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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 28 (8-9 p.m. ET). The star-studded holiday special will feature performances from Trace Adkins, Tony Bennett, Mariah Carey, CeeLo Green (NBC's "The Voice"), Victoria Justice, Chris Mann, Scotty McCreery, Rod Stewart and Il Volo, and special appearances by Billy Crystal, Bette Milder and the Radio City Rockettes.
The 80th annual holiday extravaganza will feature a Norway Spruce that is approximately 80 feet tall, 50 feet in diameter and weighs approximately 10 tons. The tree is estimated to be about 80 years old.
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, there will be an additional live hour of the special from 7 to 8 p.m. (ET). Brooke White has been added to perform in the 7 p.m. ET hour. The following NBC affiliates will also broadcast the first hour of the special: WALB/Albany, Ga.; WVIR/Charlottesville, Va; WLWT/Cincinnati, Ohio; WETM/Elmira, Ny; KIEM/Eureka, Ca; WMBF/Florence, Sc; WBBH/Ft. Myers-Naples, Fl; WNBW/ Gainsville, Fl; WVIT/Hartford-New Haven, Ct.; KHBC/Hilo, Hi; WGAL/Lancaster, Pa; WNBC/New York, Ny.; WAVY/Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News, Va; WNWO/Toledo, Ohio; KVOA/Tucson, Az; and KOGG/Wailuku, Hi.
There will be a special encore presentation of "Christmas in Rockefeller Center" on Friday, November 30 (8-9 p.m. ET.)
"Christmas in Rockefeller Center" is produced by Brad Lachman Productions with Lachman serving as executive producer. Bill Bracken produces.
ABOUT THE HOSTS:
Al Roker -- As a co-anchor and weatherman on NBC News' "Today," Roker has the undivided attention of the nation every weekday morning as America prepares for work. A 12-time Emmy winner, Roker 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 including the "Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade," "Christmas in Rockefeller Center," and "The Tournament of Roses Parade." Roker 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 -- Guthrie is the co-anchor of NBC News' "Today" as well as NBC News Chief Legal Correspondent. Prior to joining "Today" as co-host of the third hour in 2011, 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. As NBC News White House Correspondent covering the 2008 presidential elections, Guthrie traveled with Sarah Palin's campaign and was part of the NBC team that ultimately won a 2009 Emmy for their coverage on election night. In May 2012, she received a Gracie Allen Award from the Alliance for Women in Media. 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.
ABOUT THE PERFORMERS:
Trace Adkins - Adkins is one of country music's most versatile and accomplished entertainers. With an instantly recognizable baritone voice, he has earned platinum and multi-platinum albums with total sales surpassing 10 million. He is the author of "A Personal Stand: Observations and Opinions from a Freethinking Roughneck." He charmed millions as a finalist on NBC's "The Celebrity Apprentice" and was recently seen in the box-office topping theatrical release "The Lincoln Lawyer." In December 2012, he will co-host the American Country Awards on Fox for the third consecutive year. Adkins' last studio album, "Proud to be Here," featured the Top 10 hit, "Just Fishin'" and debuted at #2 on the Billboard Country Album Chart. He is currently preparing his 11th studio album, which will feature the new American anthem "Tough People Do." He will soon be seen in NBC's "All-Star Celebrity Apprentice." The 6'6" former oil rigger-turned-country star is the father of five daughters.
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 and received the United Nations Humanitarian Award. 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. 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 and Bono -- won three Grammy Awards, becoming one of the best selling CDs of the year and Bennett's career. Bennett's first "Duets" album also inspired the Rob Marshall-directed television special "Tony Bennett: An American Classic," which won seven Emmys. In celebration of his 85th birthday in 2011 the release of Bennett's highly anticipated, "Duets II," featured Bennett performing with a new roster of celebrated artists including Andrea Bocelli, Michael Buble, Aretha Franklin, Josh Groban, Lady Gaga and John Mayer. "Duets II" debuted at #1 on the Billboard Album charts and earned two Grammy Awards. This spring, a documentary entitled "The Zen of Bennett" was premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival 2012. His latest CD, "Viva Duets," earned him his third top five CD in a row and features Bennett performing his hits with top latin stars including Gloria Estefan, Marc Anthony and Christina Aguilera. Tony just released his fourth book , "Life Is A Gift," which highlights the life lessons he has learned throughout his extraordinary career. 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.
