Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve

Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve Information

Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve is an annual television special that airs every New Year's Eve on ABC. The special broadcasts from New York City's Times Square, and prominently features coverage of its annual ball drop event, along with live and pre-recorded musical performances by popular acts from Times Square and Hollywood respectively. Despite being in a direct rivalry with Guy Lombardo's popular and long-running New Year's Eve specials on CBS when it first premiered, New Year's Rockin' Eve soon became the most watched New Year's Eve special in the United States; with its 2012 edition peaking at 22.6 million home viewersnot including viewers watching from locations such as bars and New Year's Eve parties, which are not measured by Nielsen.

Its host, creator, and namesake was entertainer Dick Clark, who hosted coverage of New Year's Eve celebrations in Times Square for ABC (through both Rockin' Eve and ABC's special coverage of millennium celebrations) annually from 1974 to 2004when the complications of a stroke less than a month prior prevented him from participating in the 2005 edition, resulting in Regis Philbin substituting as the host. While Clark would return from 2006 to 2012, his role on Rockin' Eve became more limited due to Clark's dysarthria (a lingering effect from the stroke), as Ryan Seacrest became the main on-air host from Times Square. The death of Dick Clark on April 18, 2012 left Seacrest as the sole host of the special beginning with its 2012–13 edition.


New Year's Rockin' Eve is primarily broadcast from Times Square in New York City, providing coverage of the New Year's Eve festivities held there, along with musical performances at Times Square by pop musicians, and culminating with the long-running ball drop leading to midnight and the New Year. Since 2000-2001's edition, coverage has begun with an hour-long primetime show airing at 10:00 PM ET/PT. Following late local news, the main New Year's Rockin' Eve broadcast begins at 11:35 PM ET/PT, followed by a Part 2 that follows the ball drop and features more performances and usually runs until 3:00 AM ET/PT. The special also includes pre-recorded segments featuring performances from a studio in Hollywood; since the 2006-2007 edition, these segments have been hosted by Stacy "Fergie" Ferguson of The Black Eyed Peas.

Since 2005, Ryan Seacrest has hosted the live show outside in Times Square (along with a celebrity correspondent providing additional reports from attendees). From his return and until his death, Dick Clark hosted a limited number of segments from a studio overlooking Times Square approaching midnight, but still conducted his traditional countdown, and continued on with the tradition of kissing his wife, Kari Wigton, at midnight.


Before Rockin' Eve

Prior to the premiere of New Year's Rockin' Eve, the most well-known New Year's Eve program was the annual big band remote of bandleader Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians, broadcast from the ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Guy Lombardo would host 48 straight New Year's Eve broadcasts on CBS until his death in 1977, beginning on radio in 1928 (and for a period, splitting with NBC Radio following midnight ET), and on CBS Television from 1956 to 1976 (which also featured coverage of the ball drop in Times Square). Lombardo's specials were also well known for his band's performance of the song "Auld Lang Syne" at midnight, which helped make the standard synonymous with New Year's festivities.

Prior to the creation of New Year's Rockin' Eve, Dick Clark would host at least one New Year's Eve television speciala special edition of his popular music series American Bandstand, which aired on December 31, 1959 on ABC.

Conception, premiere

By the 1970s, Dick Clark felt that Guy Lombardo's New Year's specials did not appeal to younger viewers, believing that only older viewers would be interested in big band music accompanied by "people dancing cheek-to-jowl in their tuxedos and funny hats." In response, he decided to produce a more youthful New Year's Eve special of his own to compete. Clark's new program would be known as New Year's Rockin' Eve, a name chosen to signify the major contrast between his special and the more formal atmosphere of Guy Lombardo's special. The first edition, Three Dog Night's New Year's Rockin' Eve 1973, was aired by NBC on December 31, 1972 and was hosted by the members of the rock band Three Dog Night. The special featured pre-recorded musical performances from the ballroom of the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California by Blood, Sweat & Tears, Helen Reddy, Al Green, and Three Dog Night. Clark would serve as a reporter from Times Square for live coverage of the ball drop and arrival of 1973. The second special, New Year's Rockin' Eve 1974, also on NBC, was hosted by comedian George Carlin and featured musical performances by The Pointer Sisters, Billy Preston, Linda Ronstadt and Tower of Poweronce again pre-recorded on the Queen Mary. Beginning on the 1975 edition, the program moved to ABC and Clark assumed hosting duties.

