Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2009 – 10/9c on ABC
The king of all New Year’s Eve specials once again boasts the starriest lineup. Dick Clark and Ryan Seacrest (aka Dick Clark Jr.) co-host the main event from Times Square in New York City, with Kellie Pickler serving as a correspondent/blunder machine. Among of the acts slated to perform: Taylor Swift, Lionel Richie, will.i.am, the Pussycat Dolls and some up-and-coming artsy-fartsy band called … the Jonas Brothers? Fergie hosts the likely rowdier West Coast party.
FNMTV Presents: A Miley-Sized Surprise…New Year’s Eve 2009 – 8/7c on MTV
Wanna feel old and misanthropic on New Year’s Eve? Then watch just a minute of this Miley-centric celebration, in which Cyrus surprises an unsuspecting fan by performing in her home. There will also be the usual festivities in Times Square, with performances by Metro Station, the Academy Is, Kevin Rudolf and the very aptly named All-Time Low.
New Year’s Eve Live with Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin – 11/10c on CNN
ABC will certainly be the most-watched network this New Year’s Eve, but CNN -- yes, CNN! -- is actually the best option. The fun starts with the sublime, tactful-vs.-irreverent pairing of co-hosts Cooper and Griffin, but it doesn’t end there: CNN managed to line up the music industry’s savior, Lil Wayne, for a performance, with My Morning Jacket, Coolio, 3 Doors Down and Hinder also on hand. (No, I don’t know what Coolio’s doing in this lineup, but at least his inclusion is funny weird.) That’s right -- the usually musty political network has gone must-see (and hip!) … at least for one night.
New Year’s Eve with Carson Daly – 10/9c on NBC
Daly (aka the Wannabe Seacrest) knows how to throw a New Year’s party too, and at least he’s got sole hosting duties on his network! He rings in 2009 with help from performers like T.I., Ludacris, Elton John, Katy Perry and the Ting Tings. Seacrest may have a stranglehold on the NYE special, but Daly’s annual bashes aren’t exactly devoid of big names.
New Year’s Eve Live – 11/10c on Fox
Non-household names Spike Feresten and Mark Thompson host Fox’s coverage -- but on the bright side, it’s in Vegas! American Idol dudes David Cook and Daughtry join their antitheses Lynyrd Skynyrd and Scott Weiland to help rawk in the New Year, with a special stunt by daredevil Robbie Knievel.
U Party 2009 – 10/9c on Fox News
Fox News rolls out by far the most lackluster New Year’s Eve special on TV, and I say that objectively and apolitically. The only performers are LoCash Cowboys and Chuck Wicks, whom I won’t even pretend to have ever heard of or know if they’re one band or separate acts. Are times tight for Rupert Murdoch? Sheesh.
New Year. No Limits – 11/10c on ESPN
With a booooring schedule of stunts, stunts and more stunts on New Year’s Eve, ESPN is seemingly telling viewers to just watch its sibling network, ABC, instead. A regularly scheduled SportsCenter would’ve been more exciting than this.
Dog the Bounty Hunter (Marathon) – 8 a.m. ET on A&E
I feel dutifully obligated to alert Dog fans of this 20-hour marathon -- but that doesn’t mean I think the show is anywhere near watchable.