Worth Watching: New Year’s Eve on TV
A selective critical checklist of notable Tuesday TV:
Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2020 (8/7c, ABC): Approaching a half-century as TV’s pre-eminent New Year’s celebration, Rockin’ Eve marks its 48th anniversary, the 15th with Ryan Seacrest as master of ceremonies from Times Square. He’s joined by Lucy Hale in New York City, while Pose‘s Billy Porter takes over her New Orleans hosting duties. Representing Los Angeles for the third year: Ciara. Among the entertainment highlights: Post Malone, BTS, Sam Hunt and Alanis Morissette (with the cast of her Broadway musical Jagged Little Pill) headline from Times Square, with Jonas Brothers bringing in the new year with the first performance of 2020 from their tour stop in Miami. Sheryl Crow and Usher are among the talent in New Orleans, and the L.A. contingent includes Paula Abdul, Kelsea Ballerini, Blanco Brown, Dan + Shay, Green Day, Dua Lipa, Ava Max, Megan Thee Stallion, Anthony Ramos, Salt-N-Pepa and Shaed. Happy You-Know-What!
A Toast to 2019! (8/7c, NBC): Or you could look back at the past year with Today personalities Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager as they welcome celebrity guests including Kristen Bell, Martin Short, Maya Rudolph, Tony Hale, Terry Crews and Nikki Glaser to relive the highs and lows of 2019. Followed by NBC’s New Year’s Eve 2020, hosted by Carson Daly and Julianne Hough with Ellen DJ Stephen “tWitch” Boss as Times Square correspondent. Performers include Ne-Yo, Leslie Odom Jr., Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani, The Struts, X Ambassadors, and from Nashville, Keith Urban.
New Year’s Eve Live with Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen (8/7c, CNN): The anchor and the Bravo host team up again for a third round of revelry, reporting from (where else) Times Square, with scheduled performers including Urban (again), Christina Aguilera, Lenny Kravitz, 50 Cent, Patti LaBelle, Shania Twain, The Chainsmokers and comedian/actress Dulcé Sloan. CNN correspondents report from locations across the USA, including the newly renovated Brady Bunch House in California and Key West. Warm up for CNN’s New Year’s Eve show with All the Best, All the Worst 2019 (7/6c), a retrospective of the year’s most memorable moments, hosted by Tom Foreman.
Fox’s New Year’s Eve with Steve Harvey: Live from Times Square (8/7c, 11/10c, Fox): Relatively new to the game, Family Feud favorite Steve Harvey returns to Fox for a third year to ring in 2020, with Maria Menounos and Fox Sports’ Rob Gronkowski as co-hosts. On the performing roster: LL Cool J featuring DJ Z-Trip, The Chainsmokers (again), The Lumineers, Florida Georgia Line, the Backstreet Boys, Tyga, The Killers — and in a special event, the Village People, who’ll attempt to set a world record for the largest-ever group dance to their iconic “YMCA.” Network personalities scheduled to appear include Flirty Dancing‘s Jenna Dewan, Will Arnett of the upcoming Lego Masters and, inevitably, a special WWE match featuring Roman Reigns and other “Superstars.”
Live from Lincoln Center: N.Y. Philharmonic: Celebrating Sondheim (8/7c, PBS, check local listings at pbs.org): Easily the class act of New Year’s Eve is a concert from the relatively more sedate setting of New York’s David Geffen Hall, in which the Philharmonic honors legendary Broadway composer Stephen Sondheim, who turns 90 in March. Tony winner Katrina Lenk (The Band’s Visit), set to perform a cross-gendered version of Bobby in a revival of Company later this Broadway season, delivers Sondheim’s best-known standard, “Send in the Clowns,” while the orchestra tackles suites from musicals including Sweeney Todd, Into the Woods, Sunday in the Park with George and Assassins under the leadership of Alexander Gemignani.
Inside Tuesday TV: With the final season premiering in a week, Pop TV presents a gift to all fans of the Emmy-nominated comedy Schitt’s Creek with a marathon of all 66 episodes from the first five seasons, starting at noon/11c and continuing through New Year’s Day… A more traditional TV marathon of a bona fide classic, Rod Serling’s immortal The Twilight Zone, can be found on Syfy — and for the second year, the nostalgia-based Decades — with extended runs of vintage episodes. (Decades also includes several of the rarely seen hourlong episodes from Zone‘s fourth season.) Syfy’s marathon begins at 6 am/5c and runs through Thursday at 4 am/3c. Decades’ “A Toast to Twilight” begins at 7 am/6c and runs 48 hours straight through Thursday at 7 am/6c. Full details of the episodes on each channel can be found here.