NEIL DIAMOND AND BIG TIME RUSH ADDED TO STAR STUDDED LINE-UP OF NBC'S 14TH ANNUAL "CHRISTMAS IN ROCKEFELLER CENTER" SPECIAL WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 30 FROM 8 TO 9 P.M. ET ON NBC
Featuring the world premiere of Mariah Carey/Justin Bieber video "All I Want for Christmas is You," the #1 self-penned Mariah Carey Christmas Classic
Special performance by Justin Bieber and surprise guests
NEW YORK, NY - November 28, 2011 - NBC will celebrate the lighting of the world's most famous Christmas tree with a live broadcast from Rockefeller Center in New York City on Wednesday, November 30th from 8 to 9 p.m. ET. The star-studded holiday special will feature performances by Neil Diamond, Big Time Rush, Tony Bennett, Justin Bieber, Michael Bublé, Cee Lo Green, Carole King, Katharine McPhee, Javier Colon and The Radio City Rockettes with a mix of current hits and holiday classics.
Justin has brought some special guests for his performance and NBC will also premiere his music video with Mariah Carey for "All I Want for Christmas is You." The song, originally recorded and written by Mariah Carey for her 1994 album "Merry Christmas," is the most listened to song at the holidays and this new duet is featured on Justin's Christmas album, "Under the Mistletoe."
The 79th annual holiday extravaganza will feature a Norway Spruce tree that is 74 feet high, 46 feet in diameter and weighs 10 tons.
The tradition of the Rockefeller Christmas tree dates back to the Great Depression. First erected in 1933, the inaugural 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 pond. NBC-TV televised the tree lighting for the first time in 1951 on "The Kate Smith Show" and as part of the nationwide "Howdy Doody" television show from 1953-55.
Prior to this year's primetime telecast, WNBC, NBC's flagship station, and other NBC affiliates (listed below) will broadcast an additional live hour of the special from 7 to 8 p.m. ET . This first hour will feature performances by all the show's stars and also a special performance by Megan Hilty, star of the upcoming NBC musical drama "SMASH".
"Christmas in Rockefeller Center" is produced by Brad Lachman Productions with Lachman serving as executive producer. Bill Bracken is producer.
NBC AFFILIATES BROADCASTING FIRST HOUR OF SPECIAL 7-8 P.M. ET:
WCBD - Charleston, SC, WVIR - Charlottesville, VA, WLWT - Cincinnati, OH, WBOY - Clarksburg, WV, WETM - Elmira, NY,WMBF - Florence,SC, WBBH - Fort Myers, FL, WHAG - Hagerstown, MD, WGAL - Lancaster, PA, WAVE - Louisville, KY, WNBC - New York, NY, WCAU - Philadelphia, PA, WEYI - Saginaw-Bay City, MI, WTWC - Tallahassee, FL, WNWO - Toledo, OH, WFMJ - Youngstown, OH, WHIZ - Zanesville, OH, KMIR - Palm Springs, CA, KATH - Jeuneau, AK, KSCT - Sitka, AK.
ABOUT THE PERFORMERS:
Neil Diamond - Across a musical career stretching nearly 50 years, Neil Diamond has sold more than 128 million albums worldwide. He has charted a staggering 37 Top 10 singles and 16 Top 10 albums. Diamond's most recent studio releases, 2008's "Home Before Dark" marked his first #1 debut in the U.S. and 2010's "Dreams," a collection of Diamond's favorite songs of other composers from the rock era, was highly critically acclaimed. His 2009 DVD, "Hot August Night/ NYC," has been certified double platinum. A Grammy Award-winning artist, Diamond is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Songwriters Hall of Fame and is a recipient of the Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award, one of the highest honors bestowed upon songwriters. Diamond's many other achievements include a Golden Globe Award, 12 Grammy nominations and 2009's NARAS's MusiCares Person of the Year award. This year, Diamond will receive the prestigious Kennedy Center Honor for his lifetime of contributions to American culture. On December 6th, Columbia Records and Legacy Recordings will release "The Very Best of Neil Diamond - The Original Studio Recordings;" an album featuring 23 best-loved hits and signature tracks from America's quintessential singer-songwriter.
Big Time Rush - Columbia Records recording artists and Nickelodeon television stars Big Time Rush - Kendall Schmidt, James Maslow, Carlos Pena Jr. and Logan Henderson -released their second album, Elevate, this past week. The highly anticipated follow-up to the group's Gold-certified debut BTR., Elevate features tracks including "Music Sounds Better With U (featuring Mann)," "Show Me" and "All Over Again," plus brand-new music that will debut on upcoming episodes of the TV series. The band has sold over 3 million combined digital tracks worldwide and over one million albums worldwide. Big Time Rush's "Better With U Tour" kicks off nationwide early 2012.
