So long, 2023: ‘Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve’ ushers in another new year

Stop rockin' around the Christmas tree, because it's time to head to New York City – via your living room TV – for "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve With Ryan Seacrest," ringing in the new year starting at 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 31, when the annual special is broadcast live on ABC from The Big Apple. Seacrest, who will undoubtedly be toasting his upcoming gig as the new host of "Wheel of Fortune" when the ball drops, will be joined by co-hosts from parties across America as everyone welcomes the new year with musical performances to keep audiences dancing all the way into 2024.

Every year, partiers fill Times Square in New York City, braving the brisk weather to watch the ball drop. Top musical artists keep everyone celebrating warm with exciting live performances you can't help but rock out to, from stages in The Big Apple and Los Angeles. The at-home broadcast also features clips from celebrations around the world as countries spanning every time zone count down the last seconds of 2023.

The superstars helping us ring in 2024 are Aqua ("Barbie Girl"); Doechii ("Persuasive"); Ellie Goulding ("By the End of the Night"); Janelle Monae ("Lipstick Lover"); Loud Luxury, Two Friends and Bebe Rexha, who will perform their hit "If Only I"; Ludacris ("Stand Up"); Nile Rodgers and CHIC ("Good Times"); Paul Russell ("Lil Boo Thang"); and Renee Rapp ("Snow Angel"). Hollywood rockers Thirty Seconds to Mars ("Seasons") will also be putting on a show at the L.A. party. More musical acts performing from Times Square will be announced as we near the final days of the year, according to ABC.

Tuning in to the "New Year's Rockin' Eve" broadcast is an annual tradition for millions of viewers, and a convention that began all the way back to the eve of 1973. That year, feeling that the New Year's Eve broadcast special had grown stale, Dick Clark, known primarily at the time as the long-standing host of the music and dance program "American Bandstand," used his connection to youth culture to craft a new kind of special that would attract a younger audience.

The first iteration of Clark's special brought a new energy to the festive broadcast, eschewing the big band and slow dancers to bring a rock show into viewers' homes. On Dec. 31, 1972, "Three Dog Night's New Year's Rockin' Eve" aired on NBC, with Billy Preston, Blood, Sweat and Tears, Al Green and Helen Reddy performing for an audience aboard the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California, while Clark reported live from Times Square. The artists performed the traditional "Auld Lang Syne" as the clock struck midnight, then descended into a long jam session.

Join millions of viewers from home to watch Ryan Seacrest ring in 2024 Sunday, Dec. 31, on ABC's "Dick Clark's New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest." Courtesy of Disney

The following year, legendary comedian George Carlin hosted the musical performances for the show's last broadcast from NBC. "New Year's Rockin' Eve" rung in 1975 on ABC as it has done every year since with Clark as its trusty host. Clark was the face of New Year's Eve programming until 2004 when the host suffered a stroke, leading "Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee" anchor Regis Philbin to step in that year. Clark returned to co-host the show in 2005 alongside "American Idol" host Seacrest, who celebrates his 19th Times Square New Year with this upcoming broadcast.

Clark and Seacrest co-hosted "New Year's Rockin' Eve" for years, ringing in their final new year together in 2012 before Clark's death that August. Clark's legacy lives on in the iconic broadcast he created, not just in its name but in its spirit. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly last December, Seacrest shared what Clark taught him about what the show means to viewers, saying, "I think the idea for us is just to create a big party for people who don't want to go anywhere, who want to just relax, be in their homes, be with their families, order pizza, order Buffalo wings, whatever it is."

Seacrest added, "We can bring the excitement, the energy and the new year to them. That's what Dick told me all along. He goes, ‘We're talking to people who are at home, but we bring the excitement to them through the show.’“

And there are a lot of people who bring that energy into their homes through their TVs. Last year’s broadcast brought in 13.8 million total viewers, with 17.9 million tuning in for the midnight ball drop. An estimated one million people pack themselves into Times Square to feel the excitement for themselves, but there is no argument that the best seat in the house is the most comfortable spot in front of your TV at home with a spread of snacks within arm’s reach.

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