Chicago Bears Devin Hester races a cheetah during a scientific matchup between nature's fastest land mammal and the super-agile wide receiver and kick returner in the Big Cat Week special Man Vs. Cheetah airing on Nat Geo WILD in November. (photo credit: National Geographic Channels/Tracy Wilcox)
Updated: December 27, 2013 6:09AM
“DANCING WITH THE STARS” (8 p.m. Tuesday, WLS-Channel 7): After 10 weeks of shaking and shimmying on the dance floor, it’s time for one couple to waltz off with the mirrorball trophy. The two-hour finale includes performances by Lady Antebellum, Enrique Iglesias and Ylvis (“The Fox Trot,” perhaps?). Kleenex alert: Valerie Harper will be back to dance with partner Tristan MacManus to a version of “What a Wonderful World” by Colbie Caillat.
“THE NATIONAL DOG SHOW” (noon Thursday, WMAQ-Channel 5): After watching the obligatory Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, stay tuned for another procession — this one devoted to man’s best friend. Some 1,500 purebred canines compete for the title of Best in Show in a program watched by 19 million viewers last year. This year, three new American Kennel Club-sanctioned breeds are included: the Chinook, the Portuguese Podengo Pequeno and the looks-cuter-than-it-sounds Rat Terrier. More of a cat person? Read on.
“BIG CAT WEEK” (8 p.m. Friday through Dec. 3, Nat Geo Wild): The cable network’s most-watched week of the year, the feline lineup kicks off Friday with “Man v. Cheetah” — make that bear versus cheetah. The Chicago Bears’ Devin Hester goes one-on-one in a race against the fastest land animal, whose speed has been known to clock more than 60 m.p.h. That’s followed by the premiere of “Super Cat,” an interesting look at what would happen if you took the best features of different felines and combined them into one cool cat.
“RETURN TO DOWNTON ABBEY” (7 p.m. Sunday, WTTW-Channel 11): This refresher course on the popular British period drama makes a nice amuse-bouche before the main course, season four, starts Jan. 5. Narrated by superfan Susan Sarandon, the special looks back at the highs and lows experienced by characters upstairs and downstairs at the Crawley family estate. You’ll also get sneak peeks of the new season, which picks up six months after the game-changing death of proud new papa Matthew Crawley.