Fine Tuning - A weekly column highlighting music-related television programming (Dec. 29, 2003-Jan. 4, 2004

As one door closes, another is said to open. So it is with the passage of time and the end of 2003 and the dawn of 2004.

Seeing as New Year's Eve can be a dangerous night on the roadways, why not make a plan to stay home or at a friend's and welcome Baby New Year 2004 with some of the biggest music stars?

The ante seems to be upped every year as New Year's Eve approaches, and this year is no different. Dick Clark hosts the most well-known television countdown, having done it for decades. And although his seemingly endless teenage years have begun to fade right into a more mature age, he will again reprise his role

As has become tradition in recent times, his ABC celebration will be broken down into three distinct broadcasts. The first, "Dick Clark's Primetime New Year's Rockin' Eve," will look back on the year through previously taped performances by a host of music stars. The hour-long 2003 retrospective will air at 10 p.m. ET/PT and feature the likes of Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Fleetwood Mac, Kiss, Tim McGraw and Avril Lavigne.

Then there's "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve" parts one and two. Across the two-and-a-half hours, you can expect appearances by Hall & Oates, Donna Summer, Jagged Edge, Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey, 3 Doors Down, Lil Bow Wow and Jason Mraz. Part one airs at 11:35 p.m. ET, the second at 1:05 a.m ET, and will include Clark's bird's eye view of the festivities in New York's Times Square.

In a similar position is MTV, which has its studios located smack dab in the middle of Times Square. The network will toss it's own celebration with Ludacris, Simple Plan, Hilary Duff, Chingy and Clay Aiken expected.

Over on Fox, another contingent of stars will gather for "America's Party." This one has Ryan Seacrest ("American Idol") hosting and the likes of Metallica, Westside Connection, Ashanti, Keith Urban, Puddle Of Mudd, Ashanti and event Hootie & the Blowfish performing. Everyone's favorite spoiled, wealthy dimwits Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie will also be on hand.

Feeling Hollywood? Well, NBC's "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" will be live to ring in the New Year. Not just new, but live, too. Along with, ummm , comedy, from Carrot Top and a performance by Stomp and the Jackie Robinson Steppers, the legendary Tom Jones will be on hand to sing a few songs.

While he won't be on live, Conan O'Brien will also have a new show on tap for the night with Moby slated to perform a version of Radiohead's first hit, "Creep."

And don't think that Pay Per View will only have some ultimate bareknuckle street fighting rumblethon to watch, either. This year will also bring "Bon Jovi: Full House - The Concert From the Boardwalk." Taped Nov. 14-15 at the Borgata in Atlantic City, N.J., the 88-minute concert will premiere on New Year's Eve and replay throughout January. (See indemand.com for more information.)

With all that action, New Year's Day must be for resting, right? Nope. New Year's Day is for football and singing and dancing and skating, it would seem.

Fresh from visiting with Dick Clark the night before, Jessica Simpson and Nich Lachey will be on hand in Miami for the FedEx Orange Bowl. At halftime in the game between Miami and Florida State, the newlyweds will perform for the crowd in the stadium and on television.

A few hours north, "Night of Joy at Walt Disney World" will feature a gathering of contemporary gospel stars at the Orlando resort and broadcast on cable's Hallmark Channel. Yolanda Adams, Kirk Franklin & the Family, Jars Of Clay, Point Of Grace, Michael W. Smith, Rebecca St. James, Stacie Orrico and Zoegirl will be among those offering and inspirational start to 2004.

The skating comes in with Eric Cartman's favorite as NBC presents "Allstate Presents Brian Boitano Skating Spectacular. In the midst of a flight of internationally renowned top skaters, R&B star Brian McKnight will perform.

And Fox will wrap the "World Idol" competition that evening with veteran star Elton John on hand to perform for the crowd of relative newcomers.

Other musical highlights this week include the Ataris (Monday) and Westside Connection (Tuesday) on Leno, John Mayer with Buddy Guy and Double Trouble Tuesday on Conan, Pink Tuesday on Letterman (CBS), the Jayhawks and Gillian Welch over the weekend on "Austin City Limits" (PBS, check local listings) and Brad Paisley as Rick Nelson, Jennifer Love Hewitt as Nancy Sinatra and Josh Kelley as Barry McGuire on NBC's "American Dreams."

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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