The pumpkins are having their moment now, but you know what’s around the corner. And when it hits, the reigning King of Christmas networks, Freeform, may be getting it’s Santa Hat knocked right off its head.
This year, AMC has taken away broadcast rights to three-holiday classics that have been known to be Freeform’s age-old 25 days of Christmas programming. From November, three films distributed by Warner Bros.; Elf, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, and The Polar Express, will exclusively air on AMC.
Their absence from Freeform will most likely be felt. They showed Elf and Christmas Vacation about 12 times each over the 25 days. Polar Express also ran about a dozen times.
AMC will be using these movies with about 48 others to kick off new, month-long programming dabbed “Best Christmas Ever.” Christmas will come after Halloween, but the war for specials viewers has begun early.
Audiences have always been excited about the marathons in the festive season, and even in the age of Netflix, that is expected to continue. AMC is not new to seasonal stunts. The October Fear Fest lineup of horror films has been a Halloween tradition for many years, and the Thanksgiving tradition of The Godfather has brought in good ratings. When December knocks on our doors, AMC’s American Movie Classics has offered viewers holiday films.
“Miracle on 34th Street, White Christmas, Home Alone, Scrooged — they always performed extraordinarily well. But they were limited. Five, maybe six movies would be part of the schedule.” said AMC’s executive vice-president of programming and scheduling. The older movies have their audiences for sure, but the newer more modern additions are sure to bring loads more eyes to the station over the holidays. Perhaps the younger audiences will then be drawn to the older films as well.
AMC has also made a deal with Warner Bros. for 12 of the 18 holiday specials produced by the legendary Rankin/Bass production company (The Year Without a Santa Claus, Jack Frost, Rudolph’s Shiny New Year) and signed with DreamWorks for a smattering of more modern specials (Merry Madagascar, Donkey’s Caroling Christmas-tacular). They will also include throwback holiday faves from the 1940s through to the 1980s and 90s, as well as non-holiday family movies like the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and Planes, Trains & Automobiles.
Starting from November 26 AMC may look like a whole new network. They’re programming over 600 hours of holiday specials, switching from the edgy series and adult themed films, to complete holiday joy. The content will run from the 26th of November through Christmas Day.
We’re just left with the question: who will be airing It’s a Wonderful Life?
Shannon Toohey is Editor-In-Chief of FanFest.com. She graduated from Hofstra University in 2015 with a B.A. in Journalism from the Lawrence Herbert School of Communications. Shannon has been a proud member of the Fan Fest team since 2013. Tweet her in your prettiest bird voice: @shannontoo