The annual special featured a celebrity host, musical performances, and appearances by Washington elites, including the First Family. The show is also known for its finale where the audience, including the First Family, holds hand, goes on-stage, and sings together.
After last year’s special, TNT announced it would end airing the program. TNT had aired it for sixteen years.
The special was increasingly at odds with TNT’s dramatic programming strategy.
The event benefitted the Children’s National Health Systems.
Producer George Stevens Jr. created the program and his son, Michael, directed the special for a decade. At roughly the same time TNT announced it was ending the partnership, the Stevens were ousted from producing the Kennedy Center Honors special. The Honors special was facing declining ratings.
The Christmas special featured some of the top musician performances of their respective times. Performers included Aretha Franklin, Justin Bieber, Diana Ross, Al Green, Tim McGraw. Dr. Phil and his wife, Robin, co-hosted the program for several years and Conan O’Brien, from TNT’s sister network, TNT, also hosted twice.