Traditional TV specials usher in a New Year

To call this a year like no other is no cliche, but television is maintaining tradition as the calendar flips to a new 12-month cycle.
In the current circumstances, it’s a given that normally well-attended New Year’s events won’t have those big on-site crowds. However, television has proven during 2020 that it still can accommodate such specials, using creativity and technology … so much of the expected Dec. 31 and Jan. 1 programming will remain, if in slightly altered states. Here’s a look at some of the highlights.
College Football (Thursday and Friday): As of this writing, the following games remain scheduled, albeit without the stands filled with spectators: the Armed Forces Bowl (Thursday, ESPN); the Liberty Bowl (Thursday, ESPN); the Arizona Bowl (Thursday, CBS Sports Network); the Texas Bowl (Thursday, ESPN); the Sugar Bowl (Friday, ESPN); the Citrus Bowl (Friday, ABC); the Rose Bowl (Friday, ESPN); and the Birmingham Bowl (Friday, ESPN2). The Orange Bowl and the Fiesta Bowl both are slated to be played Saturday on ESPN.
“Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest 2021” (Thursday, ABC): Though the massive gathering in New York’s Times Square won’t happen, there still will be a celebration largely staged virtually — complete with the ball drop.
“Fox’s New Year’s Eve Toast & Roast 2021” (Thursday, Fox): Ken Jeong and Joel McHale preside over this humor-themed recap of the past year, with music acts and surprise guests.
“That’s Entertainment!” marathon (Thursday, Turner Classic Movies): The channel continues its annual holiday practice of presenting all four of the star-laden, musical-clip-combining features (including “That’s Dancing!”).
“Best of Stand-Up 2020” (Thursday, Netflix): American, Canadian and Australian comics are among those showcased in this compilation of humor specials from the past year … when finding laughs was like striking gold.
“The Rose Parade’s New Year’s Celebration” (Friday, ABC, NBC, Hallmark Channel, Univision): Due to the coronavirus pandemic, there won’t be an actual parade in Pasadena, Calif., but this special will combine taped performances by Sheryl Crow and others with clips of floral floats from previous years.
“Great Performances: From Vienna — The New Year’s Celebration 2021” (Friday, PBS; check local listings): Hugh Bonneville returns for his fourth consecutive year as host of the Vienna Philharmonic’s holiday concert, conducted by Riccardo Muti and showcasing Strauss music.
“HGTV Dream Special Home 2021” (Friday, HGTV): Holding to a Jan. 1 custom, someone is given a new residence, in this case a Rhode Island waterfront house.
DEC. 27, 2020 – John Barrowman stars in “Doctor Who Special 2020 – Revolution Of The Daleks.” Photo Zap2It
“Doctor Who: Revolution of the Daleks” (Friday, BBC America): John Barrowman and Chris Noth return to the franchise for a holiday episode that finds the allies of the current Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) seeking assistance in waging a Dalek-related battle.

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