Mariah Carey - Carey is the best-selling female artist of all time with more than 200 million albums sold to date and 18 Billboard #1 singles (seventeen self-penned), more than any solo artist in history. As a singer/songwriter/producer, Carey has been recognized with multiple Grammy Awards, nine American Music Awards, Billboard's Artist of the Decade Award, the World Music Award for World's Best Selling Female Artist of the Millennium and BMI's Icon Award, to name a few. She has two consecutive and unparalleled Billboard Song of the Decade titles: "One Sweet Day" (with Boyz II Men); and "We Belong Together," further marking her massive presence on the charts since her 1990 song debut "Vision of Love." She recently made a substantial mark in film with her critically acclaimed role as a social worker in "Precious," the 2009 film based on the novel "Push," by Sapphire. As a Congressional Award recipient, Carey has donated her time and energy to a range of domestic and international philanthropic causes, including The Fresh Air Fund/Camp Mariah (a retreat where inner-city children explore career development), Save the Music Foundation and Make-a-Wish Foundation. Carey is currently in the studio, writing, recording and executive-producing her next album for the Island Def Jam Music Group, with the lead #1 Billboard Dance single "Triumphant (Get 'Em)." Carey's two Christmas albums - "Merry Christmas" and "Merry Christmas II YOU" continue to be annual bestsellers. Both holiday CDs feature her self-penned, timeless holiday hit, "All I Want for Christmas is You," which is back at #1 on Billboard's Holiday Digital Songs chart! Carey will next appear as a judge on the 12th season of "American Idol."
CeeLo Green - Green recently released his much anticipated holiday album "CeeLo's Magic Moment." The album features the Grammy Award-winning superstar performing a collection of holiday classics. Green has invited a star-studded guest list to his holiday extravaganza including the one and only Disney's The Muppets, who join Green on an original song soon to become a holiday classic, "All I Need Is Love." The visionary singer/writer/rapper/producer puts his distinctive stamp on such holiday favorites as "White Christmas," "Silent Night," and "Run Rudolph Run." "CeeLo's Magic Moment" also sees Green joining his "The Voice" co-star, Grammy Award winner Christina Aguilera, for the seasonal favorite "Baby, It's Cold Outside." Green is currently appearing in his third season as a coach on NBC's "The Voice" alongside Aguilera, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton. 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. In addition to his success as a recording artist, Green has also made guest appearances on "Parenthood," "American Dad," Nickelodeon's "How to Rock" and also hosted his own talk show "CeeLo Green Talking to Strangers" on FUSE TV. Green also starred in Whitney Houston's final film, "Sparkle," was the voice of Murray the Mummy in the Sony animated film "Hotel Transylvania," He will star in the upcoming film "Can a Song Save Your Life?" which is slated for a 2013 release. In August 2012, Green and his sister, Shedonna, launched GreenHouse Foundation, a non-profit organization with a mission to help make "green education" easier and accessible to students in underserved school districts.
Victoria Justice - Justice stars in the hit Nickelodeon series "Victorious" as the talented "Tori Vega," a student learning to navigate life at an elite performing arts high school. Her vocal talents are showcased on "Victorious: Music From the Hit TV Show" the first official soundtrack from the series which debuted at #5 on the Top 200 charts. To date, sales of singles from "Victorious" total 2.8 million combined digital downloads worldwide. "Victorious 3.0: Even More Music From The Hit TV Show," was released November 6. Justice has been nominated for the Kids' Choice Awards, an NAACP Image Award, an ALMA award and an Imagen Foundation Award. She can currently be seen in the feature film "Fun Size," alongside Chelsea Handler and Johnny Knoxville, and is in the studio recording solo materials.
Chris Mann - On the hit NBC series "The Voice," Mann captured the hearts of millions while drawing the praise of multi-platinum talents such as Christina Aguilera and CeeLo Green. When the season ended, Mann had two songs on the iTunes Top 10 Pop Singles Chart. He's now going worldwide with debut album "Roads," which premiered at #5 on the iTunes Pop Album Chart. "Roads" arrives via Faircraft/Republic, a new imprint headed up by multi-platinum producer and veteran A&R exec Ron Fair. Among "Roads'" many highlights is Mann's cover of the Damien Rice hit "The Blower's Daughter," which features a special guest appearance by Aguilera. The album also includes a stunning rendition of "My Way," re-worked specifically for Mann by legendary songwriter Paul Anka. Influenced by Pavarotti, Robbie Williams and Frank Sinatra, Mann's blend of classically trained tenor and contemporary pop vocals is a sound that's rare in music today. Mann also recorded an exclusive holiday album for Walmart titled "Home for Christmas," which hit No. 1 on their Best-Selling Albums Chart and entered Billboard's Classical Crossover Chart at No. 12.
