1) “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” 8-11 p.m. Friday and 11:30 p.m. to 2:13 a.m., ABC. With COVID re-surging, the best way to party is in front of our TV sets. Ryan Seacrest will be in Times Square (shownhere in a previous year), with live performances from LL Cool J, Journey, Chloe and Karol G. The marathon also has Billy Porter in New Orleans, Daddy Yankee in Puerto Rico and a pre-taped Los Angele party with Ciara, Macklemore, Avril Lavine, Walker Hayes, OneRepublic, French Montana, Big Boi, Don Omar and many more.
2) More Eve parties, Friday. This year’s newcomer has CBS in Nashville. That’s 8-11 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m., with Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, Luke Bryan, Lady A, Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley, Kelsea Ballerini, Jimmie Allen, Brooks & Dunn and more. Fox has Joel McHale and Ken Jeong in New York from 8-10 p.m. and 11 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., with Maroon 5, Pink, Billy Idol, Trace Adkins and more. NBC has Miley Cyrus and Pete Davidson in Miami, from 10:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.
3) Rose Parade, Saturday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET, NBC and ABC. After a one-year break, the new year again starts with lots of flowery spectacle in Pasadena. Leann Rimes will do an opening song and LeVar Burton – who was a University of Southern California student when he landed the lead role in “Roots,” 45 years ago – is grand marshal, followed by 20 bands and 40 floats. This is the 95th year NBC covers it on radio or TV; this time, Chrissy Metz and Susan Kelechi Watson of “This Is Us” do the commentary.
4) Bowl games. In the past, most of the top six bowls would be on New Year’s Day. This year, however, half come early. ESPN has the Peach Bowl (Pittsburgh-Michigan State) at 7 p.m. ET Thursday and the national semi-finals Friday – Alabama-Cincinnati at 3:30 p.m. ET, Michigan-Georgia at 7:30. Its Saturday bowls are Fiesta (Notre Dame-Oklahoma State) at 1 p.m., Rose (Utah-Ohio State) at 5 and Sugar (Baylor-Mississippi) at 8:45. And there are eight more bowls during that three-day stretch.
5) “The Year: 2021,” 9-11 p.m. today, ABC. Before greeting 2022, we pay final respects to a bizarre year. The Capitol was breached, people were killed and injured … and that was the first week. In the months ahead, two recovery mega-bills would pass and a third would stall. Unemployment would plunge, inflation would climb; COVID was stifled … then rebounded. Robin Roberts hosts this overview, which has ABC News people and pop-culture figures, including the “Love Island” narrator.
6) “This Is Us” and “New Amsterdam, 9 and 10 p.m. Tuesday, NBC. The following Tuesday (Jan. 4) is a big day for NBC: “This Is Us” starts its final season and “New Amsterdam” returns after a five-week break. First, we can catch up, watching the previous episodes. At 9 p.m., the family gathers for what’s supposed to be the wedding of Kevin and Madison; there are flashbacks and surprises. At 10, Max and Helen are heading to London to start their new life; yhen a superbug hits the New York hospital.
7) “‘The Price is Right’ 50th Anniversary Special,” 8-10 p.m Wednesday., CBS. “Price” really began 65 years ago, but CBS only counts the time on its network. This rerun, from September, marked the start of the 50th year. Up to then, two million people had been in the studio audience and 68,000 had been called as contestants. They’d won $300 million in prizes, including 8,400 cars; they’d tried 108 games. This season, with Drew Carey hosting, added two more games, including one with the prices in 1972.
8) “Around the World in 80 Days” debut, 8 p.m. Sunday, PBS. This is under the “Masterpiece” banner, but it feels more like an epic adventure for the big screen. It’s an international co-production, with David Tennant (who’s English) as the frantic Phileas Fogg, Ibrahim Koma (French) as his valet and Leonie Benesch (German) as a reporter. In the 19th century, Fogg bets he can circumnavigate the globe – then runs into thieves and revolutionaries. But by the end of the first hour, he’s soaring – literally.
9) “Next Level Chef” debut, 8 p.m. Sunday, Fox. Most chefs don’t start their careers in the gleaming kitchens you see on TV, Gordon Ramsay says. So this show splits its 15 people into groups; one gets state-of-the-art (and first choice of ingredients), one gets average and one is in the basement. At the end of this first hour – an interesting one – Ramsay, Richard Blais and Nyesha Arrington each choose a five-person team. The show then moves to Wednesdays, where teams will alternate between the levels.
10) “Carole King & James Taylor: Just Call Out My Name,” 9 p.m. ET Sunday, rerunning at midnight CNN. King was already a co-writer of pop classics – “One Fine Day,” “Up On the Roof,” “Natural Woman,” many more. She was asked to be the pianist in a band for Taylor … who then coaxed her into singing onstage. Later, her “Tapestry” album would sell 22 million records. Now King, 79, and Taylor, 74, talk a little and sing a lot, in a gorgeous film that peaks with his rendition of her song, “You’ve Got a Friend.”