The 26-minute short was originally telecast in the United States on CBS on December 18, 1966. CBS repeated it annually during the Christmas season until their last airing in 1986. Beginning in 1987, TNT began exclusively running the special. Unlike the years it aired on CBS, The Grinch now ran several times during the Christmas season. In 1990, TBS also began running the special. From 1996 until 2005, The WB Television Network also began airing the special at least once per season. Then in 2006, The Grinch returned to one of the big three networks, this being ABC, which began broadcasting it several times annually during the Christmas season until 2014. On August 13, 2015, it was announced that the special will move to NBC, which will air it twice during the Christmas season under a three-year licensing deal with Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution. It is currently aired during the Christmas season additionally on various cable channels owned by Turner Broadcasting System. including TNT, TBS, Cartoon Network, and Boomerang but with some scenes trimmed to fit more commercial time.
Boris Karloff, in one of his final roles, narrates the film and also provides the speaking voice of The Grinch. (The opening credits state, "The sounds of the Grinch are by Boris Karloff...And read by Boris Karloff too!") The special was originally produced by The Cat in the Hat Productions in association with the television and animation divisions of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios.