Where did the year go? Can it already be the time for “New York’s Rockin’ Eve Celebrates Dick Clark” (7 p.m., ABC)? The special, hosted by Fergie and Jenny McCarthy, looks back at Clark’s many decades as a television personality and his long association with hosting ABC’s New Year’s Eve celebration.
Clark died this year, but not before passing the hosting baton to Ryan Seacrest, who will be seen on “Dick Clark’s Primetime New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest 2013” (9 p.m., ABC).
Dick Clark wasn’t the only television personality to depart in 2012. As stars go, Andy Griffith and Larry Hagman were in rare company. Both men created iconic television characters and had two hit series (“The Andy Griffith Show” and “Matlock”; “I Dream of Jeannie” and “Dallas”).
Jack Klugman also appeared in two notable series, “The Odd Couple” and “Quincy, M.E.” Only nostalgia clouds the fact that “The Odd Couple” never had good ratings when it first aired on ABC. Oscar winner and “McHale’s Navy” star Ernest Borgnine was working up until the time of his death in 2012. Phyllis Diller’s attempts at prime-time sitcoms were never successful, but the pioneering female comic was a staple of variety shows for decades. And just as Dick Clark “owned” New Year’s Eve, Christmas wasn’t really Christmas until Andy Williams showed up in a nice sweater.
Viewers always knew they were going to see somebody squirm during an interview with Mike Wallace on “60 Minutes.” And let’s not forget “Soul Train” host Don Cornelius, “The Monkees” star Davy Jones, NFL star-turned-actor Alex Karras or “Evening Shade” star Charles Durning.
No one would accuse astronaut Neil Armstrong of being a TV star or remotely “showbiz” in any way. But he was at the center of the 1969 moon landing, the most anticipated and watched moment in global television history.
Tonight’s other highlights
• Nick Cannon counts down viewer-selected videos on “TeenNick Top 10: Best of 2012” (7 p.m., TeenNick).
• The ball drops on “NBC’s New Year’s Eve With Carson Daly 2012” (9 p.m.).
• Lifehouse and Carmen Electra perform on “New Year’s Eve Live! ’12” (10 p.m., Fox).
• Adult Swim presents “The Eric Andre New Year’s Eve Spooktacular” (10:30 p.m., Cartoon Network).