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How, when to watch ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ on TV

The popular holiday special will air on CBS and Freeform.

Hermy the elf and Rudolph in “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”

Perhaps it’s fitting that the 56-year-old TV special “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” is making its return appearance this holiday season on a 91-year-old TV network.

The first airing of the yuletide perennial, always a ratings hit, will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 1, on CBS. (In Chicago, on WBBM-Channel 2.) A second CBS airing begins at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 13.

“Rudolph” also is part of the “25 Days of Christmas” stunt on the Freeform cable channel, where airings are scheduled on Dec 5, 6, 19 and 20, as well as on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

It’s not on the lineup of any subscription streaming service but can be purchased digitally from retailers including iTunes, and on Blu-ray and other physical media.

The 1964 Rankin-Bass creation expands on the story told in Gene Autry’s hit song, adding new characters including misfit elf Hermy and prospector Yukon Cornelius. Voicing Sam the Snowman, folk singer Burl Ives narrates, sings the title song and introduces the future standard “Holly Jolly Christmas.”