Thanks to COVID-19, ratings for TV broadcasts of New Year’s Eve celebrations could be at an all-time high, but they will also look a lot different this year too. This week you have your choice of spending your time with Ryan, Carson, Ken or Joel. Here’s what to expect:
Dick Clarks’ New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2021
This marks the 49th year of this annual celebration, the 16th year for Seacrest serving as host but the first to be closed to the public. Boasting of being the “most-watched New Year’s Eve celebration nationwide,” this special has announced that Jennifer Lopez will be the headline performer just before the iconic Times Square ball drop in New York. She will be joined by additional performers Billy Porter, Cyndi Lauper and Jimmie Allen. Porter and Lauper, who worked together on the Broadway hit “Kinky Boots,” will also reunite on the NYRE stage for a duet performance.
Seacrest will host the five and-a-half hours of performances alongside Lucy Hale and Billy Porter in Times Square, Ciara in Los Angeles and Big Freedia in New Orleans. The festivities begin at 8 p.m. on ABC.
Fox’s New Year’s Eve Toast and Roast 2021
This all-new special looks like it could be the most fun of the three if not the most unique and possibly the most self-serving featuring stars from The Masked Singer, The Masked Dancer and others.
Ken Jeong and Joel McHale kiss 2020 goodbye while commemorating the past year from coast-to-coast with a live three-and-a-half presentation. Live from Los Angeles, Jeong and McHale, hosts of The Darkest Timeline podcast and longtime friends reunite to help ring in the New Year with a special dedicated to the highs and lows of 2020, specifically celebrating those that helped to make the world a better place this past year. Performances include LeAnn Rimes, Gloria Estefan, Mayim Bialik, Cheyenne Jackson, Jane Krakowski, Randy Jackson, Tim Allen and Instagram favorite Doctor Elvis. The special also will feature iHeartRadio performances from some of the year’s top music artists, such as John Legend, Ava Max, Green Day and Gabby Barrett, with celebrity guest appearances by Leslie Jordan, Morris Chestnut and Tom Payne, among others. It also begins at 8 p.m. on FOX.
NBC’s New Year’s Eve 2021
NBC kicks off the new year with a broadcast featuring performances from across the country by AJR, Busta Rhymes featuring Anderson .Paak, Chloe x Halle, CNCO, Jason Derulo, Goo Goo Dolls, Kylie Minogue, Pentatonix, Bebe Rexha featuring Doja Cat, Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani and Sting featuring Shirazee.
Carson Daly returns as host live from the heart of Times Square. Joining Daly is Amber Ruffin and DJ Stephen “tWitch” Boss. Like ABC’s broadcast, the public is only invited to join in from the comfort of their home. This special is also the shortest beginning at 10 p.m.
CBS is appararently also staying home this year as they are only presenting their usual batch of shows.
(Main image: FOX)
I write about pop culture, arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.