Televisionland heads into December with holiday shows and some that herald the end of the year and century.
On Wednesday, NBC kicks off the month with "Christmas in Rockefeller Center" at 8, with hosts Matt Lauer and Brandy, plus Britney Spears, 'N Sync, Enrique Iglesias, Rosemary Clooney, Scott Hamilton, cast of the stage's "Saturday Night Fever" and the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes. That's followed by "Garth Brooks & the Magic of Christmas" at 9, with Tony Bennett, Natalie Cole, Trisha Yearwood and a 32-piece big band playing Christmas tunes.
CBS offers the old, beloved chestnuts "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" (Wednesday at 8), "The Year Without a Santa Claus" (Thursday at 8) and "A Charlie Brown Christmas" (Friday at 8). Two new treats air Friday: at 8:30, "Snowden's Christmas," featuring foam latex puppets and the voices of Peter MacNicol, Kathy Najimy, Edward Asner and Michael McKean; and at 9, "The Nuttiest Nutcracker," with Phyllis Diller as the Sugar Plum Fairy, James Belushi as the Evil Mouse King and Cheech Marin as Mac, the macadamia nut. On Saturday at 8, Amy Grant's holiday music special features Tony Bennett, Cece Winans and 98 Degrees.
And Thursday, some of the century's top athletes -- including Muhammad Ali -- will be honored at "Sports Illustrated's 20th Century Sports Awards."
10 MOST FASCINATING PEOPLE
Tuesday at 10 on ABC
Barbara Walters's seventh year-end special will include interviews with Latino singer Ricky Martin; Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura; "All My Children's" Susan Lucci; Viacom owner Sumner Redstone; King Abdullah of Jordan; Joe Torre, manager of the New York Yankees, as well as Monica Lewinsky, the former White House intern. This will be Lewinsky's first television interview since the one she did with Walters last February. The individual Walters decrees to be the Most Fascinating Person of 1999 will be announced on the show.
DOO WOP 50
Wednesday at 8 on MPT,
Saturday at 7:30 on WETA
More than 100 original performers of doo wop -- vocal-group harmony popular during the late 1950s and 1960s -- reunite in a special that stretches more than three hours, including station pledge pitches. The show is hosted by singer-songwriter Jerry "The Iceman" Butler, who began his career during that era, served as chairman of the Rhythm & Blues Foundation and was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. He is a commissioner for Cook County, Ill.
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED'S 20TH CENTURY SPORTS AWARDS
Thursday at 9 on CBS
Bryant Gumbel hosts the two-hour show from New York City's Madison Square Garden honoring the greatest athletes of the century and featuring music by Garth Brooks and Paul Simon.
Forty-two nominees in seven groups will be honored.
Baseball: Henry Aaron, Lou Gehrig, Walter Johnson, Willie Mays, Babe Ruth, Ted Williams.
Hockey: Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe, Mario Lemieux, Bobby Orr, Maurice Richard, Terry Sawchuk.
Football: Jim Brown, Dick Butkus, Otto Graham, Red Grange, Don Hutson, Joe Montana.
Basketball: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Larry Bird, Wilt Chamberlain, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Oscar Robertson.
Olympians: Bonnie Blair, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Carl Lewis, Al Oerter, Jesse Owens, Mark Spitz.
Individual Sports: Men: Muhammad Ali, Rod Laver, Joe Louis, Jack Nicklaus, Sugar Ray Robinson, Pete Sampras. Women: Babe Didrikson-Zaharias, Chris Evert, Steffi Graf, Nancy Lopez, Martina Navratilova, Mickey Wright.
Named as "Athletes Who Changed the Game": Peggy Fleming, Bill Russell, Billie Jean King, Arnold Palmer, Richard Petty, Jackie Robinson and Pele.