Glamour takes backseat in holiday special

Now in its fifth year, the annual special "A Home for the Holidays" (7 p.m., CBS) celebrates parents and families who have opened their doors to adopt children from orphanages and foster homes. Adopted children and their parents share stories that can't help but bring a lump to your throat. This being television, we also hear from celebrities, including Lauren Holly, an adoptive parent, and Jamie Foxx, who was himself adopted. In between anecdotes, No Doubt, Sheryl Crow, Mary J. Blige, Enrique Iglesias, Vince Gill and Amy Grant, and Pat Monahan (Train) perform musical numbers.

  • "On Stage at the Kennedy Center: A Holiday Concert for the Troops with Marvin Hamlisch" (7 p.m., PBS) offers a medley of seasonal favorites performed before an audience of U.S. servicemen and servicewomen. And not all of the military personnel are in the balcony; the Army Chorus sings "Silent Night." Other talent on hand includes Kathy Mattea, Cyndi Lauper and Broadway star Mark McVey.
  • While we're on a musical groove, Fox offers a second chance to catch Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Clay Aiken and other contestants warble holiday tunes on "An American Idol Christmas" (8 p.m., Fox).
  • "The Tabloid Eye" (noon and 6 p.m., History) looks back at the unique brand of sensational journalism that flourished in the first half of the 20th century, before the advent of television. "Eye" concentrates its focus on the New York Daily News, founded in 1919.

Tonight's other highlights

  • Daniel J. Travanti ("Hill Street Blues") stars in the independent feature "Design" (8 p.m., Sundance), about three unrelated folks grappling with life crises.
  • Matthew McConaughey stars in the 1999 comedy "EDtv" (8 p.m., TBS), director Ron Howard's perceptive, amusing and prophetic take on reality television.
  • Amy balks at criminal court duty on "Judging Amy" (9 p.m., CBS).
  • Malloy becomes a fierce advocate for a baseball prospect on "Line of Fire" (9 p.m., ABC).

Late night

Renee Zellweger is booked on "Late Show with David Letterman" (10:35 p.m., CBS) ... Jay Leno welcomes Kirk Franklin on "The Tonight Show" (10:35 p.m., NBC).

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