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 V.14 No.52 | December 29 - January 4, 2006 

Idiot Box

Dick Clark's Ball Drops

New Year's Eve around the dial

There are plenty of good reasons to watch TV on New Year's Eve--not the least of which is it's the only way to settle arguments over whose watch has the correct time. If you don't use the Idiot Box as tiebreaker, you'll have people shouting “Happy New Year” at a dozen different intervals.

The default program is, of course, “Dick Clark's New Year's Rocking Eve 2006” (KOAT-7 9 p.m.). Dick is back after taking a year or so off to pencil a heart attack into his schedule. He will be assisted by cohosts Ryan Seacrest and Hilary Duff. Normally, I'd say Dick Clark is your man. But I like you and don't wish to subject you to the likes of Ryan and Hilary. Musical guests include Chris Brown, Sean Paul, The Pussycat Dolls and The Bangles (who will feel very, very old playing after The Pussycat Dolls).

Just down the dial from there is “New Year's Eve Live” (KASA-2 11 p.m.). Regis Philbin, who filled in for Dick last NYE, has been recruited by rival FOX to interview celebrity guests (including Nick Cannon, Tyler Hilton, Donald Trump, Carrie Underwood and John O'Hurley) and to lead the crowd in a live sing-along. Gee, sounds like loads of fun there, Reege. NBC, on the other hand, looks to in-house talent for “New Year's Eve With Carson Daly” (KOB-4 11:30 p.m.). Carson courts the hip (hop) crowd with guests like comedian Wanda Sykes, singer Mary J. Blige and Renaissance man Diddy. CBS, knowing its audience will be in bed by 9:30, has nothing.

If you want background music for your party, there are plenty of choices. Kanye West, Shakira, Young Jeezy and Common will be dropping by to kick it at “New Year's Eve 2006 Special” (MTV 11:30 p.m.). If your party is in need of even more serious grooves, tune in to “106 & Party” (BET 9 p.m.). Assorted musical guests will deliver the 411 on the year's most krunktastic videos. If your musical taste runs rural as opposed to urban, though, there's “Great American Country's New Year's Eve Party” (GAC 7 p.m.). It features 300 minutes worth of two-stepping tunes hosted by Neil McCoy--who I gather is some sort of hillbilly dignitary.

If you're looking for a little south of the border flavor, you might want to check out “!Feliz 2006!” (KLUZ-16 9 p.m.), where you can “celebrando el año nuevo desde Nueva York, Puerto Rico y Acapulco.” Man, I wanna celebrando desde Acapulco! I have no idea who the hosts or guests will be, but I'm sure they're muy caliente.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Fox News Channel will be hosting “All-American New Year: 2006” (FNC 9 p.m.). No lousy foreigners here--just lots of flag-waving and president worshipping. Mike Jerrick and Juliet Huddy are your liberal-bashing hosts for the evening. ... And, on a weird sidenote: Why are there so many Internet fetish sites based on Juliet Huddy's feet? You Republicans are some sick party animals. Break out the champagne and the glass slippers and party like it's 2006, everybody!

Tomorrow's Events

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