12/31/2013 11:06 am ET Updated Mar 02, 2014

Wringing in the New Year

As a public service, I was scrolling through the channel guide to see what sort of festive broadcasting would be on television New Year's Eve.

ABC is airing 30 Greatest Women in Music, followed by Dick Clark's Primetime New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest. (The holiday special which holds the record for most apostrophes.)

NBC has A Toast to 2013! and then News Years Eve with Carson Daly.

PBS will be broadcasting Live From Lincoln Center, featuring the "New York Philharmonic Gala with Yo-Yo Ma."

And CBS has NCIS, then NCIS: Los Angeles, and finally Person of Interest.

(On Sesame Street, this is where they'd begin singing, "One of These Things is Not Like the Other.")

If you've ever looked for a definition of "counter-programming," this is it.

To be clear, I'm not making a value judgment here, just an observation. I don't think a network is under any obligation to have a rockin' night on New Years Eve -- or even a rocking one -- or have a "big festive party" for all the folks at home not having a party at all, or have a Gala Special. I think it's nice when something musical is done, or light and lively, but mainly I think it's nice when something particularly entertaining is on. Like a "marathon" (I like marathons, particularly Law & Order. Or a good Marx Bros. marathon.) But if a network wants to program some of its dramas, fine. I do think that perhaps that's an odd choice of dramas for New Years Eve, but hey, their network, their choice. Maybe they figure that since it's the only network choice that's not a gala, they'll draw in some new potential audience members for the future who'll want to watch anything that night that isn't bubbly.

By the way, Food Network has a marathon of Chopped All Stars. Passable by their standards, but I think they could have done better.

And TCM has a marathon of the three That's Entertainment movies. Followed by That's Dancing! And then the documentary, Musicals Great Musicals, about producer Arthur Freed, who made so many of the musicals they'll have been showing clips of for the previously nine (seriously) hours. A solid choice, though it seems a bit overkill and repetitious. I'd rather have had the full version of half a dozen of those great musicals in full. But -- it's fine.

Anyway, it's all warm-up for the next day. That's when all the football Bowl Games start and overrun the airwaves.

I've got my chips and dip all ready...


To read more from Robert J. Elisberg about this or many other matters both large and tidbit small, see Elisberg Industries.