How to Watch the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting

The Wrap


There’s been very little joy to the world in 2020, but hopefully the holiday season — and a COVID-19 vaccine — can bring back some optimism. What better place to start than Rockefeller Center in New York City? And while we’re here, let’s illuminate a huge evergreen tree.

NBC will light up the country’s Christmas tree, and hopefully children’s faces everywhere, with its “Christmas in Rockefeller Center” special on Wednesday, Dec. 2, airing from 8 p.m. ET/PT to 10 p.m. There is no encore scheduled.

For cord-cutters, the special will stream live on and the NBC app, but there is no YouTube accompaniment. Multiple streaming services, like Hulu + Live TV, YouTube TV and Sling, to name a few, carry NBC — so there’s another option.

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One alternative readers definitely do not have is to attend in person: There will be no public access to this year’s tree lighting ceremony.

While you won’t be there, “Today” show co-anchors Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, Craig Melvin and Al Roker will be, emceeing the festivities.

Kelly Clarkson, Goo Goo Dolls, Earth, Wind & Fire, Brett Eldredge, Jimmy Fallon, Tori Kelly, Leslie Odom Jr., Dolly Parton, Pentatonix, Dan + Shay, Gwen Stefani and Meghan Trainor will perform from various locations on the NBC special, as will the cast from the Tony Award-winning hit “Ain’t Too Proud.” The Radio City Rockettes are also set to perform.

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“Christmas in Rockefeller Center” is produced by Brad Lachman Productions. Lachman serves as executive producer, Bill Bracken will co-executive produce and Debbie Palacio directs.

Prior to the primetime telecast, an early and additional live hour of the special will be broadcast on all NBC-owned stations and on many affiliates. The regional hour, which starts at 7 p.m. Manhattan time, will be co-hosted by Mario Lopez along with NBC4 New York’s Natalie Pasquarlla and David Usherye.

Following “Christmas in Rockefeller Center,” NBC will air the “Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes – At Home Holiday Special.” That finishes out primetime at 10 p.m. local time, and that little programming note finishes out our “How to Watch” story.

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