Tune In Tonight: Movies make Christmas countdown

ABC Family begins its “25 Days of Christmas” programming countdown of holiday movies and specials, a tradition on the channel since 1996.

As it does every year, “25 Days” combines well-worn holiday favorites with a handful of original offerings. Things kick off with the 2003 comedy “Elf” (7 p.m. Saturday). Will Ferrell is perfectly cast as the misfit foundling man-child who believes he’s one of Santa’s toymakers.

Look for Zooey Deschanel as the reluctant object of his affection, a character that contributed to her typecasting as the slightly offbeat bohemian beauty, a role that has followed her in such projects as “(500) Days of Summer” to the not-so-new “New Girl” on Fox.

Among the original offerings from ABC Family this season is musical comedy “The Mistle-Tones,” airing Sunday, Dec. 9.

Viewers who like their holiday fare more traditional can feast on “It’s a Wonderful Life” (7 p.m. Saturday, NBC, TV-G). This 1946 film, much like “The Wizard of Oz,” only became popular once it began airing repeatedly on television.

• While on a jungle rescue mission, soldiers encounter insects that breathe fire in the 2012 shocker “Dragon Wasps” (8 p.m. Saturday, Syfy). Look for Corin Nemec in the lead role. The “Parker Lewis Can’t Lose” vet is no stranger to these grade-B monster movies. You may remember him in “Mansquito,” ‘‘Raging Sharks,” ‘‘S.S. Doomtrooper,” ‘‘RoboDoc,” ‘‘Sea Beast” and “Sand Sharks.”

Saturday’s other highlights

• College football games include the Big Ten Championship, featuring Wisconsin and Nebraska (7 p.m., Fox); Texas at Kansas State (7 p.m., ABC); the ACC Championship, featuring Florida State and Georgia Tech (7 p.m., ESPN); Pittsburgh at South Florida (6 p.m., ESPN 2).

• A man wagers he can win a wife by the holidays in the 2012 romantic comedy “A Bride for Christmas” (7 p.m., Hallmark).

• Scheduled on “48 Hours” (9 p.m., CBS): “The Hunt for Mr. Wright.”

• A gig at an adult prom brings its own peculiar challenges on “Wedding Band” (9 p.m., TBS).

• Daniel Craig hosts “Saturday Night Live” (10:30 p.m., NBC), featuring musical guest Muse.

Copyright 2012 United Feature Syndicate, distributed by Universal Uclick.


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