Rise in popularity

After Guy Lombardo's death in 1977, CBS and the Royal Canadians attempted to continue their New Year's Eve broadcasts from the Waldorf-Astoria for 1977-78. However, the effects of Lombardo's absence led to a decline in viewership, allowing New Year's Rockin' Eve to overtake the Royal Canadians in viewership in only its fifth year on-air. The threat of the new special also prompted CBS to drop the Royal Canadians entirely in 1979 in favor of a new special, Happy New Year, America, which premiered for New Year's Eve 1979-80. With its recent success, Clark began hoping that New Year's Rockin' Eve would become a television tradition of its own, lamenting that "Lombardo would always win [in New York] because of the Waldorf and 35 years of tradition, but we finally got it wrested." Clark's hopes soon became reality, as New Year's Rockin' Eve had displaced Guy Lombardo as the most popular and most-watched New Year's Eve special on American television in the years following.

The 1980 edition was co-hosted by Erin Moran and John Schneider of Happy Days and The Dukes of Hazzard respectively, and continued with Clark's goal to showcase acts that represented the previous year by featuring Barry Manilow, Blondie, Chic, The Oak Ridge Boys, and the Village People as performers. The 1988 edition was co-hosted by China Beach cast members Marg Helgenberger and Brian Wimmer from the Cocoanut Grove club at the Ambassador Hotel. Mark Curry and Holly Robinson of ABC's sitcom Hangin' with Mr. Cooper co-hosted for 1993-94, with segments at Walt Disney World featuring performances by acts such as Brooks and Dunn and Kiss, along with the marriage of two California firefighters, Laura Turpin and Bob Hutnyan.

The 1996-97 edition was co-hosted by Stacey Dash and Donald Faison of ABC's series Clueless, and included performances by Jann Arden, Kiss, "Weird Al" Yankovic, The Presidents of the United States of America, and The Tony Rich Project. This edition also marked the 25th anniversary of New Year's Rockin' Eve; Clark marked this accomplishment by discussing the greatest challenges he had faced hosting the special; including being unable to hear his director over the loud crowds of Times Square, harsh weather conditions, and a year where the emcee had to contend with a group of 30 nude attendees in the background. Clark aimed to continue hosting the special through the year 2000. Ultimately, Clark would host New Year's Eve coverage for ABC, including New Year's Rockin' Eve, yearly through 2004.

The popularity of New Year's Rockin' Eve also resulted in Clark making appearances on other television series to reference his role. In a Y2K-themed segment of The Simpsons' Halloween special "Treehouse of Horror X", Clark hosted a New Year's Eve event in Springfield. The Y2K bug caused the emcee to melt at midnight, exposing him as a robot. In an interview following its the episode's airing with its writer, Ron Hauge, Clark said that the episode gave the "biggest response" he had ever gotten from anything he had ever done. Clark made a further appearance during the pilot episode of fellow Matt Groening series Futurama, "Space Pilot 3000", where Clark's head (as preserved in a jar) is seen hosting a version of New Year's Rockin' Eve leading into the year 3000. The special's legacy was also recognized in the 1994 film Forrest Gump, where footage of Clark from the first edition of New Year's Rockin' Eve is seen on a television at a bar during a scene of the film taking place on New Year's Eve.

ABC 2000 Today, 2001 primetime expansion

See ABC 2000 Today for more information

New Year's Rockin' Eve was temporarily placed on hiatus for New Year's Eve 1999-2000. Instead, Clark participated in ABC News's day-long telecast, ABC 2000 Today, which as a part of an international broadcast consortium, televised festivities from around the world celebrating the arrival of the year 2000. Clark would join overall host Peter Jennings and ABC News reporter Jack Ford as correspondents for the festivities from Times Square. Clark took on a similar role on ABC 2000 Today as he did on New Year's Rockin' Eve, including conducting his traditional countdown alongside Ford at midnight on the East Coast. However, unlike New Year's Rockin' Eve, festivities from Times Square were also broadcast live across the entire country instead of tape-delayed for the West Coast, since the special broadcast midnight festivities in other cities and time zones for the remainder of the night, as they had done throughout the day.

Clark, Ford, and Jennings were among a total of more than 1,000 members of the ABC News division that were part of the broadcast. They were all under the direction of ABC's Roger Goodman. The ABC 2000 Today telecast overall also received a Peabody Award. Reflecting on the event, Clark was enthusiastic about his participation, feeling that New Year's Eve 2000 was one of the biggest nights he had ever spent in Times Square.

New Year's Rockin' Eve returned to ABC the following New Year's Eve for the arrival of 2001. The 2000-01 edition also introduced a new primetime hour at 10:00 PM ET/PT, which would feature additional segments and music performances to lead into the main program. Clark felt positive about the program's expansion into primetimebelieving that viewers, no matter where they were, wanted to know what was going on in Times Square on New Year's Eve. Clark would be joined by Fox & Friends' anchor Steve Doocy and Michelle Madison as reporters in Times Square. Comedian Wayne Brady would host concert segments in Hollywood, which included performances by Lonestar, Boyz II Men, 98 Degrees, Baha Men, and Third Eye Blind among others.

