I've stumbled through so many New Year's Eves that I've completely forgotten their purpose. Are we burying the old or welcoming the new? In either case, 2006 will arrive whether we are ready or not. And, as he has since at least the Cenozoic Era, Dick Clark will be playing host to "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve 2006" (9 p.m., ABC). Look for Ryan Seacrest of "American Idol" fame, too. Correspondent Marysol Castor will provide updates on the throngs of people milling about Times Square.
Singer Mariah Carey will cap off a memorable year by performing live from Times Square during Clark's show. This marks the first time in "Rockin' Eve" history that a musician has performed live. Carey has much to celebrate. Her recent album, "The Emancipation of Mimi" has been certified quintuple platinum, it has spawned three No. 1 singles, and Carey has been nominated for eight Grammy awards. Later in the evening, singer and actress Hilary Duff will preside over segments of the "Rockin' Eve" emanating from the West Coast.
l Clark isn't the only showbiz evergreen with his own year-end extravaganza. Regis Philbin plays host to "New Year's Eve Live" (10 p.m., Fox). Jillian Barberie, Nick Cannon, Tyler Hilton and "Dancing with the Stars" favorite John O'Hurley also appear.
l Carson Daly also plays host his own eponymous special (10:30 p.m., NBC). Comic Wanda Sykes, the musical entrepreneur currently calling himself "Diddy," singer Mary J. Blige and correspondent Brian Williams join him.
Today's other highlights
¢ Scheduled on "48 Hours Mystery" (9 p.m., CBS): a hospital whodunnit.
¢ Six episodes unfold on the "South Park New Year's Rock-A-Thon" (9 p.m., Comedy Central).
¢ Scheduled on "60 Minutes" (6 p.m., CBS): the private space race; AIDS in China; intimations of immortality.
¢ Scheduled on "Dateline" (6 p.m., NBC): death at a camp for troubled teens
¢ A farmhouse becomes a home for six children on "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" (7 p.m., ABC).