Ryan Seacrest and ringing in the New Year go hand in hand — and the arrival of 2023 will be no different.
The multi-hyphenate is once again hosting Dick Clark’s New Years Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest, and will be stationed in New York’s Times Square Saturday night with co-hosts Liza Koshy and Jessie James Decker. Duran Duran, New Edition, J-hope, and Jax will be giving performances from the Big Apple.
But New Years Rockin’ Eve will celebrate the new year from all across the country and Puerto Rico — with a magical new addition this year: Disneyland! To celebrate the upcoming 100 years of The Walt Disney Company, Ciara will be hosting from Anaheim, Calif,, and will perform along with Fitz and the Tantrums, Maddie & Tae, Shaggy, Ben Platt, Aly & AJ, Halle Bailey, Tomorrow x Together, Bailey Zimmerman, and Lauren Spencer Smith.
Billy Porter will host the Central Standard Time countdown from New Orleans, while Roselyn Sanchez will host the Spanish language countdown from Puerto Rico with a performance from Farruko. And D-Nice will host an L.A. party with performances from Wiz Khalifa, Finneas, Armani White, Betty Who, Dove Cameron, and Nicky Youre.
Below, EW chats with Seacrest about his thoughts on boozy on-air countdowns, former performers showing up late (or tipsy), and his after-party plans.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What are you most excited for viewers to see on this years broadcast?
RYAN SEACREST: Every year, the show gets broader and bigger. For example, we have three ball drops where we only had one for a long time. We’re in different places this year. It’s very exciting. Ciara will host in Disneyland with some of the biggest artists of the year. I will have Duran Duran in Times Square, which I’m very excited about because that’s what I grew up with. Billy Porter’s back, Liza Koshy’s back, the show has really grown into a multifaceted live broadcast. And it’s the longest show that I’ve hosted, it’s five hours plus, live. But that makes it exciting.
How do you prepare for your hosting duties the week leading up to the broadcast?
I get to New York on the 27th and we start going through the show, the rundown, the artists and the weather. But it’s all pretty fluid, it changes as the day goes on. I like that if it’s gonna rain, if it’s gonna snow, if it’s gonna be windy, it kind of changes how we create the narrative. But for me, that’s fun. The artists normally show up on time. There’ve been a few artists that almost didn’t make it, very close to midnight, which was a very stressful moment for me on the air. But it normally comes together and even the moments that aren’t perfect become the moments that people talk about.
Which artists have arrived late before performing live?
I hate to name the person, but it’s a very big pop star who wants to bail out of the show about an hour before her performance at 11:45 p.m., because of the weather, which would create a huge problem for us. She didn’t want to go out there and do her choreography on stage in the rain. Fortunately, we talked her into it, but it was a pretty big panic. You’ve also seen Mariah Carey on the show twice. Where she had a performance and then came back to have another performance. I think those moments are what make the show so great.
You’ve been hosting Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve since 2006. What does it mean to you to be a part of a program that’s a tradition in so many households around the country every New Year’s Eve?
For me, I’m so grateful that I stepped into this role because it was a tradition for me growing up and my family. We would order pizza and watch the show. I think the idea for us is just to create a big party for people who don’t want to go anywhere, who want to just relax, be in their homes, be with their families, order pizza, order buffalo wings, whatever it is. We can bring the excitement, the energy and the new year to them. That’s what Dick told me all along. He goes, “we’re talking to people who are at home, but we bring the excitement to them through our show.”
This year, CNN has decided that their anchors will need to scale back on drinking for their New Year’s Eve show. What do you think about their decision to cut back?
I don’t advocate drinking when one is on the air. I don’t know how that started as a tradition, but it’s probably a good idea [to scale back], CNN. There’s some pretty respectable people or at least one, right? I think there’s a serious journalist and then a friend of mine who has a lot of fun, but it’s probably a good idea. Although the viewers probably wish they would drink more. But I think they had something to say about my show at one point, which was I’m sure from the alcohol because, I don’t think they would say what they said about our performers if they weren’t drinking. But, you know, I think our show’s a bigger, broader show and we will not drink until 1:05 in the morning. Although, I might send them some Casa Dragones Tequila just to tempt them while they’re on the air.
Have any co-hosts or artists shown up to the show tipsy?
Yeah, probably quite a few. I think Post Malone was definitely enjoying himself before he went out. But it’s amazing, artists can still hit their marks, they can do their songs while drinking. Luke Bryan, who I worked with on American Idol, he can have a couple of drinks and still nail it. For me, it’s a little more intense. I prefer not to do that on a live broadcast so I get the countdown right, I don’t want to screw it up.
What does your after-party look like once the show ends?
So, 1:05 a.m. I think I’ve finished. 1:35 a.m. I try to find a restaurant that will serve dinner. I’m actually exhausted by the time it gets to 1:35, but I’m starving cause I don’t eat before the show. And we have a very civilized, eight-person dinner with elevated street food, finger foods, and a great bottle of Italian wine.
What was it like hosting the show during the pandemic? How has it changed since?
In 2020 going into 2021, we were out there alone which was very difficult. I actually thought it would be okay, but to not have anybody out there in the audience, no energy out there, it was hard. There was no one to talk to, you had to fill up a lot of time. So I’m happy to see that revelers will be back out there again and enjoying it from all over the world. But it was tough to do during the pandemic, very tough.
Any favorite performances from past years?
For me it’s when my friends perform. Taylor Swift is amazing. J.Lo of course, incredible. I’m always blown away at how great they are on that stage. I think it’s one of the most vulnerable performances because you’re outside, you’re on the stage, the elements are cold or rainy or windy, and you still have to perform. So I give everybody a lot of credit for doing it. For me it’s the people that I actually know and hang out with that I love to see perform. I was just thinking that one year Lionel Richie should do it because he’s incredible and he’s on Idol and he would be such a crowd pleaser. So I pitched him for a New Year to do it, so we’ll see.
This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.
Watch Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest 2023 Dec. 31 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
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