In just a few days, Ryan Seacrest and Jenny McCarthy will help millions of Americans ring in the New Year when they host Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest live from Times Square.
Seacrest has been co-hosting and producing the annual event since 2006 when he began working alongside original host Dick Clark; he took over as the solo host of the special following Clark’s death in 2012. McCarthy has been joining Seacrest as correspondent during America’s biggest celebration since 2011.
This year’s show will feature performances from veteran New Year’s Rockin’ Eve performers like Christina Aguilera and New Kids on the Block, as well as some of 2018’s superstars such as Dua Lipa, Shawn Mendes, Post Malone and Camila Cabello. Seacrest and McCartney will be joined by hosts Lucy Hale and Ciara who will cover the event from New Orleans and Los Angeles, respectively.
Billboard caught up with Seacrest and McCarthy as they gear up to host the 47th anniversary of Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve to talk about some of their favorite New Year’s Eve moments and keeping Dick Clark’s legacy alive.
Who are some of the artists you’re excited to see perform during this year’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve?
Jenny McCarthy: Ryan, I’m so sorry, but I have to say New Kids on the Block.
Ryan Seacrest: The world is excited for that.
McCarthy: Their fan base is enormous. I didn’t realize when I started dating [husband Donnie Wahlberg], but arenas, city to city, were sold out. They first performed nine years ago and it was also my first time ever doing this job, so it’s very sentimental to us.
Seacrest: You have to have a superstar right before the ball drops as well, and that’s Christina Aguilera this year. It’s always fun to see that. Then the ball drops at midnight and there’s Post Malone and other chart-toppers like Halsey, The Chainsmokers, Dua Lipa, Bazzi and Florida Georgia Line.
You both really make an effort each year to engage with the crowd in Times Square throughout the entire night. Was it difficult during last year’s record freezing temperature?
Seacrest: Last year it was survival for us to be out there. We had to be with warm bodies because it was so cold. My biggest concern was moving my mouth and having a voice come out of it. Our jaws were frozen. Everything was frozen. The crowd keeps your energy up.
McCarthy: I cuddled up close to them, closer than I’ve ever gone before.
Seacrest: Jenny cuddles up even when it’s 50 degrees.
After hosting New Year’s Rockin’ Eve for a few years now, what are some of your favorite memories?
Seacrest: My memories from the beginning were that every New Year’s Eve, I would be outside for the majority of it. Jenny would as well, and then we would each come in to see Dick inside. During the commercial break, I always wanted his feedback. “How did it go? How did it look?” I just wanted him to be happy and feel like we did a great job. The memory that sticks out to me is his stamp of approval when we would come in.
McCarthy: Even being here to watch Dick do the countdown.
Seacrest: It’s true. We’d freeze, I think. You’d be watching the screen, almost forgetting that you’re working because you’re watching this legend do it every time.
McCarthy: My favorite memories are probably a little bit more salacious. I loved the fact that Mariah Carey came back and she killed it. She was amazing. So all of the naysayers and all of the stuff that she got for it, I’m glad that she came back and she proved herself.
How do you feel Dick Clark’s legacy is still a part of the show?
Seacrest: Every time we sign on to do this broadcast, we remember working with him for for many years before we did it on our own. We have so much respect for the franchise that he built and the kind of guy that he is, and the smoothness in which he makes it all work. I also remember him saying, “When it’s midnight, the best tip I can give you is shut-up, because people just want to not hear your voice. They want to the atmosphere of Times Square and they’re kissing their partners and they’re toasting.” There isn’t a moment on this show where I don’t remember vivid memories of working with him.
McCarthy: I remember him saying, “You want to make sure that you are really channeling that energy that you have in Times Square into people’s living rooms. Make them feel that.” That’s one thing I always try to do. Each year I go, “I hope you’re proud, Dick.”
New Year’s Rockin’ Eve airs live at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. The show is produced by Dick Clark Productions, which shares a parent company with Billboard.