Tony Bennett - An American icon, Tony Bennett has had one of the most distinguished and sustained recording careers in the history of the music industry. He served his country with honor in World War II, is a Kennedy Center Honoree, was named a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master, marched with Dr. Martin Luther King during the Civil Rights struggle in the 1960s, and has been recognized for his worldwide humanitarian efforts and received the United Nations Humanitarian Award. In 2006, the year of his 80th birthday, his "Duets: An American Classic" was released. The album -- which included performances with Paul McCartney, Elton John, Barbra Streisand, Bono and others -- won three Grammy Awards, becoming one off the best selling CDs of the year and Tony's career. On the occasion of Bennett's 85th birthday this year, "DUETS II," which was released this September, made history when it debuted at the #1 spot on the Billboard Album charts making Tony the oldest recording artist to ever secure the top chart position. DUIETS II features a celebrated roster of artists as diverse as Lady Gaga, Amy Winehouse, Aretha Franklin, Mariah Carey and Andrea Bocelli. Tony Bennett is one of a handful of artists to have new albums charting in the 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's, and now in the first two decades of the 21st century. Bennett remains a popular and critically acclaimed recording artist and concert performer. He has won fifteen Grammy Awards, two Emmy Awards and millions of records worldwide. Bennett is also a serious and accomplished painter, creating works under the name Benedetto that are on permanent public display in several institutions. With his wife Susan, he established Exploring the Arts, which supports and funds arts education in NYC public high schools and with the Department of Education, founded the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in his hometown of Astoria, Queens.
Justin Bieber - Justin's latest album, "Under the Mistletoe" is his third #1 album debut all before his 18th birthday! It follows "My World 2.0" (April, 2010) and "Never Say Never: The Remixes" (February, 2011). "Never Say Never: The Remixes" was the accompaniment to Justin's concert documentary film "Never Say Never" which went on to become the highest grossing concert film in US history. "Under the Mistletoe," Justin's first Christmas album, features duets with Mariah Carey (on her # 1 holiday classic, "All I Want for Christmas is You"); Usher on "The Christmas Song" ("Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire"); Boyz II Men on "Fa La La"; Busta Rhymes on "Drummer Boy"; and The Band Perry on "Home This Christmas." Justin has sold over 11 million albums worldwide to date, and has amassed over 2.2 billion video views on YouTube, over 36 million Facebook fans and has more than 13 million Twitter followers.
Michael Bublé - Michael Bublé's lifelong dream of creating an album to honor his favorite holiday was realized with the recently released CD "Christmas" which entered the Billboard Top 200 charts at No. 3. His upcoming NBC Christmas Special is scheduled to air on December 6th with several other TV performances including "The TODAY Show" on November 28th, along with a profile on "60 Minutes" in early December and a return to "Saturday Night Live" on December l7th as their musical guest. He is also scheduled to co-host "Regis & Kelly" on December 15 and l6. The multi-Grammy winning artist's previous CD "Crazy Love" sold seven million copies worldwide and won two Grammy Awards in 2011 for Best Traditional Pop Vocal album and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for his No. 1 self-penned single, "Haven't Met You Yet". Bublé also wrote two previous Number One singles, "Everything" and "Home". The Vancouver native's recent "Crazy Love" Tour sold out 80 cities and was seen by over a million people in the US alone. A superstar in his native Canada as well, Bublé is the recipient of 10 Juno Awards including a Juno Album of The Year for "It's Time." In less than a decade, Michael Bublé's international record sales have topped 30 million. Bublé arrived on the music scene nine years ago with the release of his self titled debut cd which was followed up by the multi-platinum "It's Time". He also performed at the 2010 Olympics Ceremony which was seen by an audience of over one billion people.
Cee Lo Green - Cee Lo Green is a singer-songwriter, rapper, producer and actor, who received five 2011 Grammy nominations for his worldwide hit "Forget You" (aka "F�k You"), winning the category for "Best Urban/Alternative Performance." He made his famous debut appearance on "Saturday Night Live," with Gwyneth Paltrow, in January 2011 before their over-the top performance at the Grammys in February. In 2010 he released the album, "The Lady Killer," which featured "Forget You." Green first came onto the music scene as a member of the hip-hop group Goodie Mob. After his success with Goodie Mob, he successfully reinvented himself and formed Gnarls Barkley with deejay-producer Danger Mouse, and released the 2006 worldwide hit "Crazy", which reached #1 in various singles charts worldwide. Green is also a celebrity judge and mentor on "The Voice." His talk-show "Talking to Strangers" premiered in June 2011 and in September, Green did a guest voice spot on "American Dad," as well as a guest starring role on "Parenthood." Additionally, Green will appear in the upcoming film "Sparkle," and is currently the face for the new 7UP campaign.
Carole King - Carole King is arguably the most successful and revered female songwriter in pop music history. To date, more than 400 Carole King compositions have been recorded by more than 1000 artists, resulting in 100 hit singles - many reaching #1. She was the first woman to win four GRAMMY(R) Awards in one year, and her landmark 1971 album "Tapestry" received a Diamond Award from the RIAA for sales of more than 10 million units in the U.S., with more than 25 million units sold worldwide. King's first ever holiday album, "A Holiday Carole," was released by Hear Music/Concord Music Group on November 1st, 2011. In a career with innumerable highlights, King has reached new pinnacles in recent years including 2010's bestselling "Troubadour Reunion" album and tour with James Taylor, "American Idol" devoting an entire episode to her music this past season, and a forthcoming memoir due out in 2012.
