'Peanuts' gang, Rudolph grace tonight's holiday offerings

Tuesday, December 9, 2003

Two networks square off with Christmas specials old and new. For more than 35 years, "A Charlie Brown Christmas" has been among the most beloved of TV traditions. ABC tempts fate with a brand-new Peanuts holiday offering, "I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown" (7 p.m., ABC).

"Dog" puts the spotlight on some of the comic strip's lesser characters, notably Rerun, the skeptical younger brother of Linus and Lucy, as well as Spike, Snoopy's desert-dwelling canine sibling. A review copy of "Dog" was not available.

CBS, the network that used to air "Peanuts" specials, sticks to the tried-and-true with the 1964 animated musical "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" (7 p.m., CBS). This digitally remastered version features songs like "Holly Jolly Christmas."

Speaking of misfits, the live-action fantasy "The Littlest Reindeer" (7 p.m., Animal Planet) blends nature footage with the North Pole legend in a tale about Aurora, a runt of a reindeer who braves a blizzard to pull Santa's sleigh.

Tonight's other highlights

Late night

Danny DeVito and Tim Russert appear on "Late Show with David Letterman" (10:35 p.m., CBS) ... Jay Leno welcomes former president Jimmy Carter and John Mayer on "The Tonight Show" (10:35 p.m., NBC).