Warm up with shot of Bailey

NBC will repeat the 1946 Frank Capra fantasy, "It's A Wonderful Life" (7 p.m.) for the third and final time this holiday season. Considered a flop when first released on the big screen, the movie fell into public domain and wound up being played repeatedly on television around the holidays. But rather than grow weary of its repetition, viewers made "Life" a Christmas tradition. The Peacock network bought the rights to it a few seasons back and has been carefully rationing out helpings ever since.

A recent poll conducted by the Blockbuster Video chain reveals that participants consider Jimmy Stewart's portrayal of George Bailey to be the most beloved Christmas character of all. He even beats out Santa, who sleds into the No. 2 spot. Ebenezer Scrooge, Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer and Bing Crosby round out the top five. It's nice to note that almost a quarter-century after his death, Crosby and his movies, including "Holiday Inn," "White Christmas," "Going My Way" and "The Bells of St. Mary's," still means Christmas to a lot of people.

� It's got nothing to do with Christmas, but the folks at Turner Classic Movies will unspool the 1939 favorite, "Gone with the Wind" (3 p.m.) in glorious Technicolor. I suggest you tape it, and watch it tomorrow, because tomorrow is another day ...

� AMC repeats its 1999 documentary, "The Great Christmas Movies" (5 p.m.).

� The Bravo Network's 24-hour marathon of Christmas specials, includes "The Three Tenors and Friends Sing Christmas" (5 p.m.) and "Bravo Profiles: Bing Crosby" (10 p.m.).

� One of the few Christmas specials that even mentions the religious basis of the holiday, "A Charlie Brown Christmas" (7 p.m., CBS) has been a favorite since 1965. Last Monday, the 1965 cartoon was a ratings smash.

� On back-to-back repeat episodes of "Everybody Loves Raymond" (CBS,), Ray's quest for a little Christmas sugar is foiled by his family (7:30 p.m.), and Frank and Marie trade in a special gift (8 p.m.).

� There's Mistletoe amidst the toe-tags at a morgue Christmas party on "Becker" (8:30 p.m., CBS).

� The History Channel repeats "Christmas Unwrapped: The History Of Christmas" (8 a.m.), hosted by Harry Smith.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good night of television!

Tonight's other highlights

� Spend four hours with "Founding Fathers" (7 p.m., History), a warts-and-all look at Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Hamilton, Franklin and the other flawed, fascinating greats.

� Tennessee hosts Dallas on "Monday Night Football" (8 p.m., ABC).

� Lynn recoils at her client's dark history on "Family Law" (9 p.m., CBS).

Series notes

Dress code wars on "Boston Public" (7 p.m., Fox) ... Q pops the questions on "Moesha" (7 p.m., UPN) ... Nobody has time to relax with the Rev. on "7th Heaven" (7 p.m., WB) ... Nikki tries to derail Kim's elopement on "The Parkers" (7:30 p.m., UPN).

Elaine wants to adopt a baby abandoned in a nativity scene on "Ally McBeal" (8 p.m., Fox) ... Boyz II Men show up on "The Hughleys" (8 p.m., UPN) ... Death and depression spark an "Wonderful Life" scenario for Harrison on "Popular" (8 p.m., WB) ... Joan feels betrayed on "Girlfriends" (8:30 p.m., UPN).


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