JO DEE MESSINA, ROD STEWART, ROB THOMAS AND THE MUPPETS JOIN THE STAR-STUDDED LINEUP FOR "CHRISTMAS IN ROCKEFELLER CENTER"
ALREADY SCHEDULED TO APPEAR DURING THIS YEAR'S HOLIDAY SPECTACULAR ARE MICHAEL BUBL�, ARETHA FRANKLIN, ALICIA KEYS, BARRY MANILOW, THE ROOTS, SHAKIRA, TAYLOR SCHILLING (NBC'S "MERCY"), JAMES TUPPER (NBC'S "MERCY") AND BRIAN WILLIAMS ("NBC NIGHTLY NEWS")
THEY WILL ALL JOIN IN THE HOLIDAY FUN TO LIGHT UP THE WORLD'S MOST FAMOUS CHRISTMAS TREE FOR NBC'S 12TH ANNUAL 'CHRISTMAS IN ROCKEFELLER CENTER' SPECIAL ON DECEMBER 2 (8-9 P.M. ET/PT)
Jane Krakowski ("30 Rock") and Zachary Levi ("Chuck") To Co-Host
NBC Universal and The Arbor Day Foundation Team Up to Add More Green to the 77th Annual Live Holiday Celebration with an Interactive Viewer Experience
NEW YORK - November 30, 2009 - Jo Dee Messina, Rod Stewart, Rob Thomas, Stefania Fernandez (Miss Universe), Stormi Bree Henley (Miss Teen USA), and The Muppets will join NBC's star-studded lineup for the 12th annual "Christmas in Rockefeller Center" special on Wednesday, December 2 (8pm-9pmET). This dazzling display of musical talent and the lighting of the world's most famous Christmas tree during the "Christmas in Rockefeller Center" telecast will be co-hosted by NBC stars Jane Krakowski ("30 Rock") and Zachary Levi ("Chuck") and broadcast in high definition. This holiday tree lighting celebration will also feature Michael Bubl�, Aretha Franklin, Jose Feliciano, Alicia Keys, Barry Manilow, The Roots, Shakira, and The Radio City Rockettes performing a mix of current hits and holiday classics from beautifully ornamented stages around Rockefeller Center in New York City.
Jos� Feliciano is a world-renowned performer who is often cited as the first Latin Artist to cross over into the English music market, opening doors for other Latin musicians who now feature prominently in the American music landscape. Born blind to humble beginnings in Lares, Puerto Rico and raised right here in New York City, Feliciano taught himself to play and today is hailed by many critics as the world's "greatest living guitarist." Jos� has garnered over forty-five Gold and Platinum records, and been recognized by his musical peers with seven Grammy Awards. Feliciano is also a proud recipient of both Billboard's "Lifetime Achievement Award" and the Kennedy Center's Hispanic Heritage Lifetime Achievement Award. Jos�'s timeless Christmas classic Feliz Navidad is now the most broadcast holiday song at radio across America each year, and has just been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
Jo Dee Messina is an award-winning, multi-platinum recording artist that has given her heart and soul to find success. She's had 9 #1 country singles, has been honored by The Country Music Association, The Academy of Country Music and The Grammy Awards and was the first female country artist to score three multiple-week #1 songs from the same album. She debuted in 1996 with the single "Heads Carolina, Tails California". Her album was certified Gold by the RIAA. With four huge radio hits, her second album I'm Alright was certified double platinum and she won the CMA's Horizon Award in 1999. The follow-up album, "Burn", was certified platinum, and her self-titled debut was eventually certified gold. She also scored an adult contemporary hit with "Bring on the Rain," with McGraw on harmonies. In addition to headlining concerts, she also toured with Vince Gill, George Strait and the Judds' reunion tour. Her fame also led to television roles on Touched by an Angel and Nash Bridges. In January 2010, Jo Dee is scheduled to release the single, "That's God" in advance of her upcoming fifth studio album, Unmistakable set for a Spring release.
Grammy Award-winning Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Rod Stewart has just released Soulbook (J Records), a collection of classic Sixties/Seventies-era soul favorites, all newly recorded by the quintessential "blue eyed soul" singer of our generation. Rod Stewart possesses one of the most distinctive and interpretive voices in music -- his Grammy-Award winning recordings of the Great American Songbook have sold over 19 million albums and is the biggest selling ongoing series of new music recordings in history. Soulbook is a loving tribute to a glorious period in pop history- it features his renditions of such immortal songs as "Love Train," "It's The Same Old Song," "Tracks of My Tears." and features two superstar duets "You Make Me Feel Brand New" with Mary J.Blige and "Let It Be Me" with Jennifer Hudson. With an estimated 250 million in album and single sales, Stewart is also one of the most successful performers of all time. His last six studio albums for J Records have all debuted Top 5 on the Billboard Album chart.
Superstar singer and songwriter Rob Thomas is known for leading the alternative rock band Matchbox Twenty, as well as a high-profile solo music career. Thomas is the recipient of multiple Grammy Awards, has sold over 80 million albums worldwide and has collaborated with noted musical talents such as Carlos Santana, Willie Nelson, Marc Anthony and Mick Jagger. Matchbox Twenty exploded onto the music scene with the 1996 with the 12 time platinum album Yourself or Someone Like You, which boasted five U.S. hit singles. Thomas pursued a solo career in 2005 with the release of "...Something to Be" which debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200. It was an immediate success, featuring the hit singles, "Lonely No More", "This Is How a Heartbreaks" and "Ever The Same". In July, Thomas released his acclaimed second solo album, cradlesong, which has spawned the hit songs, "Her Diamonds" and "Someday".
Appearing on television almost every day since the 1960s, the Muppets were created by Jim Henson in the 1950s and have become a cultural phenomenon. Featured in television shows such as Sesame Street, The Muppet Show and Fraggle Rock, not to mention numerous feature films, the Muppets have solidified their place in the realm of pop culture. The Muppets' most recent television special was A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa. With a new Disney movie in the works, the future only looks brighter for our Muppet friends.
This year, NBC Universal through its "Green is Universal" initiative, is happy to work with the Arbor Day Foundation to "Text For Your Tree." Every half hour throughout the national broadcast viewers will be prompted to text NBCU to have a tree planted on their behalf. The trees will be planted by the Arbor Day Foundation, and underwritten by their partners. Additionally, the "Text For Your Tree" promotion will be extended online with an interactive site on both arborday.org and greenisuniversal.com sites. This partnership is expected to drive awareness for the environment and the Arbor Day Foundation - and help to get up to 500,000 trees planted.
The tradition of the Rockefeller Christmas tree dates back to the Great Depression. First erected in 1933, the tree was decked with 700 lights and placed in front of the then eight-month-old RCA Building, now the GE Building. The Christmas tree gathering was enhanced in 1936 with the opening of the Rockefeller Plaza outdoor ice-skating rink. NBC-TV televised the first tree lighting in 1951 on "The Kate Smith Show" and as part of the nationwide "Howdy Doody" television show from 1953-55.
Prior to the network special, WNBC, NBC's New York flagship station, and some other NBC stations will broadcast an additional live hour of the special (7-8 p.m. ET). Special appearances by Jose Feliciano and The Roots will be during the local hour only. "Christmas in Rockefeller Center" is produced by Brad Lachman Productions with Lachman serving as executive producer. Bill Bracken is producer.