Got your noisemakers? Party hats? Champagne? How about your TV remote? You’ll need it to keep up with Ryan Seacrest this New Year’s Eve.
It’s time to let loose and celebrate what’s to come — a shiny new year. For many Americans, part of that celebration includes watching the famous ball drop in New York City, a tradition the late Dick Clark brought to millions of revelers as part of his legendary annual television special “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.”
Luckily for viewers, Ryan Seacrest, a Clark’s protégé, has taken over as host and will again bring viewers the excitement from Times Square in “Dick Clark’s Primetime New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest,” airing Tuesday on ABC.
The special that ushered in 2013 was somewhat darkened by the shadow of Clark’s April 2012 death from a heart attack. The show marked the special’s 41st anniversary and was Seacrest’s first turn as primary host.
A tribute to Clark preceded the show and helped yield its biggest prime-time audience ever — an average of 13.3 million viewers in key demographics, up from the previous year’s 12.9 million prime-time hour viewers.
Jenny McCarthy of “The View” and Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas will co-host this year’s special. McCarthy, an actress who’s been with the show since 2011, brings viewers all of the action from Times Square; Fergie parties on the West Coast with some big-name musical acts.
“As the ‘New Year’s Rockin’ Eve’ legacy continues, it is an honor to be a part of the largest celebration of the year,” Fergie said. “I am excited to share the stage with so many global stars.”
Those stars represent a cross-section of today’s recording industry, following Clark’s legacy of using television to bring popular music to the masses. Clark started the tradition he started as the host of “American Bandstand” in 1956.
This year’s “Rockin’ Eve” performers include rhythm-and-blues artist Jason Derulo; rockers Fall Out Boy; Grammy and Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson; heartthrob Enrique Iglesias; and pop sensation Robin Thicke. More performers may join the roster as showtime nears.
Music fans may want to tune in early. ABC has scheduled a two-hour special, “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve Presents the 30 Greatest Women in Music,” profiling some of today’s most popular female recording artists to precede the official New Year’s kick-off. During the “Women in Music” special, Seacrest, McCarthy and Fergie will introduce clips and interviews from the archives of Dick Clark Productions.
Besides musical performances, “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” includes a look at New Year’s celebrations across the globe, so North Americans can see how the rest of the world rings in the new year. Seacrest will also lead the traditional countdown to midnight from New York City’s Times Square.
Seacrest has said that working on “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” has been a dream come true. Seacrest was just more than a year old when Clark became host of ABC’s New Year’s special in 1975, and he grew up heavily influenced by the “American Bandstand” host and prominent radio DJs Casey Kasem and Rick Dees.
Seacrest began his radio career at Atlanta’s WSTR when he was still a teen, and moved to Los Angeles in the 1990s to continue his rise to fame. His big break on television came when he landed a gig hosting “American Idol” in 2002.
Clark wasn’t the first broadcasting icon Seacrest succeeded. In 2004, he took over for Kasem as host of “American Top 40” and continues to be a major presence in popular radio today.
If “Rockin’ Eve” isn’t your taste, rival networks offer music-and-celebration alternatives. Fox’s “New Year’s Eve Live” whisks viewers to New York and Las Vegas this year. “NBC’s New Year’s Eve Live With Carson Daly” usually hunkers down in New York’s Times Square.