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TV’s Christmas Rush: Inside the Mad Scramble to Produce Holiday Programming

From Hallmark movies and Netflix specials to Christmas light fights, ’tis the season for bonus programming and cheer.

“Nailed It! Holiday,” “A Shoe Addict’s Christmas,” “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina,” “The Great Christmas Light Fight”

Netflix, Hallmark Channel, Netflix, ABC

As amusing as Christmas light displays are in October, that will change going forward. The current Season 6, which will air its finale on December 17, was the last one to be shot in the same year it’s airing. The show will now to shift its production to a full calendar year in advance, shooting next Christmas’ show from actual Christmas displays this year.

“Finally after four seasons they said, ‘Okay, we feel pretty good about the future of this series,’ and we pitched that we would do two seasons back-to-back and allow ourselves to get a year ahead,” said Connell. “That’s what happened last production year, in 2017. Now we’re on a November schedule which is pretty normal for the families, and that’s what we’ll be doing from now on.”

"Nailed It!"

“Nailed It!”

Adam Rose / Netflix

Netflix reality show “Nailed It!” is a newbie to the holiday specials game, having only made its Netflix debut this past March, shortly after which the show found out it would produce additional content for the holidays. The show was already shooting a second season for a summer run; therefore the holiday-themed episodes released on Dec. 7 constitute the show’s third season.

While “The Great Christmas Light Fight” opened one episode up to heavyweights – churches, schools, parks, and even zoos decorated for Christmas – “Nailed It!” took its holiday season in unexpected directions. It delivered episodes built around Hanukkah, New Year’s Eve, and even a non-baking DIY installment, in which contestants attempt to replicate the ultimate ugly Christmas sweater adorned with ruching, an elf, and a Christmas tree.

“As producers, we are thinking of how you can extend the ‘Nailed It!’ brand,” said executive producer Jane Lipsitz. “DIY is another huge thing on the web, in the digital and social space where it’s embracing these kinds of disasters, lots of DIY disasters. It just felt like it would be a really fun thing to try.”

Winter holiday programming doesn’t have to end with Christmas. The end of the “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” holiday episode hints at the Christian holiday of Epiphany. Meanwhile, Hallmark extends its Christmas programming through January 6, at which point the network switches over to its Winterfest season, which airs original rom-coms that are set during the winter but not at Christmas.

“We have to deliver holiday movies while people are still on vacation and enjoying the holiday season,” said Vicary. “Certainly during Countdown to Christmas and Miracles of Christmas, we haven’t hit that line of too much, that line in the snow.”

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