Katharine McPhee - Actress and Columbia recording artist Katharine McPhee is currently shooting the highly anticipated Steven Spielberg/NBC TV series "SMASH" in New York City premiering February 2012. It was a year ago that Katharine was promoting her solo Christmas Album "It's Not Christmas Without You" with the top holiday radio hit "I'll Be Home For Christmas." Her self-titled debut album exploded on the Billboard 200 and landed at #2. It was also the best chart debut for a female artist in two years. McPhee has garnered a Young Hollywood Award for "Best Female Vocalist." In addition to her acting and singing career, Katharine is a passionate philanthropist; supporting causes such as St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, Malaria No More and Feeding America.
Javier Colon - Javier Colon captivated America as winner of the inaugural season of NBC's hit television show, "The Voice." After touring with The Derek Trucks Band for two years, he released two major label albums via Capital Records�"Javier" in 2003 and "Left of Center" in 2006. Both releases illustrated a daring creativity that expanded beyond the confines of pop music, while still retaining an undeniable sense of melody. Colon eventually split with Capitol and released "The Truth - Acoustic EP" on his own label, Javier Colon Music, in 2010. Original song and debut single "Stitch By Stitch" not only clenched the top prize on "The Voice" for Colon, but it also became something of a phenomenon. During the first week of its digital release, the song exceeded sales of 145,000 and peaked at #17 on the "Billboard Hot 100" chart. Colon even performed "Stitch By Stitch" on the "Tonight Show With Jay Leno." His Universal Republic debut album, "Come Through For You" will be released on November 21 and his single, "As Long As We Got Love" features Natasha Bedingfield. Colon writes his own music, constantly keeping himself open to inspiration.
Megan Hilty - Megan Hilty stars in NBC's upcoming musical drama "SMASH," as the seasoned triple-threat Ivy Lynn, an ensemble performer who has spent years pursuing stardom only to be bumped back into the chorus again and again. A native of Seattle, Hilty moved to New York City after graduating from the prestigious Carnegie Mellon University, and quickly made her Broadway debut as Glinda in "Wicked." She went on to perform the role in both the national tour and in Los Angeles. After receiving rave reviews for her portrayal of Doralee Rhodes in Broadway's "9 to 5: The Musical," Hilty was honored with nominations for "Lead Actress in a Musical" at the Drama Desk Awards, Outer Critics Circle Awards, the Drama League Awards and L.A. Stage Alliance Ovation Awards. She starred in "Two by Two" as part of the reprise series in Los Angeles, opposite Jason Alexander, Steve Weber and Faith Prince. Hilty has also performed with the Cincinnati Symphony and at Feinstein's in New York City.
ABOUT THE HOSTS:
Al Roker - As a host and weatherman of NBC's "TODAY Show," along with Ann Curry and Matt Lauer, Al Roker has the undivided attention of the nation (over 32 million viewers per week) every weekday morning as America prepares for work. Spanning a 35-year plus career and a twelve-time Emmy winner, Al conducts interviews with celebrities and newsmakers around the world and does a wide variety of segments on every imaginable subject. He is the host of NBC's annual network specials, such as the "Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade", the "Christmas Tree Lighting at Rockefeller Center," and "The Rose Bowl Parade." Al is also an accomplished television producer. He is CEO of Al Roker Entertainment, Inc. (ARE), a thriving multimedia company involved in the development and production of network, cable, home video, and public television projects. ARE produces programming for a diverse clientele including NBC News, MSNBC, Spike TV, Lifetime Television, A&E, The History Channel, E!, Discovery Networks, PBS, TV ONE, Oxygen, The Cartoon Network and NBC Television Stations Group.
Savannah Guthrie - Savannah Guthrie joined the "TODAY Show" as co-host of the third hour in June 2011 and also serves as "TODAY" Chief Legal Analyst. Prior to joining "TODAY," Guthrie served as NBC News White House Correspondent from December 2008 to June 2011 where she contributed to all NBC News properties, including "NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams," "TODAY" and "MSNBC." Guthrie also served as co-host of MSNBC's "The Daily Rundown" from January 2010 to June 2011. Covering the 2008 presidential elections, Guthrie travelled with Sarah Palin's campaign and was part of the NBC team that ultimately won a 2009 Emmy for their coverage on election night. Prior to joining NBC News in September 2007, Guthrie was the legal affairs correspondent based in Washington, D.C. for "Court TV" from 2006 to 2007. Guthrie joined "Court TV" from the law firm of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer and Feld where she practiced law, with an emphasis in white-collar litigation, from 2002-2003. In 2002, Guthrie received her Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center, where she graduated magna cum laude.
For more information on the "Christmas in Rockefeller Center" visit NBC.com's "Movies & Specials" site: http://www.nbc.com/specials.
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