TV Review: ‘The Great Christmas Light Fight’

The Great Christmas Light Fight TV

ABC's holiday stocking stuffer is a credible if low-wattage effort to keep the lights on

What “War on Christmas?” As holiday stocking stuffers go, “The Great Christmas Light Fight” is about as inoffensive and low-wattage as reality-TV gets, which isn’t necessarily bad, except the whole exercise could easily be dispatched as a weeklong segment on “Good Morning America.” As is, this five-part series (after the premiere, back-to-back hours will run the next two Mondays) features four families in each episode, with members of the “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” team deciding who claims the $50,000 prize. In practical terms, consider it a festive way for ABC to try keeping the lights on ratings-wise while waiting for “The Bachelor.”

“Makeover’s” Michael Moloney is featured in the premiere (Sabrina Soto is the other judge), crisscrossing the country from California to Georgia, Virginia to New York. Surprisingly, other than a former New York firefighter who survived Sept. 11, the participants don’t come armed with sob stories, beyond a love of Christmas and family and, in one case, a questionable eagerness to dress up in elf costumes.

Each family talks about why they started putting together these elaborate light displays, then Moloney – and of course, the entire community – come out for the big unveiling, designating a winner near the end. And that’s pretty much that.

Admittedly, a cynic might argue the spirit of the holidays would be better served if the cash went toward some charitable endeavor or higher calling, or the families spent a little more time talking about the meaning of the season and less obsessing about whether there might be a dud bulb somewhere. Still, given the genial nature of the enterprise, that’s splitting hairs.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of “Great Christmas Light Fight” is its inherent limitation – namely, even if this works, about the best ABC can hope for is to do the whole thing over again next year right after Thanksgiving. (For what it’s worth, the program does include a pitch for those who’d like to participate in the future to send in their information.)

Then again, fretting about that is a bit like putting the sleigh before the reindeer. Besides, ABC and FremantleMedia should have a pretty good idea by Tuesday morning whether this Christmas bauble will merit a second coming.

TV Review: 'The Great Christmas Light Fight'

(Series; ABC, Mon. Dec. 9, 9 p.m.)


Produced by FremantleMedia North America.


Executive Producers, Brady Connell, Max Swedlow, Thom Beers, Jennifer Mullin. 60 MIN.


Judges: Michael Moloney, Sabrina Soto

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  1. DJ says:

    I was very disappointed with all the Christmas Light Fights for the past 3 weeks. I almost not have to see Northern part of America to be in the competition. Mostly southern… HUH?? And All of you aim for mostly middle class to upper class. What about CITY?? LIke Brooklyn, NY the Dyker Heights has the best.

  2. I absolutely love <3 love <3 The Great Christmas Light Fight! Proud that Illinois – Elburn won a match… but my FAVE was the 9/11 Firefighter's House in NY!!! It is the quintessential…. Christmas light, theme, cozy, warm and massive display of lights! I would not want to see their ComEd Bill for winter! So fun to watch and warms my soul! Michael Moloney is my fave host too because he seems like someone I would have as a friend ;) Great Fun!
    ¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*¨)
    (¸.•´ (¸.•`

  3. T-Baccam says:

    My family and I flipped the TV channel and came accross the show. We watched it and thought the show was pretty good. But I have to admit, seems like the judging does not have the eyes for a good or amazing light display. I winners house is nice but it doesn’t have that WOW factor for the display. Any house next door can display the lights like the winner they choose, it’s nce display but doesn’t have the technology or the FX display to win the competition. With an Engineering back ground I think in my opinion is the house by the lake (now that’s a heck or a display). If they want clean look than I think Mikey Mouse display is very X-Mas-ee. The show is about lights correct? Not about ordinary light display. So I think (even friends and family agrees), think that for the next episode (if it continues), than I think they should use someone that has my technical skills or design skills for judging.
    I am a Mechanical Engineering/Designer. I work for people world wide so I have pretty good concepts with way things suppose to look like, I would be more than happy to go all over the place and take photos and video and than do the judging for the show lol. Just thought I put in a comment. Good show thou

  4. Nancy Riggs says:

    why is the television station not working I tried to watch it on Monday night, On KTKA channel 49. Makes me mad can’t watch it. My son in Meriden Kansas did the same light thing. Won for best show in Meriden Kansas.

  5. chris says:

    The host Michael Moloney was the most ridiculous host…..I am not sure why they choose him…..He was so rude and had no holiday spirt! These poor family worked so hard on each of their displays…..PLEASE ABC……pick a host who actually enjoys the Christmas spirt……..not an jerk who acted better then all the families…….my poor family couldn’t finish the program….because all of his rude comments. :-(

  6. Russ Hamilton says:

    Several people have commented that Michael Moloney does not have qualifications to judge modern day Christmas lights. He has no concept of the technology that is involved with modern set ups. In the first week the Laguna hills residence presented a show that that was unique and program that was technology superior to 99% of all animated houses anywhere and it was barely discusses how every individual light(not strand) was programmed independently and because the song was original the programming was original. I mention this because the first house although amazing was not criticized for choosing the most popular light animation
    Song in America and one which it sequences are freely available on light o rama. There is an artistic aspect that michael is not educated about. Furthermore the laguna hills residence had a interactive text messaging that allows visitors to text in holiday messages and the show didn’t even feature this aspect. I have no connection to this residence but I am very familiar with it because it is one of the best shows anywhere. Not to say that

    • sheryl says:

      I enjoyed the show and I think Michael Maloney made the right choice just because of the several themes, great detail and it just brought tears to my eyes. I liked the others as well and the magnificent light shows but this particular one was best in my book. I enjoyed the show and loved the over the top exterior illuminations.

  7. Wanted to post a great contest HyDrive Energy Water is having – submit a short video of your fantastic home holiday light display and you could win $1000 off your holiday energy bill!

  8. J. Binns says:

    ABC touched the hearts of a whole lot of viewers with this one – including mine. Most people love seeing Christmas lights. I hope it’ll be on annually.

  9. Stacie kurnat says:

    How do u pick houses to see? There’s a spectacular one in Greenville mich called whites winter wonderland that plays to music u listen to on ur car radio.

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