Ryan Seacrest returns for 'Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve'

  • Ryan Seacrest returns to host ABC's "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve" once again.

    Ryan Seacrest returns to host ABC's "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve" once again.

 
By Jay Bobbin
Zap2it

Some people debate where they'll spend New Year's Eve, but not Ryan Seacrest.

The national "On Air" radio personality, television producer and former "American Idol" host has been involved in ABC's holiday mainstay "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve" since the 2006 edition. He'll preside over the special again Saturday, Dec. 31, as it begins with the traditional primetime-filling "party" from both New York and Hollywood and then moves to the late-night hours to await the descent of the lighted globe in Times Square ... where host and executive producer Seacrest will be stationed.

"With this show especially, I get butterflies every time I do it," he maintains, "just because it's such a big event on such a large scale. And it's such an important moment, certainly this year, to start to look forward into next year as a reset."

Mariah Carey will be among the talents joining Seacrest in the Big Apple, with DNCE, country music's Thomas Rhett and veteran music star Gloria Estefan (and the Broadway cast of the Estefan-inspired musical "On Your Feet") also on that roster. Jenny McCarthy will play roving reporter again, with Fergie also returning to oversee the Hollywood segments that will feature performances by Niall Horan, Lukas Graham, Shawn Mendes, Emeli Sande, Fifth Harmony, John Legend, Flo Rida and others. Also, Demi Lovato will appear from a Celebrity Cruises concert in St. Maarten.

"New Year's Rockin' Eve" also will have performers located in such other cities as New Orleans, where "Pretty Little Liars" regular Lucy Hale will introduce Jason Derulo and Panic at the Disco, and (with Lionel Richie as the attraction there) Las Vegas -- since for the first time, the program will ring in 2017 from each American time zone when midnight arrives there.

"Our intent is to try to bring together the biggest artists of the year," says Seacrest, "and those who are looking forward to a big new year. This show is certainly the destination for people who don't want to go out and fight the crowds."

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Having done "New Year's Rockin' Eve" for more than a decade, though the title retains the name of originator and late media icon Clark, Seacrest reasons that "each year presents something new, and something that you discover not only as a broadcaster bringing the show to everybody, but just as a spectator being in the middle of Times Square. Whether it's seeing people who have never been there before and the looks on their faces, or reaching that magical moment of midnight ... Dick always said, 'Be quiet, and let the pictures do the narration.' My view has been that there's a moment of unity among a lot of different types of people in that couple of minutes. And that's pretty special."

Seacrest is ending 2016 on an "up" note, also having served as best man at his sister's wedding recently -- but he acknowledges the start of 2017 may feel different for him, it being the first time he hasn't had "American Idol" to do in many years.

"I don't know that I've felt the impact yet," he reflects. "With every day that the alarm goes off, you fill the units of time with all the other things you've got to do, and maybe you spend a little more time on all the things you didn't before. I think the real feeling of, 'Oh, wow, this is not on the air right now' will come in January when we usually sign on, and in late January and early February when we're used to going down to the studio to do the live shows. I think that's when it will sink in."

In a sense, Seacrest is doing "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve" for new bosses this time. Dick Clark Productions remains the show's main entity, and in November, it was purchased by China's Wanda Group (which also owns the AMC theater chain and the Legendary Entertainment firm). With the ownership change, Seacrest feels good about the New Year's Eve special's place as one of the Clark-founded company's crown jewels.

"It's the gold standard" of programs of its type, he says, "and we're trying to keep it that way."

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