Welcome to the New Year’s Eve Battle Royale

Local stations, broadcast and cable networks battle it out to ring in the new year

I think the question we should be asking is who isn’t doing a New Year’s Eve show this year? 

The major networks and local stations are throwing their hats in the New Years’ Eve ring as they look to capture their share of an audience tuning in to ring in 2022 as in the past, these specials rack up big numbers – both nationally and locally – not seen in primetime anymore. Not to mention the train-wreck factor – making it must-tweet TV. 

However, the fast-spreading Omicron variant of Covid-19 is effective everything, including New Year’s Eve plans in North America. To answer the question above, you can say Fox but not because it wasn’t interested. 

“While we are confident in the health and safety protocols for Fox’s New Year’s Eve Toast & Roast 2022, the recent velocity of the spread of Omicron cases has made it impossible to produce a live special in Times Square that meets our standards.  We will not be moving forward with Fox’s New Year’s Eve Toast & Roast 2022 in New York.  The health and safety of our casts and crews has always been, and will continue to be, of the utmost importance,a Fox spokesman told Deadline, as the network opted not to go forward with the special, hosted by Ken Jeong and Joel McHale. Fox is planning replacement programming but has yet to make an announcement. 

But the show is going on – at least in the interim as last-minute changes could zap things as a decision has yet to be made about Times Square’s gathering, but it’s not to going to affect traditional ratings leader Dick Clark’s New Year’s Eve with Ryan Seacrest on ABC who pulled off last year’s festivities without crowds (and with a bunch of taped performances.)

Regarding Chicago, the big news is the defection of Janet Davies and Mark Giangreco – the two former ABC 7 (WLS-TV) personalities who hosted Countdown Chicago on the station for two decades, showing up on crosstown rival NBC 5 (WMAQ’s) on their New Year’s Eve special. As reported by Robert Feder, the duo will appear in taped segments as the special continues to be hosted by Chicago Today’s Matthew Rodrigues and Cortney Hall. NBC 5 and the city of Chicago entered the New Year’s Eve game in 2015 with the ill-fated Chi-Town Rising, but the station continued with its own NYE celebration after its 2017 dissolution with a much scaled-down telecast.

It’s a homecoming of sorts for Giangreco, whose was WMAQ’s main sports anchor from 1982 to 1994, when he left for ABC 7 in the same capacity. 

Not to be outdone, Countdown Chicago counters with new hosts Cheryl Scott and Terell Brown, and like the last few years have another show-opening dance number lined up. 

Elsewhere on the local beat, WGN returns to the party after sitting out 2020 with New Year’s Eve Blast, with the fireworks show the major attraction. WGN joined the NYE crowd two years ago

Back to the national stage, CBS re-enters the NYE party for the first time in decades with country-themed New Year’s Eve Live: Nashville’s Big Bash, hosted by radio personality Bobby Bones and ET‘s Chelesa Smith, guaranteed to be far hipper than the old Guy Lombardo NYE specials the network aired from the 1950s through the late 1970s (Lombardo died in 1977.) The last time CBS had a stand-alone NYE special (outside of the millennium and special Late Show with David Letterman episodes) was in 1995.  

NBC is also revamping their NYE special by replacing longtime host Carson Daly with Miley Cyrus and moving it to Miami’s South Beach. NBC was once the home to Rockin’ Eve in 1972 and 1973 before moving to ABC. 

Finally, cable news network’s CNN and Fox News have their own New Year’s Eve specials. CNN has New Year’s Live 2022 with Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen, and Fox News also plans to invade Nashville with a NYE special of their own. 

 

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