Holiday creep has been a longstanding TV phenomenon, but as broadcast networks confront their own mortality 365 days a year, they are less likely to give a prime time hour over to Charles Schultz or Rankin-Bass creations then they are airing an awards show or a repeat of a successful series. On cable, however, targeting is everything, so the generation-old notion of tailoring content to those just back from Christmas Tree Shops and the mall wrapping kiosk has been a major success. It’s gotten to the point where the most active holiday networks, among them Hallmark Channel, Lifetime and ABC Family, have started putting pockets of yule content in previously uncharted parts of the calendar and filling the nearly two months between Halloween and the New Year’s ball drop with all manner of seasonal fare. (ABC Family, in fairness, kicks off its slate just after Thanksgiving.) How did we get to this point exactly?
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