New York Times bestselling author, radio host and cultural commentator, Eric Metaxas has teamed up with popular Christian Network TBN to host “Christmas In New York.”
“Christmas In New York” premieres on December 23rd at 8 PM ET/11 PM PT, runs December 24th at 5 PM, and December 25th at 3 AM and 10 AM. The 1970s style variety hour, shot in front of a live studio audience, mimics “Saturday Night Live.” It’s comprised of comedy sketches featuring cameos from popular comedians, musical performances and celebrity guests.
The following is an edited transcript where Metaxas shares with The Christian Post further details on “Christmas In New York” and what he’s hoping to accomplish with the new TV show.
Christian Post: Christmas can be very enchanting in the big apple during the holidays, can you share about “Christmas in New York,” your actual experience and about your show?
Metaxas: I grew up in New York and sort of took Christmas in NY for granted. But by filming this show I got a bit of an outsider's perspective on it all. I marveled at the Rockefeller Christmas tree and Central Park and the decorations on Fifth Avenue in a way I really never had before!
I was amazed Phil Robertson and I didn’t get arrested during that scene in Central Park. But I don’t want to get ahead of myself. Let’s just say you can take the bearded patriarch out of the swamp, but evidently you can’t take the swamp out of the bearded patriarch!
CP: The show is pegged a 1970s style variety show, what made you go for that feel?
Metaxas: For one thing, that’s when I grew up, but more importantly, it’s when the culture was still producing programming for the whole family. The fracturing of media into age-specific programming had not yet happened, and families could all come together and enjoy something as a family. That’s something most people still long for, and it’s why I wanted to do the show this way, so that people from every age group and political persuasion and faith perspective could all have fun together.
CP: What and who can we expect to see on the program?
Metaxas: Phil Robertson and Miss Kay are two of the finest people I’ve ever had the privilege of getting to know and I knew they had to be involved. Phil gives about as clear a message about the meaning of Christmas as you’ll ever get, but he and Miss Kay weren’t afraid to have some kooky fun with me, too, as you will certainly have to agree.
Also, Victoria Jackson is one of the most talented comic actors alive! It is a joy to call her a friend and to have been able to perform with her! She honestly cracks me up in a way few people ever have done.
Melanie Penn is one of those little known talents that my wife and I have known was destined for big things for a long time. Her new Christmas album is spectacular and I was thrilled she got to perform one of the songs from it on the show.
CP: Can you share a moment that really impacted you while filming?
Metaxas: There is no question I’ve not had so much fun in a long time, and not just because much of what we do is fun or funny, but also because I could sense during the filming that this was what the Lord made me to do and that He was with us in a dramatic way. There was a genuine miracle moment where a bright white dove — and I have never seen one in New York City before, and I live here — lit down near us and simply would not fly away. It was as obvious and heavy-handed a sign or symbol as you ever get, but sometimes that’s just what you need. All of us were flat out amazed.
CP: There are so many things going on around Christmas, what does this holiday mean to you?
Metaxas: I’ll let the show answer that question. If it doesn’t, we have failed!
CP: What message do you want people to take away from "Christmas in NY"?
Metaxas: That Christmas is for everyone, and Jesus is for everyone. You don’t have to be an evangelical Christian to see that there is something staggering and impossibly beautiful and haunting in the idea of God coming to Earth to pave the way for us to go to heaven. I want this show to help people who might be on the fence about that idea. We all need a little encouragement along these lines.
CP: What are some dreams and aspirations you have for the New Year?
Metaxas: I’m planning to do five or six of these holiday specials for TBN this year, and my hope is that they would get better and better and bless more and more people. We really do need more programming that brings families and friends together, as I said earlier, and I believe God has opened that door and I’m just planning to walk through it and see what He does with it.
For more information on “Christmas In New York” visit TBN.