The TV yule log has become an unlikely holiday hit across the country every Christmas morning, as TV stations crank up the holiday tunes and keep their cameras trained on a crackling fireplace for hours on end. This year, The Hub Network is enlisting its cult-fave cartoon, My Little Pony Friendship is Magic, to put a twist on the tradition.
Starting at 6 a.m./ET (3 a.m./PT) on Wednesday, Dec. 25, The Hub will pre-empt regular programming to run its take on the yule log. For four hours, an animated fireplace — as seen at My Little Pony character Pinkie Pie's house — will showcase a fire as Christmas music plays and characters from various Hub Network shows make cameo appearances.
It may be a Christmas tradition that proves irresistible to My Little Pony superfans: the group that calls itself "bronies." Stockings will hang over the fireplace for the show's stars, including Princess Twilight Sparkle, Rarity, Rainbow Dash, Applejack, Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie.
The Hub was inspired by the TV yule log first created by New York's WPIX-TV. The TV station made the yule log an annual tradition from 1966 to 1989, originally using a shot of the fireplace at New York's Gracie Mansion. Late WPIX general manager Fred Thrower came up with the idea when he realized that most of New York's apartment dwellers didn't have fireplaces.
WPIX brought the tradition back to New York in 2001, and it eventually made its way to Los Angeles, where two competing TV stations, KCAL and KTLA, now battle every year for yule log ratings supremacy.
Other cable networks besides Hub Network have also gotten into the act. This year, the "uplifting entertainment" channel UP (formerly GMC) will run a yule log for a full 24 hours, from 8/7c on Christmas Eve to 8/7c on Christmas Day. Hallmark Movie Channel will telecast its version of the log for 12 hours, starting at 9/8c on Christmas Eve. Various on demand and online services also feature their own yule log coverage.
As for The Hub, the network says it hopes pre-empting its regular programming for the yule log might "encourage family togetherness during the holiday morning." Here's a preview: