In this month's faith & family media news, Tim Allen wanted Christ in Christmas for Disney+'s The Santa Clauses; Mark Burnett exits MGM; Andrea Bocelli and family carol together; and the Hallow app and The Chosen join forces for Advent.
Tim Allen Insists That It's CHRIST-mas
On Nov. 16, Disney+ premiered the first two episodes of The Santa Clauses, its TV sequel to the hit feature The Santa Clause films, starring Tim Allen as Scott Calvin, a regular guy who suddenly became Santa Claus.
Of course, we all know that Santa Claus had his origin in the real person of St. Nicholas of Myra, a Catholic bishop born in the 3rd Century in Asia Minor (now Turkey).
In the centuries since, folklore and popular culture intermingled to produce Father Christmas, Kris Kringle, Jolly Old St. Nick and, ultimately, Santa Claus.
In 2020, the sequel to the hit 2018 Netflix movie, The Christmas Chronicles, starring Kurt Russell as Santa, even went so far as to ground Santa's origin story in St. Nicholas.
But, most Santa stuff is strictly secular, with a sprinkling of magic fairy dust, not faith. But, in an interview with showbiz trade publication The Wrap, Allen had something to say about that:
How exactly religion will come into play remains unclear, especially considering the original trilogy of films never explicitly went in that direction. But, according to Allen, it was important to him that “The Santa Clauses” did, and avoided any kind of crazy creatures or spirits.
“It originally had a lot of otherworldly characters, and ghosts, and goblins. I said no, this is Christ-mas. Its Christ-mas. It literally is a religious holiday,” Allen told The Wrap. “We don’t have to blow trumpets, but I do want you to acknowledge it. That’s what this is about. If you want to get into Santa Claus, you’re gonna have to go back to history, and it’s all about religion.”
According to the actor, the “Santa Clauses” team found “a brilliant way” to incorporate religion into the story, but it won’t come until episodes five and six. “It’s really wonderful. They took a chance, and we did it really well,” Allen added.
According to the current weekly release schedule, episodes five and six, the penultimate installment and the finale, should air Dec. 7 and 14. So, we shall see.
The Bible Producer and MGM Part Ways
Showbiz executive and reality-TV mogul Mark Burnett is stepping down as MGM's head of worldwide television, as Amazon finalizes its takeover of the storied studio.
Burnett sold his companies to MGM in 2014 and joined MGM Television in 2015, two years after producing, with wife Roma Downey, the hit miniseries The Bible. He moved into his current job in 2018.
From the note he sent to staffers, as published in The Hollywood Reporter:
It takes great teams of talented people to produce more than 3,200 total hours of television, including long-running hits like Survivor, The Voice and Shark Tank and innovative scripted series like The Bible, which together have garnered 143 EMMY nominations. ...
As I step away from day to day management and back into independently creating and innovating, I will continue to oversee my legacy series and be available to all of you and to Amazon for guidance and support.
Bocelli and Family for Christmas
As reported in Aleteia:
Legendary operatic tenor Andrea Bocelli has released a new Christmas album in which he sings each song alongside his son, Matteo , and daughter, Virginia . Titled A Family Christmas, this new holiday work features some of the Bocelli family’s favorites, as well as a few brand-new Christmas songs, including “The Greatest Gift.”
Take a listen:
Hallow and The Chosen Come Together for Advent
From a release on PRNewswire (via Yahoo Finance):
Hallow, the #1 Christian Prayer App in the US with over 4 million downloads, has partnered with several members of The Chosen, the largest Christian TV series in history chronicling the life of Jesus with over 400 million views, for the app's upcoming Advent prayer challenge, Advent #Pray25 featuring The Chosen.
... Together, these characters will guide Hallow users through a 25-day prayer challenge, one of the most anticipated challenges of the year on Hallow. Starting on the first Monday of Advent, November 28, this year's challenge traces the story of Advent through all of Scripture: from the Garden of Eden to the manger in Bethlehem, where Christ was born.
Click here to learn more about The Chosen, the first two episodes of which remain in theaters at least until Dec. 3.
Image: Tim Allen and daughter Elizabeth Allen-Dick in 'The Santa Clauses'/(Disney/James Clark)
Kate O’Hare, a longtime entertainment journalist, is Social Media Content Manager at Family Theater Productions.