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Friday, Jan. 20, 2017

New Year's in actual time

Posted Friday, December 30, 2016, at 12:36 PM

I am shocked to report that both WSMV (Channel 4) and WKRN (Channel 2) are going to ring in the New Year on schedule Saturday night.

Both ABC and NBC have long-running New Year's Eve programming which includes the ball drop in Times Square. ABC has "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve," now hosted by Ryan Seacrest, while NBC has "New Year's Eve with Carson Daly."

But the ball drop in New York City happens at midnight Eastern time, which is 11 p.m. our time. For years, the Nashville ABC and NBC affiliates have tape-delayed their respective network broadcasts so that the ball drop seems to be happening at midnight local time.

I have complained about this for years; I always thought it was kind of silly, as if the TV stations don't think we know how time zones work. I would sometimes turn over to CNN's coverage to see the ball drop live, in spite of the fact that I find Kathy Griffin kind of annoying most of the time, and extremely annoying when she's trying to get a rise out of Anderson Cooper.

The other thing I found annoying about the Nashville TV stations' past scheduling is that it ignores the New Year's celebration in Nashville, which has become one of the biggest in the country, certainly one of the biggest in the Central time zone. I always thought that one of the Nashville stations could make a name for itself with live coverage of the Nashville celebration. I realize that would mean making a lot of behind-the-scenes production staff work on a holiday, however.

Well, I don't know whether it's a result of the holiday falling on a Saturday night, or people like me complaining, or some other reason, but this year both "New Year's Eve with Carson Daly" and "New Year's Rockin' Eve" will air in their official network time slots, which means the Times Square ball drop will appear live, as it happens. And one of the two stations -- I think WKRN -- is even promoting that it will feature live coverage of the Nashville note drop. WKRN's published schedule still shows "New Year's Rockin' Eve" continuing well past midnight, which means that either a) their coverage will be a short break-in on the network, limited to the ball drop itself, and maybe a little bit of fireworks, or b) the Nashville event will represent the Central time zone on ABC's nationwide coverage. I don't know which.

WSMV, meanwhile, is showing Carson Daly live from 10:30 to 11:30 local time, and then at 11:30 they will air "Chi-Town Rising," which will apparently focus on the New Year's Eve party in Chicago (which, like us, is in the Central time zone).

WZTV (Channel 17) looks like it's going the tape-delayed route. They're running a FOX network special featuring Pitbull, based out of Miami (also in the Eastern time zone) -- but they're tape delaying it by an hour, so that midnight in Miami seems to coincide with midnight in Middle Tennessee.

WTVF (Channel 5) isn't running any special New Year's countdown programming. It will run old episodes of "Blue Bloods" and "CSI: Miami" for those who aren't really interested in marking the new year.

Anyway, after years of complaining on my part, I wanted to give credit where credit was due. Thanks to WSMV and WKRN for bringing the new year in on time.

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Nice work John. I agree, I'd love to see one of the local stations just do a live broadcast from Nashville all evening long.

-- Posted by Rocket Valentine on Fri, Dec 30, 2016, at 1:09 PM

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John I. Carney is city editor of the Times-Gazette.
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