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HAPPY NEW YEAR TV: Countdowns and marathons
December 27, 2008  | By Diane Werts

Celebrate Wednesday night's arrival of 2009 the new/old-fashioned way with the broadcast networks' countdowns. Or check out cable's alternatives, most of which have nothing to do with New Year's Eve.

And then there's the let-it-all-hang-out festivity of Univision's time-zone-hopping Feliz 2009! Can't go wrong with Don Francisco, buxom babes and flowing alcohol. Even if you don't habla Espanol.

Here's the rundown:


  • Ryan Seacrest now holds forth on the venerable Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve (Wednesday 10-11 p.m. ET and 11:30 p.m.-2 a.m. ET on ABC), with music in Times Square from will.i.am, Taylor Swift, The Jonas Brothers and Lionel Richie.
  • New Year's Eve With Carson Daly (Wednesday 10-11 p.m. ET and 11:35-12:35 a.m. ET on NBC) has the late-night talker hosting Elton John, Ludacris, T.I. and The Ting Tings.
  • Spike Feresten does the honors on New Year's Eve Live (Wednesday 11 p.m.-12:30 a.m. ET, Fox), with David Cook, Daughtry, Scott Weiland and Lynyrd Skynyrd.
  • Feliz 2009! (Wednesday 10 p.m.-12:30 a.m. ET, Univision) hops from Miami to San Antonio and beyond, with in-studio craziness and on-location celebration. You don't need to speak Spanish to party hearty.
  • Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin headline CNN's Times Square coverage of New Year's Eve (Wednesday at 11 p.m. ET, CNN).

abfab bbc america.jpgCOMEDY MARATHONS --

  • It's always New Year's Eve with those inebriated Brit twits of Absolutely Fabulous (Wednesday 11 p.m.-3 a.m. ET, BBC America).
  • Hug it out with the showbiz boys of Entourage (Wednesday 10 p.m.-4 a.m. ET, HBO).
  • Kathy Griffin rips celebs new ones on her standup specials Everybody Can Suck it, Straight to Hell, Strong Black Woman and My Life on the D-List (Wednesday 11 p.m.-3 a.m. ET, Bravo).



  • Sci Fi's annual marathon of The Twilight Zone (Wednesday 5 a.m.-Friday 5 a.m. ET, Sci Fi) features favorite episodes like To Serve Man (Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET) and the aptly scheduled The Midnight Sun (Wednesday at 11:30 p.m. ET). Further goodies include Night of the Meek (Art Carney as Santa at 3 p.m.) and A Stop at Willoughby (James Daly goes bucolic at 11 p.m., all times ET).
  • Big Clint Walker wanders the wild west in the '50s western hit Cheyenne (Wednesday night at midnight-Thursday night at midnight ET, Encore Westerns).
  • Jackie Gleason goes bang-zoom in classic episodes of The Honeymooners (Wednesday night at midnight-5 a.m. ET, continues Thursday 9 a.m.-8 p.m. ET, WPIX).



    • Golden-age Hollywood musical numbers fill the three clip films of That's Entertainment! plus That's Dancing! (Wednesday 8 p.m.-5 a.m. ET, Turner Classic Movies).
    • James Bond gets high-def marathon treatment with GoldenEye (Wednesday at noon and 3 a.m. ET), The World Is Not Enough (Wednesday at 3 p.m. and midnight ET) and Tomorrow Never Dies (Wednesday at 6 and 9 p.m. ET, all on Universal HD.)
    • Go ape with all five series flicks starting with Charlton Heston's Planet of the Apes (Wednesday 7:30 p.m.-Thursday 8:30 p.m. ET, Encore Action).
    • It's no marathon, just one of our favorite films -- Brian DePalma's 1974 Phantom of the Paradise (Wednesday at midnight ET, Fox Movie Channel), a constantly quirky pop culture amalgam of Faust, The Phantom of the Opera, The Picture of Dorian Gray and myriad movie homages. Listen close to the nuances of Paul Williams' clever song score, parodying pop music eras from death doo-wop through surf songs into glam rock.


phantom paradise williams.jpg

And of course: Happy new year 2009!

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