Thursday, December 29, 2005

Passing of the Torch

I have no inside track, but I think the unspoken truth about Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve is that it will be his last. Even ABC's URL lacks his name. I don't say that to be cruel to the man, because he obviously had a stroke, but in light of last years' repeated line that he suffered a 'minor stroke' coupled with the fact that he has yet to make an appearance since then speaks volumes.

At the risk of sounding callus, and based on published reports from ABC and other media outlets, I predict Mr. Clark will be on hand Saturday night, perhaps for the opening of the program, certainly the last 10 second count-down, and that's about all. Mr. Seacrest will then have the baton passed to him, ending the 34 year tradition of Mr. Clark. More evidence of this comes again from the ABC website, which says Ryan will debut as co-host of the program, but later describes Hilary Duff as [presiding] over segments of the show from Hollywood and [introducing] top recording artists. Considering the publicity photos show all three, it's a wonder why ms. Duff - ABC's own hot-property - isn't given the same co-host status as FOX's Seacrest.

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I am just old enough to remember knowing about the late Guy Lombardo and his traditional New Years Eve telecast, which not surprisingly began on radio before television. Somehow the idea of televising an orchestra held little, broad camera appeal, at least in my estimation. But it remained a staple in my family, and the memories of my aunts and uncles hushing us kids who were lucky enough to see even a portion of the telecast (often, this was well before midnight) stands out in my mind. I can recall being told to 'turn off that noise' when I managed to flip to Dick Clark's show. Ah, that was 1974 or so...

But now I can relate to my aunts and uncles, on some level. I am certain I could pick Mr. Seacrest out of a lineup if asked, but having never watched an episode of American Idol, I can't speak first hand for his talent. Obviously, AI is a hit, and he wouldn't be there without talent, but I couldn't speak to it. His own website tells me he's the man behind the mic at AT40, which was news to me, since I hadn't heard Casey Kasem had given up his post (but then again, I haven't remotely enjoyed much pop-music in over 20 years). So I am as clueless today about Ryan as my relatives were 30 years ago.

Whether it be Dick Clark's final hosting of New Year's or not, here's hoping this will be a good one for one and all!

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