About Christmas TV History

Friday, July 14, 2023

Christmas in July 2023: A Diva's Christmas Carol (2000)


 Merry Christmas in July! It is Day #14 in the month-long celebration of Christmas entertainment. Each day this month I will be sharing brief reminisces about Christmas TV episodes, specials, and movies that are a creative or imaginative adaptation of Charles Dickens' tale A CHRISTMAS CAROL. Just a little something different and a way for me to show off the diversity of holiday stories I've collected in the encyclopedia Tis the Season TV (the updated and expanded 2nd edition will be released soon).  

 Today's discussion is actually a favorite of mine--the feature-length comedy A Diva's Christmas Carol from 2000 starring Vanessa Williams. The movie made its debut on VH-1 and was written and directed by Richard Schenkman.


Now THAT'S a diva! Vanessa Williams as Ebony

What happens when the biggest pop star in show business behaves like a selfish, demanding diva at Christmas? She’s treated to a rock n’ roll version of Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” to give her the opportunity to learn from her mistakes before it’s too late. This holiday story is a parody of show business egomaniacs and the movie is filled with fun music references. Here, the Scrooge character is Ebony, a successful recording artist who wants to make even more money and fame at the expense of her crew and staff. Bob Crachett is her road manager who is forced to work on Christmas day along with all the other staff members when the insufferable Ebony wants to make profits off of holiday tourists in New York City. Ebony is warned by the ghost of her former singing partner Marli Jacob, dressed in leather collar and chains, to change her attitude. Ebony is visited by several more ghosts that evening as well, including a vision of her future courtesy of the VH-1 documentary series “Behind the Music,” where she sees her legacy as a pop star is not as she wants it.  


Pardon my thumb! The original TV Guide magazine ad from 2000.

This adaptation with an attitude is rich in references to popular culture, fashion, the music industry and show business. Viewers are also treated to Vanessa Williams singing “Sleigh Ride” and the movie’s opening and closing song “The Heart of Christmas.”

The star-studded cast includes Vanessa Williams as the diva Ebony, Brian McNamara as Bob Cratchett, Kathy Griffin as the Ghost of Christmas Past, Duran Duran’s John Taylor as the Ghost of Christmas Present, singer Rozonda ‘Chilli’ Thomas from TLC as Marli Jacob, singer Brian McKnight as himself, and music producer Nile Rogers as a record exec in Ebony’s documentary “Behind the Music.”


Note: in 2022, VH-1 aired a new TV movie A New Diva's Christmas Carol starring Ashanti. While this more recent release is also an adaptation of Dickens' literary classic and its story centers around a pop singer making a Christmas TV special, it is quite different from the 2000 movie in writing and tone.


Joanna Wilson is a TV researcher and book author specializing in Christmas entertainment. More about the TV programs mentioned on this website can be found in her book "Tis the Season TV: the Encyclopedia of Christmas-themed Episodes, Specials, and Made-for-TV Movies." Her latest book "Triple Dog Dare: Watching--& Surviving--the 24-Hour Marathon of A Christmas Story" was released in 2016. She is currently updating and expanding the encyclopedia for an upcoming release. Her books can be found at the publisher's website: 1701 press.com

*Support this website and its research by purchasing the books at 1701 press.com

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