Live, from New York, it's New Year's Eve! All other time zones, adjust celebrations accordingly.
America may be in decline, but the annual Times Square mob scene remains the New Year’s Eve epicentre for the entire planet. You can bet tomorrow’s news will feature the fireworks and bell-ringing in London, Beijing and other world centres, but only after the clip of Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez smooching at midnight.
It could happen, and very probably will. Amid throngs of revellers, the Canadian pop prince and his slender superstar princess will be mere yards from each other in Times Square tonight, scheduled to perform on ABC and MTV, respectively.
Since most civilized people stay in on New Year’s Eve, television is there to help ring out the old and usher in the new. Herewith, a roundup of this year's biggest TV blowouts (all live coverage listed in Eastern Standard Time):
Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest
ABC, 8 p.m.
The traditional Times Square countdown, supersized this year to six hours, is still hosted by Dick Clark with help from American Idol's Ryan Seacrest, the cohost since Clark suffered a stroke in 2004.
The first two hours are a retro-special marking the show's 40th anniversary – watch Rick Springfield belt out Jessie's Girl in 1982! – followed by scheduled stage turns from Lady Gaga, Pitbull, LMFAO and the aforementioned Bieber. Expect regular throws to a soundstage in Los Angeles, where Fergie will gamely try to get the party started three hours early.
Niagara Falls New Year's Eve Special
Global, 10 p.m.
The annual show airs live from the edge of the falls in Queen Victoria Park, and is scheduled to include performances by Simple Plan, Our Lady Peace and Keshia Chante, who should think about getting a new agent.
Citytv New Year's Eve Bash 2012
Citytv, 10 p.m.
Various Citytv personalities bundle up to host the annual booze-free bash from Toronto's Nathan Phillips Square. The talent lineup includes the cast of the stage musical American Idiot and Backstreet Boy Howie D. Backstreet’s back, alright!
New Year's Eve with Carson Daly
NBC, 10 p.m.
Carson Daly marks his territory in Times Square with a concert scheduled to include Drake, Blake Shelton, Cee Lo Green and 85-year-old Tony Bennett, who has his doctor's permission to stay up past midnight. Daly's late-night colleague Jimmy Fallon will work the crowd and try not to get mugged.
Electric Circus: NYE Dance Party
MuchMusic, 10 p.m.
This one-night-only special is inspired by the popular nineties Canadian series and promises to hold to the exact same format – namely, teens in spandex and sparkly tops dancing to top-40 hits. Twist away, but I miss Monika Deol.
American Country New Year's Live
Fox, 11 p.m.
Fox Network is also the NASCAR network, so New Year's Eve has become a country music hoedown. Hosted by Rodney Carrington, the live show will shift between Las Vegas and New York and feature songs from the likes of Toby Keith, Lauren Alaina, Rodney Carrington and Rodney Atkins. Yep, it has two guys named Rodney.
New Year's Eve Live with Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin
CNN, 11 p.m.
Teamed for the third straight year, the silver-haired news anchor and daffy comedienne will be smack in the middle of Times Square. The format will include a look back at the biggest news stories of 2011 and giggling by Cooper at Griffin's every comment.
Coldplay New Year's Eve: An Austin City Limits Special
PBS, 11 p.m. ET
No noisemakers or confetti in this concert by the world's bleakest rock band. It's a pre-taped sampling of songs from the group's most recent release, Mylo Xyloto, which probably would have generated more iTunes activity had it aired a month earlier.
NYE in NYC 2012
MTV, 11 p.m.
MTV stole the show last year by having Jersey Shore's Snooki descend in a giant plastic ball at midnight, but the entire Shore cast is absent from this year's broadcast (even though the show's fifth season begins next week).
Instead, deposed Disney teen Demi Lovato and Teen Wolf star Tyler Posey will be in Times Square to co-host the “ultimate dance party,” with Selena Gomez the biggest name booked to perform. The only question will be whether Bieber graces the MTV stage or Gomez sneaks into the Dick Clark broadcast.
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