The 2002 edition of New Year's Rockin' Eve, its 30th edition, featured pre-recorded performances from tours by Aerosmith, Destiny's Child, and Elton John during the primetime hour, followed by studio segments (again hosted by Wayne Brandy) featuring performances by blink-182, Bush, Busta Rhymes, Jessica Simpson, LFO, The O'Jays, and Pink. The primetime hour of New Year's Rockin' Eve 2002 was also preceded by ABC 2002, a follow-up to the ABC 2000 special, hosted by Peter Jennings from the Rose Center for Earth and Space. The two-hour special featured a "meaningful and reflective" view on New Year's celebrations from around the world, and also included performances by Arlo Guthrie, Sting, and U2. Clark personally felt that 2002, since it was the first in the wake of the September 11 attacks, was the most "nerve-racking" New Year's Eve he had ever experienced.

Dick Clark's stroke, effects on Rockin' Eve

On December 6, 2004, it was reported that Clark had been hospitalized after suffering from a minor stroke. Despite Clark indicating his participation in New Year's Rockin' Eve 2005 in a prepared statement, reports soon surfaced that the stroke may have been serious enough to prevent him from hosting. It was officially announced on December 14 that Dick Clark would not be hosting at all, and that Regis Philbin would fill in for Clark. In a statement, Clark said that he was thankful that Philbin was able to quickly step in on short notice to host the show, and hoped that he would do a good job. Philbin was optimistic about his role, considering it "[the] best temp job ever."

Various personalities paid tribute to Clark throughout the night on New Year's Eve; the New Year's Rockin' Eve broadcast featured special celebrity messages for Clark, and revelers in Times Square were seen with signs saluting Clark. During CNN's coverage, revelers in Times Square told CNN's Jason Carroll that Philbin was "all right" filling in for Clark (but still had Anderson Cooper and Carroll too). Mayor Michael Bloomberg also spoke with Philbin on Clark's absence during the show, noting that "it isn't that we don't like Regis, but we want [Clark] back next year." Philbin's hosting received mixed reviews: Richard Huff of the New York Daily News noted that Philbin's hosting was "stiff" at first, and suggested that he would have performed better if he had a co-host to interact with like his daytime talk show. In conclusion, he considered Philbin's performance to be "suitable although not spectacular." Virginia Heffernan of The New York Times believed that Philbin was feeling "surprisingly nervous" in his role at host, and felt that "rowdy crowds" (which Philbin chose to avoid by staying in the studio) and the success of Rod Stewart's career (which Philbin pounced on to promote his new album, "When You're Smiling") were bothering him.

Dick Clark's return

In August 2005, ABC announced that Dick Clark would return to the show for its 2006 edition, marking his first television appearance since the stroke. He would also be joined by a new co-host; media personality and American Idol host Ryan Seacrest. Seacrest himself had hosted a competing New Year's Eve special for Fox the year prior. In an interview with People Magazine in December 2005, Seacrest revealed that while Clark had not completely recovered from the stroke, and that his speech was not exactly like how it was beforehand, Clark had made great progress since the original diagnosis. As a part of a long-term deal with Dick Clark Productions, Seacrest also became an executive producer for New Year's Rockin' Eve beginning on the 2006 edition.

Alongside pre-recorded performances from Hollywood hosted by pop singer Hilary Duff, the 2006 edition also featured a live performance from Times Square by Mariah Careythe first in the show's history. These live performances would become a regular feature during future editions of New Year's Rockin' Eve.

During the program, Clark made limited on-air appearances, but still conducted his traditional countdown, and also recollected on his recent experiences: </ref> |quote}}

Public curiosity over Clark's condition and his return to television helped Dick Clark's 'New Year's Rockin' Eve 2006 draw in over 20 million viewers throughout the night, and score a 7.1 audience share among the key demographic of 18-49 year-olds. Reaction to Clark's appearance was mixed. While some TV critics (including Tom Shales of The Washington Post, in an interview with the CBS Radio Network) felt he was not in good enough shape to do the broadcast, stroke survivors and many of Clark's fans praised the MC for being a role model for people dealing with post-stroke recovery. The New York Times' Brian Stelter compared Seacrest's new role on Rockin' Eve to being like a "traffic cop", "tossing to bands and correspondents and to Mr. Clark for the countdown."

Ryan Seacrest becomes co-host

Following the 2006 edition, Dick Clark Productions announced that Seacrest had agreed to remain a co-host for future editions of New Year's Rockin' Eve. As he was still afflicted with speech impediments that resulted from his stroke, Clark would continue to only make limited appearances during the broadcast (which included short segments around midnight, and his traditional countdown to the New Year at midnight), while Seacrest would host the majority of the program outside in Times Square.

