TV Eye

Home for the Holidays

What? No date on New Year's Eve? No fabulous bash to attend? Too shy to attempt A2K on your own? Not to worry. Make a New Year's Eve date with your TV. It's easy to turn on, it won't stand you up, and it won't go home with someone else at the end of the night. Because the millennium meter is turning over to the year 2000, the expectation to party, party, PARTY has had revelers revving their engines since September. Champagne is reported to be in short supply, and attendance at key hot spots, like New York's Times Square, is expected to far surpass years past. Whether you want to avoid the frenzy, or you just want to be home when those Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse come galloping into town, a date with the tube provides an alternative to partying like it's 1999. Here's a brief rundown of New Year's Eve television events and specials. Check local listings for more up-to-date information as schedules are subject to last-minute changes. Hey, don't blame me. Blame Y2K.


Y2K TV

In a live, 25-hour broadcast from nearly every part of the globe, PBS Millennium 2000 will feature music, dance, ritual, and glimpses of the various ways people from all over the world welcome the new year. Producers promise Maori warrior dancers in New Zealand, Nelson Mandela in Cape Town, and the opening of the Millennium Dome in Greenwich, England.

No New Year's Eve coverage is complete without music, so PBS cameras will take viewers to concerts by The Gipsy Kings in Miami Beach, Allen Toussaint in New Orleans, a Native American Pow Wow in Denver, and the King Island Dancers in Nome, Alaska. A total of 60 satellite paths, several thousand miles of fiberoptic cable, and more than 2,000 cameras will make PBS Millennium 2000 happen. Tune in beginning December 31 at 3:45pm.

ABC 2000: Ordinarily, Dick Clark's Rockin' New Year's Eve is the featured fare on ABC. This year, the network hopes to be Y2K-ready with Peter Jennings anchoring a 27-hour marathon (that's right, 27) following the ringing-in of the new year around the globe and being on the lookout for any pesky millennium bugs. While Jennings is stationed at the ABC studios in New York, Barbara Walters covers Paris, Connie Chung covers Las Vegas, Sam Donaldson covers Washington, and Cokie Roberts will be in Rome. Don't worry about Dick Clark. He'll make an appearance when the ball drops in Times Square. Check local listings for start time.

America's Millennium on CBS: Actor Will Smith hosts a New Year's Eve celebration from the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. Highlights of the evening include a screening of a short film by Steven Spielberg titled "Unfinished" and remarks by President Clinton. Celebrities on hand to comment on the turn of the year include Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, Kathy Mattea, Trisha Yearwood, Sam Waterston, BeBe Winans, and others. A feed of Celine Dion singing live from Montreal is also promised. At the top of each hour, cameras will capture the celebrations where it has just turned midnight across the nation. America's Millennium begins at 9pm. At midnight, something titled Images: A Year in Review follows. No details available at press time, but a good guess is: news clips from the past year.

Fox 2000: Fox journalists Brit Hume and Paula Zahn will host a news and entertainment special live from above New York's Times Square. In addition to updates from the Federal Y2K Center in Washington, D.C, FOX 2000 features live musical performances from the Red Hot Chili Peppers in downtown Los Angeles and the Neville Brothers at Harrah's Casino in New Orleans. Coverage begins at 10pm.

Millennium Special on NBC: Tom Brokaw and Katie Couric will keep a lookout for Y2K disasters from Times Square, while Jodi Applegate covers their backs in London. The trio will gather comments from newsmakers and celebrities as the new year dawns. At midnight (ET), Millennium Special turns into Coverage 2000, and will follow the stroke of midnight across the country "as it happens," according to press material. The special begins at 8pm.


On Cable

Arts & Entertainment will feature Biography of the Millennium: 100 People, 100 Years (are you sure you don't want to go out?).

Bravo: It's better to see "the circus that reinvented the circus" live, but catching the mesmerizing Cirque du Soleil on the small screen is a treat the whole family can enjoy. Back-to-back selections of the troupe are featured from 10pm until the stroke of midnight.

Cartoon Network: It's The Jetsons marathon from 6pm until midnight.

Comedy Central: Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, and Beth Littleford host The Greatest Millennium. Segments include "The History and Future of Media," "TV and Religion," Lewis Black's "Signs of the Apocalypse," a roundtable discussion on extraterrestrials, and an exclusive interview with "The Man of the Millennium." The laughs begin at 11pm.

E! Entertainment Network: Taped segments from around the world show how others plan to celebrate the year 2000 in the E! special, Wild on the Millennium.

MTV 2 Large: The new millennium is ushered in with music, MTV-style, from the MTV studios in Times Square. Blink 182, 98'š, Puff Daddy, Bush, and others will perform.

TNT 2K New Year's Marathon: TNT celebrates the new year with a three-day movie marathon featuring hits like Rain Man, Pirates of Silicon Valley, CHiPs '99, Stand by Me, and Rumble in the Bronx. Not sure what the connection to the millennium is, except that it provides a break from the usual bells and whistles on the other networks. The marathon begins at 6am on December 31 and continues through January 3.

Happy New Year from TCM: Actually, TCM is offering two New Year's day menus. The first is called Computers Gone Mad!, a five-film tribute to temperamental electronic equipment. Films include 2001: A Space Odyssey, 2010, Westworld, The Invisible Boy, and The Honeymoon Machine. For New Year's Day, TCM offers Happy New Year From TCM: Spock and the Gang. The sci-fi classics in this tribute to Y2K fever include Lost Horizon, The Time Machine, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.

Sci-Fi Channel: "Once you've crawled out of your bunker, sit back and laugh at all the fuss with a Sci-Fi movie retrospective of apocalyptic proportions" -- so says Sci-Fi press material. Here are some of the offerings: Until the End of the World, Strange Days, The Apocalypse, Night of the Comet, Meteorites!, Millennium, and many others. At midnight until the wee hours of New Year's Day, settle in for a Twilight Zone marathon.

Happy New Year, and don't let the Y2K bug bite.

Take a station break at TVEye@auschron.com

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

new year's eve, millennium, abc 2000

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