The return of Dr. Seuss’ ”How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” comes early this year: the Cartoon Network will air the animated special on four consecutive nights (Monday – Thursday, 8 p.m.). Maybe, just maybe, the multiple showings of the cartoon classic, directed in 1966 by animator Chuck Jones and narrated by Boris Karloff, have something to do with the Nov. 17 release of Universal’s live action feature film, with Jim Carrey as the green meanie. Rival studio MGM/UA owns the rights to the animated half hour, but expect to see Universal’s movie ads on ‘Toon — and everywhere else — all week. Is this coincidence? Competition? ”We just want to give people an opportunity to see the original before the movie comes out,” Steve Rice, publicity director of the Cartoon Network, tells EW.com.
Chances are, plenty of kids and adults will tune in once again to hear the famous theme song, ”You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” growled by voiceover artist Thurl Ravenscroft, who also roared for Kellogg’s Tony the Tiger. As Dr. Seuss (alias Theodor S. Geisel) explained in a 1968 interview with the New York Post, there’s a reason why the Whoville hating meanie has kept his universal appeal. ”I’m really on the Grinch’s side,” said Geisel, who died in 1991. ”The Grinch is against the commercialization of Christmas, although he’s sort of a mean old so and so.”
And now, with apologies for the commercialization that is likely to be involved, here’s EW.com’s guide to the best of this week’s TV.
?MONDAY, Nov. 13
”7th Heaven” (8 p.m., the WB)
Wild, wayward Mary (Jessica Biel), pushes her parents to the limit when she’s involved in stealing money from her little brothers’ piggy banks. Watch as the pouty lipped Biel raises her voice (Oh, no!) upon learning she’ll be shipped off to her grandparents’ house in Buffalo, N.Y.
”The Parkers” (8:30 p.m., UPN)
Nikki (Mo’Nique) and Professor Oglevee (Dorien Wilson) play rival hair care moguls in a world of football size shoulder pads and big hair. (In other words, a fantasy sendup of the ’80s primetime soap ”Dallas.”)
”100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock” (10 p.m, VH1)
Finally, a music list that the Beatles, Madonna, and Elvis can’t top. Carmen Electra hosts the five night tribute to hard rock. (What, Heather Locklear and Pamela Anderson Lee weren’t willing?) Ends Friday, Nov. 17.
?TUESDAY, Nov. 14
”Buffy The Vampire Slayer” and ”Angel” (8-10 p.m., the WB)
It’s flashback fever when Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) forces Spike (James Marsters) to reveal how he once killed two slayers. Angel (David Boreanaz), Darla (Julie Benz), and Drusilla (Juliet Landau) factor heavily in the story. At 9 p.m., the recollections continue when Angel attempts to rescue Darla from Wolfram & Hart, which triggers memories of his relationships with the entire vampire gang.
JAG (8 p.m., CBS)
America’s best known Navy SEAL Rudy Boesch (”Survivor”) plays himself in this episode. What this military drama really needs is former Westpoint cadet Richard Hatch to pay a little ”Don’t ask, don’t tell” visit.
DAG (9:30 p.m., NBC)
”In Living Color” veteran David Alan Grier and former Designing Woman Delta Burke costar in this new presidential sitcom. The series premiere explains why Secret Service Agent Jerome Daggett (not to be confused with Special Agent John Doggett on ”The X-Files”) is demoted from protecting the POTUS (President of the United States) to guarding the First Lady (Burke).
?WEDNESDAY, Nov. 15
”Dawson’s Creek” (8 p.m., the WB)
Another teary farewell for the WB as Andie (Meredith Monroe) leaves Capeside to spend the rest of the academic year (i.e. season) abroad. Hey, it beats living with the grandparents in Buffalo.
”The Drew Carey Show” (9 p.m., ABC)
Kate gets ’80s girl band the Go-Go’s to cheer up a newly jobless Drew. But even the ladies’ performance of title song ”Cleveland Rocks” doesn’t compare to the biggest thrill of the night — Kate’s pregnancy news.
”Felicity” (9 p.m., the WB)
Can’t wait until 11 to see John Ritter in Nick at Nite reruns of ”Three’s Company”? Tune into this ”very special epsiode,” which finds Mr. Covington (Ritter) trying to make up with his son Ben, but kissing Felicity instead.
?THURSDAY, Nov. 16
”Will & Grace” (NBC, 9 p.m.)
The Gypsy Tramp meets the Queen in this crowded episode. Jack (Sean Hayes) finally stumbles onto his dream diva Cher, while Will (Eric McCormack) consults a flaky fortune teller (Camryn Manheim).
”Just Shoot Me” (NBC, 9:30 p.m.)
OK, it’s a stretch to consider her a superstar of the network’s ”Superstar Thursday,” but Jenny McCarthy plays Finch’s (David Spade) childhood pal who used to be a guy. The joke is — you got it — the Finchman finds himself attracted to his renovated friend. Oh yeah, and ”Kung Fu” star David Carradine also makes a cameo.
”ER” (NBC, 10 p.m.)
Oscar winner Sally Field appears in the first of six episodes this season (three now and three next spring) as Maggie, Abby’s (Maura Tierney) mother, who unexpectedly arrives at the ER.
”48 Hours” (8 p.m., CBS)
Dan Rather hosts a special edition of the news magazine, focused on the issue of anger management. The report appropriately features the rage filled Mike Tyson. Maybe we’ll find out once and for all what he was thinking when he bit Evander Holyfield’s ear.
”Whose Line Is It Anyway?” (8:30 p.m., ABC)
Another channel, another Oscar winner. Robin Williams joins the cast of improv regulars Ryan Stiles, Colin Mochrie, and Wayne Brady to perform a special list of skits and spoofs. Pray he leaves the surgical scrubs and clown nose behind.