The 2008 edition featured live performances from Times Square by Carrie Underwood, Miley Cyrus, and the Jonas Brothers. Fergie hosted concert segments from Hollywood, which also featured performances by Akon, Natasha Bedingfield, Sean Kingston, OneRepublic, Plain White T's, Taylor Swift and will.i.am. Seacrest's increased role as host was recognized beginning on the 2009 edition, where the special was officially re-titled Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest. It featured live performances by the Jonas Brothers, Taylor Swift, and Lionel Richie, with Kellie Pickler serving as a correspondent. Hollywood segments featured performances by Fall Out Boy, Jesse McCartney, Natasha Bedingfield, Ne-Yo, The Pussycat Dolls, Solange, Robin Thicke and will.i.am.

For its 2010 edition, performances in Times Square included Daughtry and Jennifer Lopez (who infamously wore a dark-colored catsuit for her performance to mixed reviews), while Good Morning America's Melissa Rycroft served as a correspondent. Fergie would host concert segments on-location from Las Vegas, Nevada, featuring performances by her group The Black Eyed Peas, Colbie Caillat, Robin Thicke, Keri Hilson, Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber, David Guetta, and Orianthi. American Idol season 8 runner-up Adam Lambert was also reportedly scheduled to perform, but was dropped from both Rockin' Eve and a scheduled appearance on fellow ABC program Jimmy Kimmel Live! in response to his controversial performance at the American Music Awards. Neither ABC nor Dick Clark Productions ever confirmed whether or not Lambert had been booked at all, however.

The 2011 edition featured live performances by Kesha and Taio Cruz, and actress Jenny McCarthy served as a reporter from Times Square. Fergie repriesed her role as host for the pre-recorded Hollywood segments, which included performances by Avril Lavigne (who performed her latest single "What The Hell" as a world premiere), Natasha Bedingfield (who performed her latest single "Strip Me"), Jennifer Hudson, Ne-Yo, Train, Mike Posner, Willow Smith, Jason Derülo, Far East Movement, La Roux, Kesha, Drake, and closing the show, the supergroup NKOTBSB (the combined Backstreet Boys and New Kids on the Block). Viewership for the 2011 edition peaked at around 19 million viewers.

40th anniversary

Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2012, was once again hosted by Seacrest, with Clark co-hosting what would become his final appearance on the program. Fergie co-hosted for the sixth consecutive year for the pre-taped Hollywood segments, while comedian Jenny McCarthy returned for her second year corresponding from Times Square. Musical guests in Times Square included Lady Gaga (who also joined Mayor Michael Bloomberg in activating the ball drop), Justin Bieber, Pitbull and Hot Chelle Rae. Performers in the Hollywood segments included Taio Cruz, Nicki Minaj, [[Florence + the Machine]], LMFAO, Gym Class Heroes, Blink-182, OneRepublic, The Band Perry, will.i.am, Christina Perri, and Robin Thicke. To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the first edition of New Year's Rockin' Eve, the primetime portion of the show was preceded by a two-hour retrospective special focusing on memorable music performances from the show's 40-year history.

New Year's Rockin' Eve 2012 brought ABC's highest ratings on New Year's Eve since ABC 2000 Today; an average 8.4 million viewers watched the 40th anniversary retrospective, the primetime hour brought in 12.9 million viewers, and the first hour of the main broadcast peaked at 22.6 million viewers.

Death of Dick Clark; 2013 edition

On April 18, 2012, Dick Clark died after suffering a heart attack following surgery to fix an enlarged prostate. Following Clark's death, ABC declined to comment on future New Year's coverage, nor did Dick Clark Productions comment on the future of the franchise.

In August 2012, ABC confirmed via a press release that New Year's Rockin' Eve would return for its 2012–13 edition. Ryan Seacrest, Jenny McCarthy and Fergie reprised their roles as host, Times Square reporter and Hollywood host respectively. Carly Rae Jepsen, Neon Trees, PSY (featuring MC Hammer), and Taylor Swift performed live in Times Square, while the Hollywood segments of the show included performances by Brandy, Flo Rida, Ellie Goulding, Jason Aldean, Justin Bieber, Karmin, OneRepublic, Pitbull and The Wanted. The primetime hour of the program was preceded by a two-hour tribute special, New Year's Rockin' Eve Celebrates Dick Clark, which featured a countdown of the top musicians that Clark had helped discover.

Clark's legacy was also recognized by the Times Square Alliance, organizers of the ball drop: a triangular Waterford Crystal panel engraved with Dick Clark's name was presented to his widow Kari Wigton, and installed on the ball. The 2013 telecast brought in 13.3 million viewers overall.

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