Well before and right up until the ball drops on New Year’s Eve, there is TV to be had as you prepare to bid adieu to 2-0-1-2. There’s a serious face-off in the Sunday Night Football season finale, a fresh slab of bacon-themed programming, a Herculean marathon and then countdown specials for every stripe of viewer out there. Here are the programs we have singled out, in 10…! 9…! 8…! 7….
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 30
7:30 pm Call the Midwife Holiday Special (PBS) | In this 90-minute episode, Nurse Jenny Lee tries to find the children of an elderly vagrant and Chummy plans an ambitious nativity play.
8:20 pm Sunday Night Football (NBC) | The franchise’s 26th season heads for the end zone as the Cowboys — who need to win to play in the postseason — visit the Redskins.
10 pm United States of Bacon (Destination America) | Chef Todd Fisher tackles another kind of pigskin in this new series, as he traverses America in search of the most mouth-watering, sensory-overloading bacon creations out there.
10 pm How It’s Made (Science) | What will be the 1,000th product demystified during this momentous episode: cycling shoes, yurts, marine plywood or encaustic paint? (And do I have to know what encaustic paint is before I find out how it’s created?)
MONDAY, DECEMBER 31
8 pm – 6 am Hercules: The Legendary Journeys marathon (The Hub) | If your 2012 just didn’t have enough Kevin Sorbo in it, make up for lost time with 10 back-to-back episodes of the fantasy-action series.
8 pm New Year’s Rockin’ Eve Celebrates Dick Clark (ABC) | In this two-hour preface to ABC’s countdown show, Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas and Love in the Wild‘s Jenny McCarthy look at the career of the legendary TV producer and personality, who passed away in April.
8 pm Live from Lincoln Center (PBS) | Private Practice‘s Audra McDonald hosts One Singular Sensation, The New York Philharmonic’s live tribute to Marvin Hamlisch (who, before his death in August, was scheduled to conduct the concert). Megan Hilty (Smash) and Raúl Esparza (Law & Order: SVU) are scheduled to perform.
10 pm New Year’s Eve With Carson Daly (NBC) | Voice victor Cassadee Pope, Train and The Office‘s Angela Kinsey join Daly for the annual countdown to the new year, broadcast from New York’s Times Square. (The special pauses for local news at 11 pm, then resumes at 11:30.)
10 pm Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2013 (ABC) | Ryan Seacrest and Jenny McCarthy bid the old year adieu from New York — for the first time without Clark’s presence — while Fergie leads revelers in Los Angeles. (The special pauses for local news at 11 pm, then resumes at 11:30.)
10 pm New Year’s Eve With Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin (CNN) | The title says it all. (Check out some of the duo’s greatest hits.)
11 pm New Year’s Eve Live! (Fox) |X Factor champ Tate Stevens, musical group Lifehouse, Carmen Electra (Baywatch) and host Marlon Wayans (In Living Color) lead an evening of entertainment broadcast from Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino.
11 pm All-American New Year (Fox News Channel) | Pat Benatar, Sarah Brightman and the cast of the musical Million Dollar Quartet join Bill Hemmer, Megyn Kelly and other FNC personalities.
11 pm MTV’s Club NYE 2013 (MTV) | Hosts: Jersey Shore‘s Jenni “JWOWW” Farley and Money From Strangers‘ Jeff Dye. Performers: Ke$ha, Ne-Yo, Sean Kingston, Rita Ora and Conor Maynard. Me: Too old.
11:30 pm Eric Andre’s LIVE New Year’s Eve Spooktacular (Adult Swim) | The comedian brings in celebrity guests like X Factor‘s Demi Lovato, The Apprentice‘s Omarosa and Hercules‘ Kevin Sorbo for a classic countdown with a few twists (competitive eating, marching bands and the like).
Hit the comments with your picks from the New Year’s weekend lineup!