Scotty McCreery - Since becoming American Idol's youngest male winner in 2011, as well as the show's first country male winner, Garner, NC native Scotty McCreery quickly emerged as country music's most successful new artist. McCreery's first studio album, "Clear As Day," debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 and Top Country Albums charts, making him the youngest man in history to open at the top of the all-genre chart with a debut release. It also garnered the highest sales of any country solo album released last year, held the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart for six weeks and earned Platinum status in just thirteen weeks. Scotty won New Artist of the Year at both the 2011 American Country Awards and the 2012 Academy of Country Music Awards. He also won the USA Weekend Breakthrough Video of the Year for "The Trouble With Girls" at the 2012 CMT Music Awards. McCreery was ranked No. 1 on Billboard's list of Top New Country Artists for 2011 also earned the No. 4 spot on Billboard's 2012 List of the Top 21 Under 21. Scotty spent most of 2012 opening for Brad Paisley's Virtual Reality Tour 2012." McCreery recently released "Christmas With Scotty McCreery," which debuted atNo.1 on the Billboard Top Seasonal Albums chart and remains one of this season's top holiday albums. Scotty has continues to perform and record while pursuing an undergraduate degree at N.C. State University.
Rod Stewart - Stewart is a two-time inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a Grammy Living Legend(R) and has been a world-class megastar for more than five decades. His latest album, "Merry Christmas, Baby," was released October 30 via Verve Music Group. This is Stewart's first Christmas album of his career and was produced and arranged by the legendary David Foster. "Merry Christmas, Baby," an album of standards and traditional songs, finds Stewart joined by an incredible array of superstar artists, including Michael Bublé on "Winter Wonderland," Mary J. Blige on "We Three Kings," and CeeLo Green on the title track, "Merry Christmas, Baby" featuring New Orleans' favorite son, Trombone Shorty. "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?" is a mesmerizing 'virtual' duet with Ella Fitzgerald featuring Chris Botti. With the October 23 release of his critically acclaimed memoir, "Rod: The Autobiography" he added New York Times bestselling author to his long list of achievements. In January 2013, Stewart returns to Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas to continue his residency; joining a short list of elite musical superstars with the international drawing power to headline the Coliseum.
Il Volo - Italian teenage singing sensations Il Volo will release their second album "We Are Love" on November l9. Recorded in Los Angeles and Rome, the new CD includes guest appearances by Placido Domingo and Eros Ramazzotti and features a soaring version of the Aerosmith/ Diane Warren hit "I Don't Want to Miss A Thing" ("Questo Amore") along with a new Warren song "I Bring You To My Senses." Il Volo also performs a cover version of the U2 Hit "Beautiful Day" and the title cut "We Are Love" both in English. Il Volo is currently touring as special guests on the Barbra Streisand Tour. The trio's live performances have received standing ovations across the US and critical acclaim. Their debut album sold one million copies, and their PBS special "Il Volo - Live From The Detroit Opera House" has been one of the highest rated shows in PBS history. "Il Volo" means flight in Italian - and it turned out to be the perfect name for a trio of teen tenors who have been soaring to new heights. The group's members are Piero Barone (19), Gianluca Ginoble (17) and Ignazio Boschetto (18.)
Brooke White - The magic of singer-songwriter-musician Brooke White resonates within "High Hopes & Heartbreak," the former nanny's first full-length release after finishing in the Top 5 on "American Idol's" seventh season. After supporting "High Hopes & Heartbreak" on the road playing shows and making radio appearances, the Phoenix, Az native took some time off from music to film her first movie, FOX's "Change of Plans," which aired last year. White starred as Sally Danville, a singer-songwriter, whom, with her husband, is granted custody of her childhood best friend's four kids. In addition to acting in the film, White managed to write, record and perform three original songs in the movie and on the CD soundtrack. The songs were recorded and produced by Randy Jackson. White will release her first full-length holiday album titled "White Christmas" on November 27 at all online retailers. The 11-song collection includes holiday classics plus three original songs: "Christmas Card," "California Christmas" and "I Love Christmas."