Ryan Seacrest will help ring in the New Year when he returns for a second year to host the 90-minute music spectacular featuring previously announced performances from Ashanti, Metallica, Puddle of Mudd, Hootie and the Blowfish, Keith Urban, DJ Funkmaster Flex and rap artists Westside Connection on America's Party, airing live from the Venetian Resort Hotel-Casino Las Vegas on Wednesday, December 31 live from 11:00 PM -12:30 AM ET (tape delayed elsewhere.)

In addition to the musical performances, Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie, the stars of FOX's other hit reality series The Simple Life, will make an appearance to help count down the final moments of 2003.

Seacrest, host of the hit series American Idol, which returns for a third season January 20 on FOX, was recently named as one of People Magazine's "50 Most Beautiful" for 2003. Next year, in addition to his hosting duties on American Idol,

Seacrest will executive-produce and host On Air with Ryan Seacrest , a live one-hour variety show combining the newsmagazine and talk show formats. On Air with Ryan Seacrest premieres Monday, January 12, in national syndication. Seacrest will also soon be taking over for Casey Kasem in hosting radio's "American Top 40" weekly from his "On Air" studio at Hollywood & Highland as the radio legend retires from the Top 40 gig to focus solely on his other adult contemporary chart countdown program.

America's Party is executive-produced by Rick Garson and Doc McGhee. Emmy Award winner Sandy Grossman will direct the New Year's Eve special.