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How to watch the New Year’s Eve 2022 ball drop and every weird special

Rockin’ Eve, free streams, Dolly Parton — you have options!

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The Times Square ball blazes with light, with fireworks in the background, during the 2021 Times Square New Year’s Eve Celebration. Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images

For even the biggest partier, the siren song of staying indoors is never stronger than on New Year’s Eve. Even if you’ve got a party to go to, or have picked out a wonderful outfit, there’s a certain allure to… not doing any of it and just hanging out. The night starts off wonderful, of course, but New Year’s Eve has a tendency to devolve into confusion, both drunken and sober. Because the holiday is amorphous, everyone has their good nights, their bad nights, and the nights where they did absolutely nothing.

Here are some options for at least having a nice night on New Year’s, no matter where you are.

Miley’s New Year’s Eve Party

Miley Cyrus performs at Mileys New Years Eve Party Hosted by Miley Cyrus and Pete Davidson in 2022. Photo: Vijat Mohindra/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank/ Getty Images

Where to watch: NBC or Peacock

When: Starting at 10 p.m. ET

What it is: A new tradition could be forming. Last year, Miley and Pete Davidson were able to pull off what seemed to be as good a Millennial New Year’s TV extravaganza as could exist. They told corny jokes, acted out in funny-enough sketches, sung some songs, and just generally gave off a good vibe. They were a mess but they were our mess, dammit.

Pete, who had an extremely busy year, isn’t involved time around. But Miley called in the nepo cavalry and added her godmother, Dolly Parton, to the show instead.

That’s a pretty big upgrade, and the show will also feature Latto, Sia, Rae Sremmurd, the rock band Liily (?), and the singer-songwriter Fletcher (??). The show will also provide some classic NBC synergy with SNL’s Chloe Fineman and Sarah Sherman. The meeting of Dolly Parton and Sarah Sherman, also known as Sarah Squirm from her earlier days as an indie gross-out comedian, could very well produce an energy heretofore undocumented in the solar system.

New Year’s Eve Live With Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen

Where to watch: CNN, CNN apps, or CNNgo

When: Starting at 8 p.m. ET

What it is: It’s typically smooth sailing in the impermanent world of New Year’s Eve hosts, because how could you mess up a gig like this? You crack jokes, you introduce musical guests, and if you’re on CNN, you drink heavily. For years now, for some reason, CNN has picked New Year’s Eve as its annual chance to pull back on whatever credibility it has as a news organization and just let everyone get wasted. Don Lemon got his ear pierced after downing tequila shots! People love it!

Until last year, when Bravo’s Andy Cohen ranted with joy as outgoing New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio vacated his office. “The only thing that Democrats and Republicans can agree on is what a horrible mayor he has been. So, sayonara sucka!” Regardless of how accurately he captured the feeling in New York, it didn’t seem like the sort of thing CNN typically airs.

That feeling moved all the way to the station’s president, Chris Licht, who ordered its hosts to pull back. But not completely, as Semafor’s Max Tani has pointed out. The directive has gone back and forth, now allowing Anderson Cooper and Cohen to imbibe, although Cooper is apparently “concerned at the perception that only the two white hosts are permitted to drink.” So then that rule got walked back, with Licht saying he prefers no on-air drinking at all, which apparently has pissed off Don Lemon.

So come on down to CNN this New Year’s, where nobody knows what’s gonna happen!

Dick Clark’s New Years Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest

Where to watch: ABC

When: Starting at 8 p.m. ET

What it is: The New Year’s Eve TV gig first took off with Dick Clark, whose Rockin’ New Years Eve was the first real challenger to Guy Lombardo’s big band, which had dominated radio and TV for decades. Rockin’ is now a juggernaut of its own, a rare living connection to how television operated in the Twentieth Century. Dick Clark has passed on, but Seacrest holds onto Clark’s vision of a broad, happy New Year.

This year’s guests prove the point: Usher (from Las Vegas), Kevin Hart, Ellie Goulding, Patti LaBelle, REO Speedwagon, Nick Cannon, Jenifer Lewis, John Stamos, Tenacious D’s Jack Black and Kyle Gass, Jean Smart, Cheri Oteri, Ava Max, and more! No matter who you are, chances are you probably like at least somebody on this list. It’s a guaranteed good time, at least for the few minutes your fav is on the air before they get bumped by Stamos.

In his drunken rants last year, CNN’s Andy Cohen also took a few shots at Ryan Seacrest, calling the Rockin’ crew a “group of losers” whose show was the equivalent of “watching nothing.” Although he later apologized, the damage was done. Seacrest will be co-hosting with Billy Porter, Ciara, D-Nice, and Rosalyn Sanchez, all of whom will be having their own parties across the country with their own musical stars.

“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, he told USA Today. Seacrest promises not to drink until one in the morning, so everything will be on the up-and-up on ABC, starting at 8 p.m.

The Shaq-tacular Spectacular

DJ Diesel (Shaq) raises a hand and gives a thumbs up in the DJ booth at Emo’s Austin
Shaq, AKA DJ Diesel, performing at Emo’s Austin.
Photo: Rick Kern/Getty Images

Where to watch: Meta Horizon Worlds or Meta Quest TV (on your Meta Quest 2 VR headset)

When: claims the event begins at 6:30 p.m. ET and goes until 3 a.m. How does that work out with this apparently hour-long special? We’re not exactly sure.

What it is: Meta is continuing to try and make Meta happen, and in the context of New Year’s celebrations, “trying to make it” means spending lots and lots of money on celebrities. The pre-recorded event, which only lasts an hour, features Cardi B, Ludacris, Lil Yachty, Killer Mike, Whipped Cream, and DJ Diesel (that’s Shaq). There are also going to be pro roller skaters, cheerleaders, a basketball court, and a marching band.

Everything and a kitchen sink, for an hour, in VR in Meta Horizon Worlds and on Meta Quest TV, available in the Meta Quest 2 headset. It’ll also play on Shaq’s Facebook and Instagram pages.