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'The Great Christmas Light Fight' kicks off back-to-back episodes tonight

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ABC’s newest holiday reality show kicks off two nights of back-to-back episodes on Dec. 16. For TV's first Christmas lights competition of its kind, each episode of "The Great Christmas Light Fight" pits four families against each other as they transform their homes for the holidays. The new TV series premiered last week. According to the Futon Critic, the debut posted “the best December time slot results in five years.” More than 6.5 viewers tuned in, meaning “The Great Christmas Light Fight” is a hit for the holidays.

Last week, a retired New York firefighter won the premiere episode. Kevin Lynch stated on-air that his 2001 display restored normalcy to his neighborhood after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Since then, his Christmas light display has grown bigger and brighter each and every year. His winning design included more than 300,000 lights and 100 animated figures. The most amazing thing was that he buried all wires so that visitors could walk his property to get up close and personal with his amazing display. To see the Lynch family’s extreme Christmas house, be sure to watch the video above.

Beginning on Dec. 16, “The Great Christmas Light Fight” will air two consecutive weeks of back-to-back episodes. Tonight, eight more families will deck their halls to the extreme in hopes of winning the $50,000 prize (two be awarded each Monday). Michael Maloney and Sabrina Soto from “Extreme Home Makeover” judge the over-the-top home Christmas light displays. The judging criteria are use of lights, Christmas spirit, and overall design.

After “The Great Christmas Light Fight” aired last week, ratings weren’t the only good news for ABC. Reviews were also mainly favorable. TV columnist Brian Lowry from “Variety” wrote:

‘The Great Christmas Light Fight’ is about as inoffensive and low-wattage as reality TV gets, which isn’t necessarily bad. Consider it a festive way for ABC to try keeping the lights on ratings-wise while waiting for ‘The Bachelor.’

WVEC posted:

Twenty families from across America decorate their homes to the extreme for Christmas – in ways that would certainly make even Clark Griswold envious.

Throughout the 5-episode course of the season, a total of 20 families compete for $250,000 ($50 per episode). The competitors were chosen after sending in home videos for consideration during an extensive national search. They had three weeks to decorate and were able to enlist the help of friends and family. Executive producer Brady Connell told Zap2It of the selection process:

We wanted people from all around the country. Some are on smaller homes, with incredibly dense lights synchronized to music as people drive by and see the show. Many of these family members present their artistic vision to the public, and people are very inspired as they drive by.

Back-to-back episodes of "The Great Christmas Light Fight" air from 9-11 p.m. EST on Monday Dec. 16 and 23 on ABC.

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