New Year’s Eve programming: Same as last year

Networks, local stations remain status quo as hosts return

There’s nothing like ringing in 2019 than watching the same people who did so with 2018.

No major changes are expected in New Year’s Eve programming December 31, both nationally and locally as viewers will same the same familiar faces they saw last year. The stability is a nod to the unusually high homes-using-television levels on the holiday, despite the abundance of those (usually) expensive New Year’s Eve parties. As a result, Nielsen numbers on both levels are actually higher than normal on a regualr weeknight.

Another attraction to the shows? The train-wreck variety we get to see. In recent years, we were treated to Mariah Carey screwing up a performance in Times Square to CNN’s Don Lemon taking a hit from a bong.

Despite low ratings opposite ABC 7’s popular Countdown Chicago, NBC 5 is bringing back New Year’s Eve Live In Chicago for 2019, according to Robert Feder. The program is being hosted by Marion Brooks, Siafa Lewis, and Chris Hush and for the second year in a row, also features Kiss FM’s Christopher Frederick and musical performances from a cast member each from Chicago Fire and Chicago Med. NBC 5’s special of course, grew out of the failed Chi-Town Rising specials in 2015 and 2016.

Of Course, ABC 7’s New Year’s Eve show once again features Janet Davies and Mark Giangreco as hosts. Hopefully, they won’t kiss each other at the stroke of midnight.

Last year, Countdown Chicago crushed NBC 5’s countdown show in the ratings, 16.8 to 5.0 in households. ABC’s Dick Clark festivities also dominated, scoring ratings gains from the previous year. Both local shows start at 11:08 p.m.

Meanwhile, the national networks are also keeping the status quo to ring in 2019. Fox once again is having Steve Harvey host its NYE show, and Ryan Searcest and Jenny McCarthy are back for Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve with musical performances in Times Square from Christina Aguilera, Bastille, Dan + Shay, and the ageless New Kids On The Block.

Ciara returns to host the west coast pre-taped Hollywood portion of the show with musical guests The Chainsmokers, Camilla Cabello, and more. Last year, this blog noted Ciara’s hosting skills were a lot to be left desired. Ciara replaced Fergie (Stacy Ferguson), who departed to host Fox’s The Four.

Due to Countdown airing over ABC 7 at the same time, the Central Time Zone countdown featuring Lucy Hale from New Orleans and group Post Malone (from Barclays Center in Brooklyn) is being pre-empted in the Chicago area.

And yes, Don Lemon will be back at CNN’s NYE celebration, with Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen – minus the bong this time (we hope.)

While NBC is once again tapping Carson Daly and Chrissy Teigen for their NYE celebration (also at Times Square), CBS is once again sitting this one out as the network hasn’t produced a NYE celebration in nearly 40 years.

And if the NYE train wrecks aren’t to your liking, numerous cable and digital subchannel networks plan special programming on the night, including marathons and binges of your favorite shows – for one, Decades plans a five-day Twilight Zone marathon starting at 11 a.m. local time New Year’s Eve.