I have but one humble request. Let's take the "Rockin"' out of New Year's Eve. I know I sound persnickety, but I just can't stand that word, or to be exact, its truncated spelling. For years, while millions of New Year's Eve revelers have been waiting for the ball to drop, I've been waiting for that dropped "g" to reassert itself.
The word "rockin"' has always seemed a tad phony. Like most of New Year's Eve, it has that air of forced frivolity, the doomed, desperate effort to have fun -- or else! But now, 30 some years after Dick Clark hosted his first "New Year's Rockin' Eve," the word, or near word, is beginning to take on the quaint air of a cultural artifact, like Keith Moon's drumstick or Jimi Hendrix's hairbrush encased in amber in the dusty lobby of some half-empty Hard Rock Cafe.
Dick Clark has always played host to the proceedings with indefatigable energy, but he is recovering from a stroke and will skip this year's proceedings. Regis Philbin, the hardest-hosting man in show business, will helm "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve 2005" (9 p.m., ABC). This year's special will include performances by Big & Rich, Ciara, Earth, Wind & Fire, Fabolous, Good Charlotte, Billy Idol, Simple Plan and Ashlee Simpson.
- "New Years Eve with Carson Daly" (9 p.m., NBC) features appearances by fellow Peacock Network stars, including Conan O'Brien, Brian Williams, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Dule Hill and Jill Hennessy, as well as Donald Trump live from his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida. Musical guests include Avril Lavigne, Maroon 5 and Duran Duran.
- "Live from Times Square with Ryan Seacrest" (10 p.m., Fox) features the "American Idol" host and a sneak peak at a 20-minute film from Usher, featuring four of his hits. Other musical guests include Hoobastank and Evanescence.
Tonight's other highlights
- Feral kittens on "Joan of Arcadia" (7 p.m., CBS).
- A camera crew follows the King in concert in the 1972 documentary "Elvis on Tour" (7 p.m., Turner Classic Movies).
- Maestro Heinz Fricke conducts the Washington National Opera Orchestra production of Strauss' "Die Fledermaus" (8 p.m., PBS).
- Shocking developments on "JAG" (8 p.m., CBS).
- A happy teen vanishes on the way home from school on "Without a Trace" (9 p.m., CBS).