Jimmie Allen, Blake Shelton, Alicia Keys among ‘Christmas in Rockefeller Center’ guests

NBC celebrates 90 years of annual tree lighting ceremony

NBC kicks off the holiday season lighting of one of the world’s most famous Christmas trees in the heart of New York City for the 90th time with the annual Christmas in Rockefeller Center special. The two-hour telecast airs Wednesday, November 30th at 8 pm ET/PT.

Viewers will be treated to festive performances by Jimmie Allen, Andrea Bocelli along with Matteo Bocelli and Virginia Bocelli, David Foster and Katharine McPhee, Brett Eldredge, Mickey Guyton, Alicia Keys, The Muppets of Sesame Street, Dan + Shay, Blake Shelton, The Shindellas, Gwen Stefani, Louis York and more. The evening also includes a performance by the Radio City Rockettes from their iconic Christmas Spectacular and a special bit by Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph. Plus, Shelton and Stefani deliver a rare nationally televised duet of their holiday single, “You Make It Feel Like Christmas.”

NBC News’ Today co-anchors Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, Craig Melvin and Access Hollywood host Mario Lopez will host the highly anticipated holiday special.

Prior to the primetime telecast, an additional live hour of the special will be broadcast on all NBC Owned Television Stations and on numerous NBC affiliates nationwide starting at 7 pm ET. Check local listings. This special live hour will be led by Lopez and WNBC news anchors Natalie Pasquarella and David Ushery.

The tradition of the Rockefeller Christmas tree dates back nine decades to 1931 during the Great Depression. The first official tree-lighting ceremony occurred two years later in 1933 in front of the then eight-month-old RCA Building, the current Comcast Building. The Christmas tree gathering was enhanced in 1936 with the opening of the Rockefeller Plaza outdoor ice skating rink. NBC-TV televised the tree lighting for the first time in 1951 on The Kate Smith Show and as part of the nationwide Howdy Doody television show from 1953-55.

The annual holiday special will celebrate the lighting of an 82-foot tall, 50-foot wide Norway Spruce from Queensbury, NY. The tree weighs approximately 14 tons, will be adorned with more than 50,000 multi-colored LED lights and topped with a three-dimensional Swarovski star covered in three million crystals.

NBCUniversal will continue its partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation for the 14th year in a row to support tree-planting efforts across the United States. This year NBCUniversal will plant 25,000 trees in areas that have been affected by wildfires, hurricanes and other natural disasters. The Arbor Day Foundation is the largest nonprofit organization dedicated to planting trees, having helped to plant more than 400 million trees since it was founded almost 50 years ago.

Continuing a longstanding tradition, after the tree leaves Rockefeller Center it will be donated to Habitat for Humanity and milled into lumber that will be used for home building.

At key moments throughout the night, viewers will have the opportunity to donate to Red Nose Day in support of programs that ensure children and families have the access they need to healthcare, nutritious food, quality education and a safe place to call home. Money raised during the broadcast will support critical programs that keep children safe, healthy, educated and empowered through partnerships including Feeding America, Save the Children, Boys & Girls Clubs of America/Native Clubs, Brotherhood Sister Sol, Ali Forney Center, Covenant House and more. Since 2015, Red Nose Day has raised over $324 million and positively impacted the lives of nearly 30 million children in the U.S. and around the world.

Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn

Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites. Email: info@themusicuniverse.com

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