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 Tony Bennett, Justin Bieber, Michael Bublé, Cee Lo Green, Faith Hill, Carole King, Katharine McPhee, Javier Colon and The Radio City Rockettes with a mix of current hits and holiday classics.
The 79th annual holiday extravaganza will feature a Norway Spruce tree that is 74 feet high, 46 feet in diameter and weighs 10 tons.
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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 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 Hill.