TV best bets with Ellen DeGeneres stand up, ‘Survivor’ finale, ‘Timeless’ series finale

Originally posted Sunday, December 16, 2018 by RODNEY HO/ on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

As Christmas approaches, repeats of holiday movies flicker across the TV screens and most broadcast TV shows take a brief hiatus.

This week’s options include Ellen DeGeneres’ first stand-up special in 15 years, a comedy special hosted by Howie Mandel and the 37th season finale of a super entertaining season of “Survivor.” 

And NBC’s cult favorite “Timeless” gets to say goodbye with a two-hour series finale/movie. 

This covers Monday, December 17 through Sunday, December 23, 2018.


“The Great Christmas Light Fight” 8 p.m. ABC(sixth season finale) — Festive families from across the country showcase their spectacular displays.

“Bleed Out” 8 p.m. HBO — Medical error is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. After a routine operation leaves the mother of filmmaker and comedian Steve Burrows in a coma with permanent brain damage, what starts as a personal video diary becomes a citizen’s investigation into the state of American health care.

“The Neighborhood” 8 p.m. CBS — Tina gets carried away when she tries to help Gemma ace her first fundraiser as school principal.

“The Voice” 8 p.m. NBC — Live finale part one.

“Christmas with the Mormon Tabernacle” 9 p.m. GPB — Sutton Foster and Hugh Bonneville join in.

“The Year in Memoriam” 10 p.m. ABC —A celebration of the lives and legacies of notable people who passed away in 2018, including Aretha Franklin, John McCain, Burt Reynolds, Stephen Hawking, and Barbara Bush.

“America's Got Talent” 10 p.m. NBC— Terry Crews, host of "America's Got Talent: The Champions," takes viewers on a festive journey celebrating a variety of previous AGT contestants, including magicians, singers, danger acts and more


“Ellen DeGeneres: Relatable” 3:01 a.m. Netflix — The popular talk-show hosts makes self-effacing jokes about how "relatable" she is and whether that is reality or not. 

“The Greatest Holiday Commericals Countdown” 8 p.m. the CW — This is the type of special that clearly costs very little since the primary content is... ads. 

“The Greatest Holiday Video Countdown” 9 p.m. the CW — Mariah Carey, anyone?

“Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath” 9 p.m. A&E — If anyone has done a better job puncturing Scientology's bubble, it's been Leah Remini. 

“The Voice” 9 p.m. NBC (15th season finale) — Gold Derby thinks country singer Kirk Jay is in the best position to win. 

“Chrisley Knows Best” 10 p.m. USA (sixth season finale) — In a desperate attempt to get Chase to move to Nashville, Todd offers him their house that he's already promised to Savannah; the ladies can't get enough of Alison's new hot pool instructor.

“The Guest Book” 10:30 p.m. TBS (second season finale) — Dave is in an unhappy marriage and uses his family vacation as an excuse to finally stand up to his nagging wife; the stress of the event sends Dave on an adventure he never could have dreamed of.


“Overthinking With Kat & June” 3:01 a.m. YouTube (new series) — The half hour comedy series will focus on the inner thoughts of two women as they form a strange but beautiful friendship.

“Survivor” 8 p.m. CBS (37th season finale) — With Christian out, it's anybody's game but actor/writer/producer Mike White ("School of Rock") is in a surprising position to win it all. 

“The Real Housewives of New Jersey 9 p.m. Bravo — Margaret hosts a brunch leading to a big blowup; Teresa, Melissa, Joe Gorga, and Margaret head to Danielle's wedding, but tensions run high between Teresa and her brother; Melissa worries their family drama could ruin Danielle's special day.

“Vikings” 9 p.m. History — Festivities for Ivar continue in Kattegat. Floki makes a decision. Harald's army goes to Wessex.


