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December 30, 2022 5:23 pm  #1

What Were You Watching On New Year's Eves Past?

Just about every network and cable channel now has a New Year's Eve special for those who don't want to go out on Dec. 31st. Dick Clark's "New Year's Rockin' Eve" was the first really big original that everyone's familiar with and that has stayed on even after Clark had a stroke - and then passed away. (Did you know its original incarnation was in 1972, when, despite Clark's long association with ABC, it originally aired on NBC for the first two years? It didn't hit its current network home until 1974, and it's been on there in one form or another ever since.)

But what did TV show before Clark counted down the big ball fall in Times Square? The answer, surprisingly, is not very much. I'm not sure if New Year's Eve wasn't as big a deal in the early days of TV or if it just wasn't worth the expense, but for those who stayed home when the calendar changed, there was nowhere near the choice we have today.

Not even a change of decade was apparently a big enough deal, and for proof, look no further than the TV Guide from New York City, the media capital of North America. As 1969 turned into the 70s, New Year's Eve on TV was a pretty staid affair, with perhaps the exception of one man - Guy Lombardo. 

The Times Square celebration was part of his show, and both The Tonight Show on NBC and Merv Griffin on CBS did live cut-ins for the iconic year-end from the scene, but there were no other real revelers to watch on Dec. 31, 1969. 

Here's a look at what was on TV on that date as the 60s came to an official end, beginning with what was then a 7:30 PM primetime start and ending with a sneak peek of January 1's early schedule.

Happy New Year fellow SOWNY-ites. I hope 2023 is a lot better than the past 365 have been for many of us!


December 30, 2022 7:55 pm  #2

Re: What Were You Watching On New Year's Eves Past?

When Lobardo died, that's when I stopped watching New Years Eve TV

You don't have to be a good sport to be a mad one.