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Thanksgiving Day TV marathons: Here's what's on today

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Disney – Pixar/AP

(Read caption) 'Ratatouille' stars Patton Oswalt and Lou Romano.

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So the turkey is gone, you’ve eaten one last piece of cornbread, and all you have energy for is using the TV remote. What to watch?

This year, broadcast and cable networks are airing various programs to try to keep viewers entertained on Thanksgiving.

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In the morning, NBC is airing Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and Savannah Guthrie, Al Roker, and Matt Lauer will host the program. The parade will be broadcast beginning at 9 a.m. from New York City and will go until 12 p.m. 

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Fox will host the first Thanksgiving Day football game, with the Detroit Lions facing off against the Philadelphia Eagles. Football fans can then switch over to CBS for the game with the Dallas Cowboys and Carolina Panthers, then to NBC for a game with the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears. 

Is a marathon more your style? AMC will be airing the “Godfather” film trilogy, often called some of the best movies of all time. The films center on the Corleone family and their role in organized crime. They star Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, and Diane Keaton and the first movie will air on AMC beginning at 9 a.m. The next two films will follow.

If your family are science fiction fans, BBC America will take you where no one has gone before (except viewers in the 1990s, because these are reruns). The network is airing a marathon of the Patrick Stewart TV show “Star Trek: The Next Generation” beginning at 6 a.m. 

For something the whole family can watch, ABC Family is airing various animated classics beginning in the late morning. For our money, tune in for the Pixar double bill beginning at 3:45 p.m. with “Monsters, Inc.” and “Ratatouille.” 

Those of an inquiring mind can head to the Science Channel, where a marathon of “Mythbusters” will air beginning at 3 a.m. on Thanksgiving.

In our current TV-watching landscape, most viewers would most likely think of Netflix or another streaming platform if they wanted to marathon a show, and that may well be what some viewers turn to for family entertainment on Thanksgiving. However, those services are of course limited to what programs are available there.

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Additionally, for some viewers, knowing what will be airing on TV on Thanksgiving Day may provide a comfort factor – for example, AMC has aired the “Godfather” movies on Thanksgiving before and the James Bond movies are also a staple. 

Industry watchers more often look to the big networks in terms of ratings rather than the cable networks airing marathons, so we know more about how the big networks perform on Thanksgiving Day. The football games usually do incredibly well ratings-wise and so the programs airing against the 8:30 p.m. football game last year, for example, performed less well in the ratings than they did normally, with even CBS’s hit “Two and a Half Men,” which was still on the air at the time, stumbling against Thanksgiving Day football.


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