“The 4th Annual Howe Mandel Stand-up Special” 8 p.m. the CW — Featuring some of the hottest comedians today including Amanda Seales, Maz Jobrani, Lil Rel Howery, Laurie Kimlartin, Garfunkel and Oates, and many others. 

“Timeless” 8 p.m. NBC (two-hour series finale)  The series finale. Christmas arrives in the Bunker, and the Time Team is inspired by a visit from their future selves to find a way to try to save Rufus.

“The Great American Holiday Baking Show” 9 p.m. ABC (fourth season finale)  Five finalists face their final three bakes, all hoping to make it to the final round. With their toughest challenges ahead, like French custards and cakes, the heat is on where only one baker will be named America's Best Amateur Baker.

“Top Chef” 9 p.m. Bravo Richard Blais and Brooke Williamson present a Quickfire challenge; chef Eric Ripert sits down with the chefs to enjoy a traditional French Christmas dinner; Padma tells the chefs they're missing the final part of the tradition of Le Revillon de Noel.

“WWE Tribute to the Troops” 9 p.m. USA  This will feature a special appearance by Jon Stewart and rising country music star Morgan Wallen

“Murphy Brown” 9:30 p.m. CBS (11th season finale)  The gang tries to distract Murphy from worrying about Avery's assignment in Kabul by getting her to attend the special 100th anniversary New Year's Eve celebration at Phil's Bar.

“Watch What Happens Live” 11 p.m. Bravo  Andy Cohen brings back the original surviving "housewives" from various franchises including NeNe Leakes, Teresa Guidice and Bettheny Frankel. 


“3 Below” 3:01 a.m. Netflix (new series)  After crash-landing on Earth, two royal teen aliens on the run struggle to blend in with humans as they evade intergalactic bounty hunters.

“Life Itself” 3:01 a.m. Netflix — As a young New York couple goes from college romance to marriage and the birth of their first child, the unexpected twists of their journey create reverberations that echo over continents and through lifetimes in Life Itself. Director and writer Dan Fogelman ("This Is Us") examines the perils and rewards of everyday life in a multigenerational saga featuring an international ensemble including Oscar Isaac, Olivia Wilde, Antonio Banderas, Annette Bening, Olivia Cooke, Sergio Peris- Mencheta, Laia Costa, Alex Monner and Mandy Patinkin.

“A Home For the Holidays” 8 p.m. CBS  Host LL Cool J introduces inspirational stories about children adopted from foster care, and Gwen Stefani, Train and Lukas Graham perform.

“Dynasty” 8 p.m. the CW — The Carringtons track down a dangerous enemy on Christmas Eve, and Fallon and Blake clash on how to best handle the situation, stirring up unresolved grievances.

“Married to Medicine” 9 p.m. Bravo (part one of three-part sixth season reunion)  Simone reveals what her home life is really like. Meanwhile Contessa finds herself cornered and defending her surgery from attacks

“The Shop” 10 p.m. HBO — Visits to barbershops where men talk sports, music, pop culture, world events, business and other culturally relevant topics.


“Ready to Love” 10 p.m. Saturday OWN (first season finale)  Three men and three women have to decide if they are going to stick with their picks or not. 

“The Real Housewives of Atlanta” 8 p.m. Sunday Bravo —Marlo Hampton keeps getting into Shamari DeVoe's face. 

“Outlander” 8 p.m. Sunday Starz — Roger's diligent search for Brianna pays off when he finds her in Wilmington, but their romantic reunion comes to an abrupt halt when she discovered pertinent information that he intentionally kept from her.

“Madam Secretary” 8:30 p.m. Sunday CBS (100th episode, special time) — Elizabeth goes head to head with a U.S. governor over the state's new policy of separating unauthorized immigrants from their children

“The Year: 2018” 9 p.m. Sunday ABC — The network's year in review will likely feature the president, you think? 

“Dirty John” 10 p.m. Sunday Bravo — John gets clean for Debra. Terra learns John's back. John puts his sister through the ringer.

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.