Twenty-five stories up, on the roof of One Times Square, the height can be a bit unsettling. But at 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 31, millions of eyes will once again be fixed upon this spot.
Since 1907, the iconic Times Square Ball has dropped down the 77-foot pole here to mark the end of the old and the beginning of the new.
As the ball goes through final preparations for the big day, the hosts of “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” Ryan Seacrest and Jenny McCarthy, are also preparing for a bittersweet celebration – one that will be missing a very important person. For the first time in almost 40 years of “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” there will be no Dick Clark.
First formally telecast on NBC on Dec. 31, 1972, Dick Clark took over hosting in 1975 and turned the event into an annual phenomenon. After a stroke kept Clark from hosting the 2005 celebration, Ryan Seacrest was brought on in 2006 as co-host.
“It’ll be emotional for us,” says Seacrest, “because he’s not going to be with us for the first time ever.”
2013 will mark the first year for Seacrest without Clark around. And yet, despite Clark’s absence, the spirit of excitement that he embodied will continue.
“We’ll reflect, but we’ll also have some big celebratory moments with live performances,” Seacrest says.
Hosting the performances can be a challenge as coverage switches between multiple venues. The key, says Seacrest, is in one important tip from Clark that will always stay with Seacrest: “Make it seamless. Make it comfortable. Make it seem like anybody can do that job.”
The secret behind that advice might just be in the broadcast itself. From on-the-ground reporters to big-name musical acts, “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” can be an energetic event as it seeks to capture the excitement of the night.
“You don’t have to say much because there are so many pictures and great shots to look at,” says Seacrest.
In fact, one of those great shots happened last year when McCarthy planted an unforgettable kiss on one lucky New York cop.
As for this year, will another guy get his New Year’s resolution fulfilled with a midnight kiss? Has a new tradition been added to this already historic show? McCarthy is counting on it.
“I don’t know who I’m going to smooch with, but I’m going to smooch with somebody!” she says.
Yet, in the midst of all the romance and excitement, the magic of “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” for Seacrest is in its ability to bring people closer.
“In a universe and world where there’s so much conflict and so much chaos, that in the few moments that we’re all gathered together, standing in Times Square and watching on TV … you feel like we’re all on the same page,” he says.