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New Years Rockin' Eve 2014: Grading The TV Countdowns

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New Year's Eve 2014


In days of old when candlelight music rang in the annual countdown with a brassy waltz instead of a hip hop beat, band leader Guy Lombardo ushered in the New Year with his old world brand of maestro bravado and bubble sound innocence. Then teen idol rock impresario Dick Clark took over after him, but now he's gone too. So we're left with low letter list celebs to TV host it to carry on where the mature legends left off. And it's kind of cheesy to say the least. There's just not that same anticipatory feeling like when you were a kid. It now tends to play out like well, a time preemptive TV show.

LA Channel 7 had Ryan Seacrest, a bunch of mean street looking hip hoppers and Mylie Cyrus, but despite winning in the ratings, that combo just didn't make the grade for an all festive showtime countdown. Neither did the competition with Carson Daly for KNBC 4. And with CBS bowing out to schedule regular programming, there was a void with what to tune into. The NYC party atmosphere that used to dominate all three networks in the past was on mediocre display, leaving the best network station highlight to be had in a song cutaway to a Billy Joel concert nearby in Brooklyn.

However, these slim pickings left a trusty alternative like the PBS pledge drive of an Irish boy band singing sweet traditional Xmas songs which brought to mind the Lawrence Welk class music program of generations ago. The lighthearted nostalgia of this public TV offering could be channel surfed to before the countdown, making up for the lack of universally acclaimed headliners on the major networks. After local soft pop radio stations had finished their run of holiday tune favorites, this KCET treat was to be the last Christmas musical variety special of 2013 and it came highly regarded.

Smitten by the prettiness of guest host Jenny McCarthy and her dashing beau Donnie Wahlberg, the countdown on KABC 7 was the one to finally settle on as the ball dropped in The Big Apple to signal in the fourteenth year of the new millennium. McCarthy was such a good co-host with Seacrest that she should consider sole hosting duties next year as welcome eye candy on a different network. By then, LA independents might want to join in on the fun to give the New Year on TV a bit more entertainment choice options before the countdown. For indeed, Rockin' Eve could use more rockers.

Overall, you can't knock the prerecorded TV outcomes, since the weather cooperated with snow storms that followed a few days away to not ruin the shows. But again, it would still be nice one day to see local indie TV stations feature an LA version of the countdown with a better showbiz set up and build up. As long as you have a loved one to kiss on the eve of the New Year, celebrating it on TV remains a kindred occasion that makes for poignant memories. Here's hoping that 2014 will be a very good year that we can look forward to and back on with pleasant reviews.