The 62-year-old movie It's a Wonderful Life, broadcast annually by NBC, went head-to-head against the three-year-old The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, broadcast by ABC Wedneday, but it was the older film that drew the most viewers. In fact the Jimmy Stewart classic was the top-rated show of the night among 18-49-year-olds, the demographic group that advertisers court. But, on another traditional Christmas-eve night of light viewing, repeats of Criminal Mindsand CSI:NYgave CBS a victory among overall viewers for the night.


The British government has criticized commercial broadcaster Channel 4 for broadcasting a message by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as its "alternative message" to the Queen's annual Christmas message. "The British media are rightly free to make their own editorial choices, but this invitation will cause offense and amusement (sic) not just at home but amongst friendly countries abroad," a spokeswoman for the British foreign office said. But Channel 4 news chief Dorothy Byrne rmarked that the message presented "an insight into an alternative world view." In his speech, Ahmadinejad remarked, "If Christ were on Earth today, undoubtedly He would hoist the banner of justice and love for humanity to oppose warmongers, occupiers, terrorists and bullies the world over."


Eartha Kitt, who rose to sudden fame 56 years ago as a cast member of Broadway's New Faces of 1952, a kind of American Idolof its day in which unknown but remarkable talent was showcased, died Thursday in New York of colon cancer at the age of 81. She was nominated three times for Emmy awards and won twice. She also was nominated for Tony and Grammy awards. An outspoken opponent of the Vietnam War, Kitt attracted headlines when, at a White House luncheon of prominent women hosted by the First Lady, Lady Bird Johnson, she accused the Johnson administration of sending "the best of this country off to be shot and maimed." Years later she said that offers of work suddenly dried up following her remarks. In an interview with Essencemagazine, she said that she became angry "when I realized that if you tell the truth -- in a country that says you're entitled to tell the truth -- you get your face slapped and you get put out of work."