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 V.17 No.52 | December 25 - 31, 2008 

Idiot Box

Good Rockin’ at Midnight

New Year’s Eve around the dial

So, it’s Dec. 31, 2008. Aside from getting wicked drunk on cheap Champagne, eating way too many stuffed mushrooms and trying to steal an awkward midnight kiss from your next-door neighbor who has two screaming kids but looks surprisingly doable in the glow of your still-standing Christmas tree, what is there for you to look forward to this New Year’s Eve?

What else: New Year’s Eve countdown specials on TV! All the major broadcast networks have one, with the exception of CBS. CBS viewers are old and are advised to go to bed early. But which of the other networks to choose? Let’s run down the stats for each network’s offering and see which one best suits your lifestyle.

The grandaddy of them all (37 years and counting) is Dick Clark’s annual ball-drop beamed live from Times Square. Since his stroke a few years back, Dick has dialed down his participation and mostly handed things over to a younger generation of parka-wearing pseudo celebs. This year’s “Dick Clark’s Primetime New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2009” (KOAT-7 9-10 p.m./11:30 p.m.-1 a.m.) is pushing the word limit, title-wise, but we’ll let it slide. Seacrest takes up his post in Times Square, while Fergie does West Coast duty in Hollywood. Ex-American Idoler Kellie Pickler is apparently “reporting” from the streets of New York.

Tween Steam: The Jonas Brothers, Jesse McCartney. (Miley Cyrus is MIA, but 12-year-old girls will be screaming.) Dinosaur Factor: Lionel Richie. (Your mom probably knows who he is.) Hick Quotient: Kellie Pickler, Taylor Swift. (What, no Jessica Simpson?) American Idolatry: Seacrest and Pickler. (Though neither is likely to sing.) Street Cred: Fergie, will.i.am, Natasha Bedingfield, Solange Knowles and Robin Thicke. (Quantity is high but leans more toward easy R&B.) Misc: The Pussycat Dolls, Fall Out Boy. (Skanks and Emos, we’ve got you covered.)

“NBC’s New Year’s Eve with Carson Daly” (KOB-4 9-10 p.m./11:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m.) finds the “TRL” grad welcoming a bunch of non-musicians including Conan O’Brien, Kathy Griffin and Donald Trump. Reporters Amy Robach and Luke Russert are there to guarantee plenty of on-the-street interviews with drunken revelers. Of course, that doesn’t leave a lot of room for actual performers.

Tween Steam: Avril Lavigne. (Although at age 24 , she’s practically an old hag.) Street Cred: T.I., Ludacris. (Take that, Fergie!) Misc: The Ting Tings, Katy Perry. (There’s the pop.)

Coming straight from The Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas is “New Year’s Eve Live” (KASA-2 11 p.m.-12:30 a.m.). Spike Feresten (of FOX’s “Talkshow with Spike Feresten”) and Mark Thompson (of FOX’s “Hole in the Wall”) do the host thing.

American Idolatry: David Cook, Daughtry, Jordin Sparks. (Taylor Hicks, we hardly knew ye.) Dinosaur Factor: Scott Weiland. (Your older brother probably knows who he is.) Misc: Shortly after midnight, stuntman Robbie Knievel will attempt a death-defying 200-foot jump over the Mirage’s volcano. Happy 2009!

 

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