For the second year in a row, Carson Daly is hosting a countdown to the New Year on NBC. But it's the first that he'll be on a major network opposite perennial favorite Dick Clark, who returns to the

For the second year in a row, Carson Daly is hosting a countdown to the New Year on NBC. But it's the first that he'll be on a major network opposite perennial favorite Dick Clark, who returns to the three-part special that bears his name a little more than a year after suffering a stroke that kept him from last year's event.

"Dick Clark is great and it would be fantastic to have a long career like his. There's a guy who's been in the business, behind and in front of the camera," Daly tells Billboard.com. "[But] I don't want to be another Dick Clark, I want to do my own thing."

While Clark's 34th annual "New Year's Rockin' Eve" will stretch three-and-a-half hours on ABC, "NBC's New Year's Eve with Carson Daly" will last only 50 minutes.

"People started getting penned in Times Square at 3 o'clock on New Years Eve but at the end of the day, all we're really doing is watching a ball drop," Daly says. "There's so many awards shows and music shows and New Year's Eve shows. Everything's so oversaturated and everybody's trying to out-book everybody else. We're going the short and sweet route."

The NBC show kicks off at 11:30 p.m. ET and will feature a musical performance by Mary J. Blige and appearances by celebrities like Diddy, Brian Williams and New York mayor Michael Bloomberg.

"We just wanted to get a great star like Mary on the show and produce this thing from a different angle. She's a huge star, she's from New York," Daly says. "She should've hosted!"

Though it's only his second time in the seat for NBC, Daly is a ball drop veteran, having hosted MTV's New Year's Eve celebration for seven years before joining up at NBC. The difference between the two?

"Well, let's put it this way... I could drink [alcohol] at one and not the other," he says. "In cable, if you get thirsty, well... you do what you gotta do."

Asked if he'll be making any resolutions before the ball drops to welcome 2006, Daly is quick to answer.

"Screw that," he says. "I'm keeping my vices."

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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