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New Year's Eve TV: MTV, Dick Clark from NYC; Cronkite in Vienna

Wednesday, December 31, 2003

By Terry Morrow, Scripps Howard News Service

Standing in his pajamas during the New Year's Eve mayhem of Times Square last year, MTV personality Quddus had a case of "rookie jitters."

It was his first time to see the merrymaking firsthand as part of the MTV team. The booze was flowing. The music was rockin'. People were required to show up in their bedclothes.

"To see everybody that I work with, to see people I respect, in their pajamas was kind of bugged out," he said. "To see my contacts in those kinds of clothes was a trip.

"Seeing Ashton Kutcher drunk on air was kind of an experience, too, because I never knew when he was going to drop the mike and moon the crowd."

Guy Lombardo might be spinning in his grave.

MTV has added a rock 'n' roll spin to New Year's Eve for well more than a decade now. Its veejays headline the live event, with musical acts performing in Times Square.

This year's celebration begins at 10:30 p.m.

Clay Aiken, Hilary Duff, Ludacris and Simple Plan are scheduled to perform. Also appearing are Erika Christensen, Chingy and the cast of the WB drama "One Tree Hill."

The evening will also be a competition among hip-hop artists. MTV's champion from last spring's "MTV's MC Battle I," Reign Man, will face off against Wrekonize, the champion of "MTV's MC Battle II," to determine who is the lyrical king of the ring.

Fans voting during the event on will determine the winner.

Simple Plan will perform the midnight tune, a cover that has yet to be announced. This marks the Canadian band's first appearance at the MTV event.

"My first thought will be that I hope we don't mess up," said Chuck Comeau, drummer for Simple Plan.

Quddus will be reporting from inside the comfort of the MTV Studios in Times Square. Most of the other veejays will be doing duty outside in Times Square.

This year, though, they'll be dressed in their normal street clothes.

"For me, the turning of the New Year is a whole new page, and I plan to look at it that way," he said. "A lot of people say that, but they don't mean it. For me, this New Year will mean a whole new life. I plan to usher it in as wildly and as boldly as possible."

Is Quddus hoping some major star will show up drunk again this year?

"I'm someone who believes you can have a good time without alcohol," he said, "but I have to admit that it is always funny to see someone drunk. I cannot lie."

For folks who like their New Year's more traditional, Dick Clark will be back with his "New Year's Rockin' Eve" special on ABC. The festivities start at 10 p.m.

Performers will include Donna Summer, The Black Eyed Peas, Hall & Oates, Jagged Edge, Jason Mraz and 3 Doors Down.

But if Hall & Oates aren't old school enough for your taste, Walter Cronkite is hosting the annual Vienna Philharmonic New Year's Day concert at 8 p.m. on PBS.

This will mark the 20th year that Cronkite, the 87-year-old broadcasting legend, has hosted the American broadcast of the concert. The only thing that could stop him would be a snag in his recovery from foot surgery to repair an old Achilles tendon injury.

The program, in the Austrian capital's Musikverein concert hall, is a light concert of mostly waltzes and polkas composed by Johann or Joseph Strauss. Riccardo Muti of Milan is this week's guest conductor.

Dave Mason of Scripps Howard News Service and David Bauder of the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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