Bridges in "The Christmas Secret" (Sunday at 8 p.m.). Both channels fill other weekend hours with holiday flicks, too. And plenty of vintage Christmas sitcom episodes pop up -- "Married With Children"  (Monday at 6:30 a.m., TBS), "Home Improvement" (Monday at 8 a.m., TBS), "The Dick Van Dyke Show" (Tuesday at 9:30 a.m., TV Land), "Frasier" (Tuesday at 10:30 a.m., Lifetime), "Roseanne" (Tuesday at 4:30 p.m., WE), "The Big Bang Theory" (Tuesday at 9:30 p.m., TBS), "My Name Is Earl" (Friday at 7 a.m., TBS), "That '70s Show" (Friday at 7:30 a.m., WWOR/9) and "Burns and Allen" (Friday at 6:30 p.m., Antenna TV).

CULT FAVES CELEBRATE It's the 200th episode of "Family Guy" (Sunday at 9 p.m., Fox/5), the cartoon that survived cancellation, rocked the DVD world, became a cable rerun hit and rose like a phoenix to -- well, see the whole story in Sunday's 9:30 p.m. retrospective half-hour. Then, it's the 10th anniversary of Josh Whedon's little space Western that could, celebrated in "Firefly: Browncoats Unite" (Sunday at 10 p.m., Science). Watch episodes first, Sunday 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Video at science.discovery.com.

MUCH MUSIC It's National Metal Day! So says VH1 Classics, running a marathon from 10 a.m. that includes the new "That Metal Special"  (Saturday night at 8) with Sebastian Bach and Ace Frehley. Sibling channel VH1 has a run of three new intimate hours in its franchise "Storytellers," with Taylor Swift (Sunday at 11 p.m.), Alicia Keys (Monday at 11 p.m.) and Pink (Tuesday at 11 p.m.). Bette Midler and Valerie Simpson chat on "Oprah's Next Chapter" (Sunday at 9 p.m., OWN). The Band Perry hits the road in "Extreme RVs" (Sunday at 9 p.m., Travel). "American Masters" explores the life of an influential 20th century folkster in "Woody Guthrie: Ain't Got No Home" (Tuesday 8-9:30 p.m., Friday 9-10:30 p.m., WNET/13). And key moments in the career of the Rolling Stones are chronicled via fresh footage in "Crossfire Hurricane" (Thursday 9-10:45 p.m., HBO). Stones trailer at hbo.com/docs.

AWARDS ALERT(S) Alan Cumming hosts the 25th "Brittannia Awards" (Sunday 8-10 p.m., BBC America; preshow at 7:30), a Los Angeles ceremony from Britain's BAFTA, saluting those who have "advanced the entertainment arts." This year's honorees include Daniel Day-Lewis, Daniel Craig, Quentin Tarantino, "South Park" creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, and video game designer Will Wright. Meanwhile, Frankfurt hosts this year's "MTV EMA" (Sunday 11 p.m.-1 a.m., MTV2), featuring "Gangnam Style" guy Psy, along with Alicia Keys, Pitbull, Taylor Swift, The Killers, Muse, No Doubt and fun. Details at bbcamerica.com/britannia-awards and ema.mtv.com.

LI ANGLE Roosevelt's favorite son now has been around long enough to merit the all-star tribute "Eddie Murphy: One Night Only" (Wednesday at 10 p.m., Spike). He's honored by new generation stars including Chris Rock, Jamie Foxx, Tyler Perry and Adam Sandler, while The Roots rock the house. Murphymania at spike.com/shows/eddie-murphy-one-night-only.

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