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What’s on TV This Week: Willy Wonka and a ‘West Side Story’ Special


Between network, cable and streaming, the modern television landscape is a vast one. Here are some of the shows, specials and movies coming to TV this week, Nov. 29-Dec. 5. Details and times are subject to change.

WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY (1971) 7 p.m. on AMC. When the reclusive, illusive candy man Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder) opens the doors to his chocolate factory, a young, impoverished boy, Charlie (Peter Ostrum), joins four spoiled children for a wild, mysterious ride. Consider this your golden ticket, granting you entry into the world of magical chocolate-coated trinkets and confections of unusual design, where teacups you can sip from and take a bite out of grow from the ground, and where nothing is as it seems — not even the wallpaper.

AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER (1957) 10:15 p.m. on TCM. While en route to reunite with their respective partners, Nickie Ferrannte (Cary Grant) and Terry McKay (Deborah Kerr) meet, fall passionately in love and devise a plot to rendezvous at the top of the Empire State Building in six months. Will this be time enough to sort out all their current affairs and stay in love? Or will their story of love, like so many others, also be one of heartbreak? (One might notice the parallels between this sentimental classic and the 1993 film “Sleepless in Seattle,” with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.)

89TH ANNUAL CHRISTMAS IN ROCKEFELLER CENTER 8 p.m. on NBC. Join the festivities celebrating the annual lighting of the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center. This year’s tree is a 79-foot-tall, 46-foot-wide Norway spruce from Elkton, Md., that weighs nearly 12 tons. It will be speckled with over 50,000 lights and topped with a Swarovski star. The NBC anchors Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, Al Roker and Craig Melvin will host, with performances by the Radio City Rockettes, Alessia Cara, Norah Jones, Brad Paisley, Rob Thomas, Carrie Underwood and more.

ANNIE LIVE! 8 p.m. on NBC. Taraji P. Henson plays the domineering orphanage matron Miss Hannigan in this live production of the beloved, Tony-winning musical “Annie!” The story follows a spunky little orphan, Annie (Celina Smith), who is determined to find her family. She is taken under the wing of a billionaire, Oliver Warbucks (Harry Connick Jr.), and charms her way around New York City — until her quest to find her parents is interrupted by a wicked plan. In this live production, Tituss Burgess plays Miss Hannigan’s weasel of a brother, Rooster.

THE MASK (1994) 8 p.m. Syfy. Stuck in a daily routine of humdrum, menial tasks, a bank clerk, Stanley Ipkiss (Jim Carrey), is at his wit’s end. Then a mysterious mask appears, giving him the ability to transform into a zany, devil-may-care alter ego. His world spins out of control. Stanley hopes to win over a nightclub performer, Tina Carlyle (Cameron Diaz). But as he falls deeper into the mask’s allure, he risks forgetting who he really is.

MICHAEL JACKSON’S THIS IS IT (2009) 4 p.m. on Showtime. Created from over a hundred hours of footage, this documentary follows Michael Jackson from April 2009 until his death in June of that year, as he rehearsed for a string of shows which had sold out the O2 arena in London. B-roll footage of behind-the-scenes moments and recordings of dress rehearsals capture creativity and determination during the final months of the superstar’s life, though the documentary, released months after Jackson’s death, steers clear of the descriptions of abuse that have become central to his legacy. In her review for The New York Times, Manohla Dargis called the film “weird and watchable, by turns frustrating and entertaining, and predictably a little morbid.”

KINGDOMS OF THE SKY: HIMALAYA 10 p.m. on PBS (check local listings). Set aside an hour to trek across the highest mountain range on earth. Yes, it only takes an hour — if you’re watching from home, that is. Follow along as this episode of “Kingdoms of the Sky” brings the wildlife and the people of the Himalayan mountain range into view.

DIE HARD (1988) 6 p.m. on Syfy. When a New York cop attends a Christmas party in Los Angeles at the exact time its guests are taken hostage, what happens? He takes matters into his own hands. Bruce Willis stars as John McClane, opposite Alan Rickman as McClane’s rival, Hans Gruber, in this action-packed, tongue-in-cheek, take-down-the-bad-guys movie. “The film is largely a special-effects carnival full of machine-gun fire, roaring helicopters and an exploding tank,” Caryn James wrote in her review of the film for The Times in 1988. If the first round isn’t enough, continue the evening with DIE HARD 2 (1990), which follows on Syfy at 9 p.m.

SOMETHING’S COMING: WEST SIDE STORY – A SPECIAL EDITION OF 20/20 7 p.m. on ABC. Before Steven Spielberg’s film adaptation of “West Side Story” hits theaters on Dec. 10, this prime-time program will revisit the history and making of that musical. Catch interviews with artists who helped shape the show, historians and performers from productions both old and new, including Rita Moreno, Chita Rivera, Ansel Elgort, Rachel Zegler, and Ariana DeBose, who, in Spielberg’s movie, has the formidable task of taking on a role once played by Moreno. “Not only am I remaking ‘West Side Story,’” DeBose recently told The Times Style Magazine, “but I’m stepping into Rita Moreno’s shoes — and she is beloved not only by Latinos but by the entire industry and musical fandom.”


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