By Patrick Ryan/Gannett News Service
F-bombs, handcuffs and below-the-belt smooches: It’s safe to say that nobody rings in a new year quite like Kathy Griffin.
Now eight years into co-hosting CNN’s “New Year’s Eve Live” (8 p.m. Wednesday) with the no-holds-barred comedian, newsman Anderson Cooper says he’s given up on trying to reel her in.
“I’m always nervous when we’re together,” Cooper says. “I never know what she’s going to do, and inevitably, she does several things that are outrageous or shocking, and I spend the rest of the night thinking, ‘Who am I going to have to apologize to now?’ But it’s always fun and I think it’s fun for folks that are watching.”
During the 3½-hour special, CNN correspondents across the globe will share how cities in the USA and abroad are welcoming 2015, as Griffin and Cooper report from Times Square’s ball-drop extravaganza. Although Cooper was never a fan of the crowds and cold, the native New Yorker says he’s grown to love it.
“It’s actually kind of a magical place to be, particularly in those minutes right before the ball drops and in the 10 minutes afterward,” Cooper says. “It really feels like the city comes together, and you have a million people singing together, a lot of whom have been there for more than 12 hours waiting.”
Other New Year’s Eve TV specials:
“Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2015” (7 p.m. and 10:30 p.m., WLS-Channel 7: Ryan Seacrest returns to host the long-running special, headlined by Taylor Swift and Florida Georgia Line in Times Square. Elton John, One Direction and Iggy Azalea round out the lineup of more than a dozen artists playing the bicoastal broadcast. From 11:08 p.m. to 12:15 a.m., ABC 7 cuts in with its own hometown “Countdown Chicago” starring Mark Giangreco, Janet Davies and musical guest Buddy Guy.
“Pitbull’s New Year’s Revolution” (7 p.m. and 11 p.m., WFLD-Channel 32): Fresh off hosting the American Music Awards, Latin rapper Pitbull heads to his hometown Miami to emcee the beachside bash, joined by musical guests Fall Out Boy, Enrique Iglesias and Becky G.
“New York Philharmonic New Year’s Eve: A Gershwin Celebration” (7 p.m., WTTW-Channel 11): Singers Dianne Reeves and Norm Lewis will topline the Philharmonic’s annual year-end concert, which dives into selections by composer George Gershwin, ranging from the Great American Songbook to his Broadway masterpieces.
“New Year’s Eve with Carson Daly” (9 and 10:30 p.m., WMAQ-Channel 5): The “Voice” host recruits jazz mavens and pop favorites for his annual ball-drop festivities, including Lady Gaga, Tony Bennett, Pharrell Williams and Seth MacFarlane.
“Michael Feinstein New Year’s Eve at the Rainbow Room” (9 p.m., WTTW-Channel 11): Atop New York’s 30 Rockefeller Plaza, singer-pianist Michael Feinstein assembles “Glee” star Darren Criss, “Graceland’s” Aaron Tveit, and Broadway darlings Christine Ebersole and Kelli O’Hara for a night of standards at the newly restored restaurant and nightclub.
“MTV’s New Year’s Eve 2015” (10 p.m., MTV): MTV stars Victoria Justice and Charlemagne will ring in 2015 in Times Square, as cast members of the network’s comedies “Girl Code” and “Guy Code” pop in with commentary on the year’s most memorable scandals, trends and relationships.
“TeenNick Top 10 New Year’s Eve 2014 Special” (10 p.m., Nickelodeon networks): TV personality Nick Cannon teams with “Instant Mom” star Sydney Park to present performances by teen heartthrobs such as Vine sensation Shawn Mendes and rapper Jake Miller.