Your Best Guide to TV’s New Year’s Eve Celebrations

Four faces of New Year's Eve (clockwise from top left): Ryan Seacrest and Dick Clark (on ABC), Kathy Griffin (on CNN) and Chumlee (Fox) (Photos: ABC, CNN, History Channel)

We’re long accustomed to seeing the likes of Dick Clark and Ryan Seacrest on TV on New Year’s Eve, but Chumlee from “Pawn Stars”?!

Now that’s a new one! The irrepressible Chumster (full name: Austin “Chumlee” Russell) is co-hosting this year’s New Year’s Eve special on Fox along with one of his “Pawn Stars” compatriots, Rick Harrison, and comedian Rodney Harrington. All we can say is: Way to go, History Channel!

How can you ring in the New Year with Chumlee, Rick, Ryan and Dick (hey, on New Year’s Eve, we’re all on a first-name basis with each other, right?)? Just read on — this is your best guide to what’s on Saturday night as TV rings in 2012:

ABC: “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest 2012” (11:30/10:309c) — Who doesn’t love this annual tradition (except for the fact that this show possesses what might be the most awkwardly worded title in all of television)? How traditional? Well, this is the show’s 40th year, and to celebrate that milestone, the festivities on ABC actually will begin at 8/7c with the two-hour “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve: The 40th Anniversary Party” co-hosted by Jenny McCarthy (in Times Square) and Fergie of Black-Eyed Peas in Los Angeles. Then, at 10/9c, Dick and Ryan will do an hour of celebrating until your local news interrupts for a half-hour, then Dick and Ryan return at 11:30/10:30c for the all-important countdown from Times Square.

Fox: “American Country New Year’s Eve Live” (11/10c) — Come to think of it, awkward titles seem to be par for the course for New Year’s Eve specials! This country-tinged New Year’s celebration beaming in from Las Vegas (where “Pawn Stars” happens to be based) will have the aforementioned “Pawn Stars” guys, plus performances by a bevy of country artists, including Toby Keith.

NBC: “NBC’s New Year’s Eve with Carson Daly” (10-11/9-10c and, after a break for local news, 11:30/10:30c). Daly will also be in Times Square for the evening, with guests that will include Jimmy Fallon, Brian Williams and Tony Bennett either live or on tape.

CNN: “New Year’s Eve Live with Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin” (11/10c) — We happen to have a soft spot for this annual tradition: Just a couple of friends (or at least two people capable of acting that way on TV) hanging out and shivering in Times Square, one of them strait-laced (Anderson) and the other one a kook who will say anything, whether she’s on live TV or not. They’re not a bad pair to spend New Year’s Eve with.

Happy New Year, everybody!

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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