[10/25/05 - 12:00 AM]
NBC and Harry Connick JR. Kick Off Holiday Season

[via press release from NBC]



Additionally, Connick Jr. Returns to NBC's "Will & Grace" in November

NEW YORK - October 25, 2005 - Grammy and Emmy Award winner Harry Connick Jr. returns to NBC on December 2 (8-9 p.m. ET/PT) with the new CG-animated family holiday special, "The Happy Elf," featuring all new original holiday songs written by Connick Jr. The one-hour special is produced by IDT Entertainment in association with HC Productions.

"The Happy Elf" tells the adventurous story of Eubie the Elf, one of Santa's helpers whose overly enthusiastic, rose-colored view of the holiday season is tested when he sets out to save Christmas for an entire town of naughty children in a sad little place called Bluesville.

"NBC is thrilled to air the world premiere of 'The Happy Elf,' " said Curt Sharp, Vice President of NBC Primetime Alternative Programming and Specials. Based on the original song from Harry's platinum hit Christmas album, "Harry for the Holidays," "The Happy Elf" also spotlights a voice cast that includes Carol Kane, Lewis Black, Mickey Rooney and Rob Paulsen. The score was written and performed by Connick Jr., who wrote two new songs for the special.

"Harry Connick Jr.'s endearing music and charming storytelling style make 'The Happy Elf' an instant holiday classic," said John W. Hyde, Chief Operating Officer, IDT Entertainment. "We're proud to have partnered with such a seminal talent as Harry Connick Jr. and delighted that 'The Happy Elf' has found a broadcast home on NBC."

IDT Entertainment's home entertainment company, Anchor Bay Entertainment, will release "The Happy Elf" holiday special on DVD, which will be available in stores on December 6. The DVD comes in a fun push-button activated package with blinking lights and plays a short snippet of the "Happy Elf" song and is loaded with many bonus features.

Additionally, Connick Jr. returns to NBC's "Will & Grace" in November for a four-episode arc. He returns as "Dr. Leo Markus" Grace's (Debra Messing) ex-husband when the two reconnect while on a plane.

A dedicated website, www.thehappyelf.com, will feature many holiday activities and games for kids, sneak previews, a promotional trailer, and chances to win $500 every week from October 31st through December 25th as well as the GRAND PRIZE, the opportunity to meet Connick Jr. at a live performance.

With "The Happy Elf," Connick Jr. adds new range to an already multi-hyphenated career. Best known as a talented musician, arranger, and bandleader, Connick Jr. has recently achieved major success with his Sony/Columbia platinum-selling albums "Only You" and "Harry for the Holidays," a special DualDisc edition of which comes out October 25th. "Occasion (Connick Jr. on Piano Vol. 2)," an album of instrumental duo performances, which Connick Jr. wrote with friend Branford Marsalis, was released by Marsalis Music earlier this year. On November 15, Marsalis Music will release a DVD of Connick Jr. and Marsalis' premiere public performance of 'Occasion,' filmed at Ottawa Jazz Festival in June. In addition to NBC's "Will & Grace," his acting credits include "Memphis Belle," "Little Man Tate," "Copycat," "Independence Day," "Hope Floats," and the ABC-TV adaptation of Rogers & Hammerstein's "South Pacific." He was Tony-nominated for his music and lyrics for the Broadway show "Thou Shalt Not" and will make his Broadway acting debut next February playing the lead in "Pajama Game."

The executive producers of "The Happy Elf" are Connick Jr., Ann Marie Wilkins, Scott Landis, Steve Brown, Morris Berger and John W. Hyde. John Rice is the director.

IDT Entertainment is a vertically integrated entertainment concern that develops, produces, and distributes proprietary and licensed entertainment content. IDT Entertainment is a subsidiary of IDT Corporation (NYSE:IDT, IDT.C), an international telecom, entertainment, and technology company.

  [october 2005]  


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