'NBC's New Year's Eve' Host Carson Daly Shares New Year's Resolution, How to Stay Warm in Times Square
New Year's Eve is only days away, and as always Carson Daly is ready to take over Times Square in New York as the host of NBC's New Year's Eve With Carson Daly, airing at 11:30 p.m. ET/PT on Dec. 31.
As Daly and co-host Melanie Brown of America's Got Talent and Spice Girls fame prepare to show 2016 the door, the Last Call host has one major resolution he hopes will come true in 2017.
"If I could somehow manage a few less plane trips in 2017, because I feel like I was on the road a lot, and I hate being away from my kids," he said on a conference call with reporters.
To remedy this situation, Daly proposes a big change in scenery for one of his day jobs: The Voice. "My resolution is to try and get the live shows for The Voice in New York," he says. That's a tall order to change the locale of The Voice to New York to keep that family togetherness, but not out of the question: America's Got Talent hosted shows in New York City at Radio City Music Hall seasons 8 through 10 and at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark for season 7.
His family -- he has three children, ages 2, 4 and 7 -- are his main focus, and it is important to Daly to have them around when the ball drops at midnight.
"Before they were too little, and I didn’t want them in the craziness of Times Square. But now we’ve got a system worked out where they enjoy it...and letting them be in the center of that with my wife," he said. "Before when I was single it was like, 'Oh, this was the greatest night. I’m going to go out and party.' Obviously, everybody is going to be out. The celebs and all the beautiful people and it’s going to be an all-nighter and it’s going to be great. And I’ve done that and that’s fun. There’s also been times when I’ve been married and had kids but I couldn’t share with them that night. What good is any experience to any of us if you’re not with the ones you love?"
Daly has a party planned with superstar acts, including performances by Jennifer Lopez, Pentatonix and Voice coaches Blake Shelton and Alicia Keys broadcast from Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Mel B -- who begins an eight-week run appearing on Broadway in Chicago -- will be on hand to handle all the action while Daly navigates the crowds of Times Square.
"Our main goal has always been trying to deliver the live experience of Times Square to people at home and put it in their living room," he said. "I do my best to encapsulate the excitement of the night and just kind of describe what I’m seeing to people who couldn’t be there. So the star of the night is the ball. And a million people freezing and wondering how they all have been standing there for over 12 hours. And where they’re peeing, if they are at all."
If anyone is coming out on Saturday night to see the show in person, Daly has a few tips. For one, his stage is set up in front of the Marriott Marquis at 45th and Broadway, and Daly says a "good spot" to see everything is at 47th and Broadway to get a good eyeful of all the action. Another tip: "dress in layers."
"I mean I’ve been out there so many years and I have to confess: As cold as I look, NBC really only recently has built in like probably what you see, similar to some football games where they've got some sort of heating technology on the sidelines," he said. "We actually have heaters underneath, so the stage is actually bearable. That’s good for me and not for a million revelers. We’ve had unseasonably warm New Year’s Eves where it’s felt like 45 and balmy, and we’ve had nights where it’s been like 10 below chill factor.
"So for people coming, I guess I would just prepare for the worst. Because if you have to take your parka off, at least you’ll be prepared if it’s that cold," he said.
Daly knows what he is talking about. He first arrived in Times Square hosting the event for MTV Networks at the old 1515 Broadway location back in his days as the host of Total Request Live. Between his time at MTV and NBC, this is his 18th year ringing in the New Year, with 14 years logged for NBC.
"Our parties on New Year’s Eve [at MTV] looked really good. And they were real parties and pretty debaucherous, as you can imagine," he said. "It wasn’t just a TV show. It was a party that they wanted to attend. And that yielded some pretty crazy stuff.
"I remember Marilyn Manson one year trying to jump through the glass while he was performing live," he continued. "He took three or four legitimate jumps at that glass, which I’m told was bullet-proof, but I’m not so sure that was the case."
Daly said that while NBC's broadcasts aren't quite like that, he has had some memorable moments. One night, Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez popped in as a surprise.
"That was cool because I’m a Yankees fan -- and somebody wasn’t. It must have been a Red Sox fan or somebody in the audience who threw something at him while we were live on TV. And it ended up being a sandwich in a sandwich bag," he said. "As I was talking to him, I saw it out of the corner of my eye, and I deflected it from hitting the great A-Rod. So that was always a great moment. I don’t know if it ever made TV. I think it did. But that was a fun memory too."
Unplanned moments like that are part of the fun, said Executive Producer John Irwin. Putting together a live broadcast has its challenges, but Irwin said he and Daly are ready for the unexpected.
"You basically turn lemons into lemonade. And sometimes that spontaneous moment ends up being better than anything you could have planned for. Now if we have a technical problem, you just have to react on the fly. It depends on what it is," he said.
Irwin says planning for the big night starts early in September, coordinating all the "moving parts" in concert with the Times Square Alliance.
"Obviously booking the music is probably the hardest part of the process, although it’s gotten easier just because the show has sort of become more kind of like a standard," he said. "We try to figure out a good little mix of comedy to work into there so that, you know, there’s some of that. Then it’s a couple of months of working through logistics and all that stuff. But it’s fun."
Daly said that watching the ball drop is a "longstanding tradition" with great symbolism, but this year will be particularly meaningful.
"Our country is divided and we’ve been through a lot this year, but yet here we all are together," he said. "And the ball goes down and you count backwards, and when [the number] one comes, it’s 2017 and we’re all crossing the finish line together. And John and I couldn’t produce anything that could top that."
NBC’s New Year’s Eve With Carson Daly is produced by Irwin Entertainment and Universal Television. The executive producers are John Irwin and Carson Daly. For more information, follow them on Facebook and Twitter.