Ultimate Guide to Thanksgiving TV

From show marathons to football games to the latest offerings on Netflix, we have your viewing needs covered

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Sure, you’ve got a pair of parades, the Peanuts gang celebrating holidays, the National Dog Show and plenty of NFL football on Thanksgiving Day, but don’t forget about multiple-episode airings of Cops, Castle, Swamp People and so much more. (Really, nothing makes you want to say “thanks” quite like Swamp People.)

And TV networks seem happy to cater to those who look forward to spending many consecutive hours on the couch (coming up only to scarf down turkey or do some online shopping), running holiday specials and day-long marathons of popular shows and movies. For these hardy souls, we’ve picked out some of the best — and oddest — Thanksgiving week viewing options.

Wednesday, Nov. 27

• Gone With the Wind  [AMC, 10 AM]  To mark “Gone With the Wednesday,” AMC will offer four consecutive airings of the 1939 film classic.

Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown  [ABC Family, 4 PM]  Followed by Snoopy, Come Home; Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (and Don’t Come Back); A Boy Named Charlie Brown.

Duck Dynasty marathon  [A&E, 7 PM to 4 AM] The first(!) of A&E’s two Thanksgiving week DD marathons.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles [The CW, 8 PM]  John Candy = The Greatest.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Everett Collection

American Pickers marathon [History, 11 AM to 10 PM ] With a new episode airing at 9 pPM

SNL Thanksgiving  [NBC, 10 PM]  A two-hour compilation of Saturday Night Live‘s Thanksgiving-themed moments.


Thursday, Nov. 28

Swamp People marathon [History, 7 AM to 6 PM] Over the river and through the swamp…

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade  [CBS and NBC, 9 AM] The two networks offer coverage (with different cameras and hosts, of course) of the Big Apple event.

 Cops marathon [Spike, 9 AM to 9 PM]  A holiday celebration of the “men and women of law enforcement”

•  Friends marathon [TBS, 10 AM to 5PM]  Could there be any more reason to sit down and watch?

•  Castle marathon  [TNT, 10 AM to 11 PM]  Wait, 3XK is back?

The Godfather and The Godfather Part II   [AMC, 11:30 AM] Back-to-back airings of the original, followed by Part II. A great message for the holiday season: Don’t ever take sides against the family.

The National Dog Show  [NBC, noon] Hosted by Broadway (and Seinfeld) star John O’Hurley.

Monster Fish marathon  [Nat Geo Wild, noon to 2 AM ]  Looks like someone’s angling for a dinner invitation.

Harry Potter marathon  [ABC Family, 1 PM] Three days of the Potterverse, ending with the network premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 at 8 PM on Saturday, Nov. 30.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions  [FOX, 12:30] Aaron Rodgers won’t be playing — and which Matthew Stafford will we be seeing?

Property Brothers marathon [HGTV,  3PM to 10 PM] Is it us, or do those reno budgets seem kind of low?

Oakland Raiders at Dallas Cowboys  [CBS, 4:30] Can the Dallas D — weak against the run — contain the Raiders’ Rashad Jennings?

Duck Dynasty marathon  [A&E, 6 PM to 4 AM] The second half of the Thanksgiving marathon — dynasty, indeed

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving  [ABC, 8 PM]  We once ate a Thanksgiving dinner on a ping-pong table.

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens  [NBC, 8:30] Match-ups between two 5-6 teams don’t get any better than this.

Lady Gaga & The Muppets’ Holiday Spectacular  [ABC, 9:30 PM]  Kinda late for the kids — but maybe that’s for the best.


Thanksgiving on Netflix:

• A slew of Thanksgiving-themed episodes from Glee (season 4, episode 8), How I Met Your Mother (S4/E9) New Girl (S1/E6), Mad Men (S5/E9), Grey’s Anatomy (S2/E9), Everybody Loves Raymond (S3/E10), Cheers (S1/E6) and Parenthood (S2/S10).


Friday, Nov. 29

•  Shrek marathon [TBS, 9:45 AM to 3:45 PM]  Ogre the river and through the woods…

Hitchcock-movie marathon  [AMC, 9 PM to 8 AM ] Vertigo, Rear Window, Psycho (pictured), and The Birds

Populist: Psycho

Paramount Pictures / Getty Images

Garth Brooks: Live from Las Vegas  [CBS, 9 PM] The country singers ends his 3-year residency at the Wynn Las Vegas with a televised two-hour special.


Saturday, Nov. 30

Stephen Seagal-movie marathon  [AMC, 11 AM]  Um, sure, why not.

Steven Seagal

Time Life Pictures / Getty Images


All Weekend

Network and cable television aren’t the only places to find some Thanksgiving-related entertainment. Check out Netflix, Hulu and others for streaming content and even turn online for some fresh fun.

Mystery Science Theater 3000 [online]  MST3K a name for itself by running Thanksgiving marathons in the 1990s. It’s back this year, for the first time since 1997, with founder Joel Hodgson hosting a new series online at www.mst3kturkeyday.com.

Mystery Science Theater 3000 - Puppeteers, from left, Jim Mallon, Trace Beaulieu and Kevin Murphy pose on the set of "Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie"

Michael Kienitz / AP Photo

Mystery Science Theater 3000 [ Netflix] Just added to the streaming library: 5 new Mystery Science Theater 3000 movies

New to Netflix:

They’ve upped its holiday movie offerings, including everything from Saving Santa and Miracle on 34th Street to White Christmas (pictured) and loads of animated fun from the Peanuts gang. Plus, have a little fun with National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Don’t worry, if you just want new movies, there’s a fresh slate of those too, with the lastest Bond film Skyfall leading the way.

Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney and Danny Kaye sit at the bottom of a staircase during a dance number in a scene from the film 'White Christmas', 1954

Paramount / Getty Images