This Thursday, in case you couldn’t work it out from all the “Black Friday” commercials on TV, is Thanksgiving. In terms of beloved family traditions, Thanksgiving ranks several steps below Halloween and a step above Arbor Day. There’s eating involved, certainly. And more eating. And … well, a bunch of TV watching, really. Like the old turkey vs. ham debate, you’ve got two primary choices for the day: parades or football. With that in mind, here’s an hour-by-hour guide to navigating all the TV downtime between servings.
7am—Wake up bright and early with “The Thanksgiving Day Parade on CBS” (KRQE-13). It’s the good old Macy’s Parade in New York, but since CBS doesn’t have a big advertising contract with Macy’s, they leave it off the title. “Entertainment Tonight” host Kevin Frazier and “Entertainment Tonight” correspondent Keltie Knight anchor the broadcast. It’s pretty much your annual dose of marching bands with a bunch of giant advertising balloons on top. If you’d like to change things up with different marching bands and giant balloons, you can check out “McDonald’s Thanksgiving Day Parade” (WGN) broadcasting live out of Chicago.
9am—For late sleepers NBC gets around to the 91st annual “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade” (KOB-4) a couple hours later. Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie and Al Roker of NBC’s “Today” spout balloon-based facts (“That’s the size of one and a half football fields!”) in between introducing a weird mix of singers (98 Degrees, Sara Evans, Flo Rider, Goo Goo Dolls, Patti LaBelle, Wyclef Jean) lip-synching while wearing toques.
10am—With New York and Chicago well covered, The CW head to Detroit for“America’s Thanksgiving Day Parade” (KWBQ-19). It’s just as old as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, having started in 1924—but nobody cares, because it’s in Detroit. This year’s theme is “Woodward! Avenue of Dreams!” … See.
10:30am—The football starts well before lunchtime, so be sure to claim an ass groove in the couch before your out-of-town relatives do. Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions (KRQED2) kicks it off. The Detroit Lions have been taking the field every Thanksgiving since 1934—but nobody cares, because it’s Detroit. To be fair, Minnesota and Detroit are 1 and 2 in the NFC North. But unless you live within pissing distance of a Great Lake, this one’s just a time filler.
12pm—Of course, if you don’t want football or parades, one of your few options is “The National Dog Show” (KOB-4), which is a treat for dog lovers and gives John O'Hurley an excuse to get out of the house.
2:30pm—The Dallas Cowboys have been playing football every Thanksgiving since 1966. This year’s holiday match-up, Los Angeles Chargers at Dallas Cowboys (KRQE-13), pits the 5-5 Cowboys against the 4-6 Chargers, which should be worth viewing.
6:30pm—After you’ve gone back for seconds (or thirds), you can close out the day with New York Giants at Washington Redskins (KOB-4). They’re popular teams, but their current 2-8 and 4-6 records, respectively, put them in the bottom of their division. Go ahead and root for the Redskins—because … you know, everything that happened between the first Thanksgiving and naming a football team the Redskins.