September 16, 2014
If New Year’s Eve in Chicago came with instructions, they would read something like this: Dress up in attire that’s both uncomfortable and unsuitable for a Chicago winter, fight for a cab and fork over an exorbitant cover charge to celebrate with a bunch of strangers. Drunk strangers.
Or you can slip into a Slanket and let the party come to you, courtesy of the small screen.
Whether your tastes lean toward televised parties and musical performances or marathons — binge viewing beats binge drinking — these shows will help you ring in the New Year from the comfort of home.
“NEW YEAR’S EVE WITH CARSON DALY” (9 p.m., WMAQ-Channel 5): Dolton native and “Glee” star Jane Lynch is the hostess-with-the-mostess gigs. The “Hollywood Game Night” emcee will oversee the Directors Guild of America Awards next month, but not before welcoming 2014 alongside Carson Daly. This year’s broadcast from Times Square includes performances from Mariah Carey and Blake Shelton. Lynch will be a confetti toss away from former Oak Parker Kathy Griffin, doing her best to make Anderson Cooper blush during the duo’s coverage on CNN, starting at 8 p.m. Chicago-bred talent can also be found on Fox, where local electropunk trio Krewella performs with J. Cole, New Politics and Panic! At the Disco from the Vegas Strip. Mario Lopez hosts the show, airing from 11 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.
“COUNTDOWN CHICAGO 2014” (11:08 p.m., WLS-Channel 7): Mere minutes after Ryan Seacrest and Jenny McCarthy drop the ball in New York City, WLS brings the bicoastal party to the Midwest with Chicago’s only live, local New Year’s Eve show. Co-hosts Janet Davies, Mark Giangreco and Hosea Sanders will be joined by “Windy City Live’s” Ryan Chiaverini, Val Warner and Ji Suk Yi as they take viewers inside some of the area’s biggest bashes, where you just might spot someone you know being a drunken fool on TV. The countdown coincides, as always, with fireworks at Navy Pier. The roughly hourlong show is bookended by “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest,” whose lengthy lineup includes Jennifer Hudson, Pitbull, Blondie, Miley Cyrus, Icona Pop, Robin Thicke, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Billy Joel.
“ALL-AMERICAN NEW YEAR” (8 p.m., Fox News Channel): Co-hosts Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Bill Hemmer broadcast live from Times Square for an expanded block of programming that includes performances by country singer Rodney Atkins, Blue Traveler and Scottish mezzo-soprano Susan Boyle. Also on tap: an interview with the stars of “Duck Dynasty.” What could go wrong there?
NEW YEAR’S EVE MARATHONS: Enter the New Year and another dimension with Syfy’s annual parade of “Twilight Zones.” More than 40 hours of classic episodes get started at 7 a.m. Tuesday. Fans can test their “Twilight Zone” trivia knowledge and win prizes through a social media challenge at Facebook.com/Syfy and on Twitter @Syfy.
†AMC will devote two days to “The Walking Dead,” showing every episode of the hit zombie series in chronological order. The superb pilot is at 8 a.m.
†In case you’d rather not end the year on a post-apocalyptic note, lighten things up with laughter: Bravo will run all season two episodes to date of Mindy Kaling’s under-rated Fox sitcom, “The Mindy Project,” beginning at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday.
†Paddy’s Pub is one bar worth visiting on New Year’s Eve. The entire ninth season of the deliciously dark “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” kicks off at 6 p.m. on FXX.
†USA Network will show off the new jewel in its syndicated comedy crown with a mini “Modern Family” marathon from 7 p.m. to the stroke of midnight.
†Unfortunately, 2013 saw the end of ABC’s stellar ensemble comedy “Happy Endings.” The good news is VH1 picked up the rights to all 57 episodes of the Chicago-set series and will air them back-to-back beginning at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Happy New Year, indeed.