Despite what some curmudgeonly TV critics say (see adjoining column), stay-at-homers can find New Year’s Eve merriment and entertainment on the TV tube today and tonight, with a variety of programs scheduled to bring in 1988.
Here’s a countdown of the last remaining hours of 1987 on TV:
At 10:30 this morning, the Fiesta Bowl Parade in Phoenix will be carried on Channels 9 and 42, a prelude to Friday’s Fiesta Bowl football game between Florida State and Nebraska.
Meanwhile, two football bowl games take place today. The Gator Bowl pits Louisiana State against South Carolina in Jacksonville, Fla., at 11:30 a.m. on CBS (Channels 2 and 8).
Then, Pittsburgh meets Texas in the Bluebonnet Bowl in Houston in a game that can be seen at 5 p.m. on Channels 11 and 51.
Moving into the evening, PBS stations will be carrying a New Year’s Eve gala from Lincoln Center in New York, featuring Zubin Mehta conducting the New York Philharmonic and soloists Kathleen Battle and the Boys’ Choir of Harlem. The program airs at 6 p.m. on Channel 24, and at 8 p.m. on Channels 28, 50 and 15.
PBS also has “Happy New Year U.S.A.!” on tap, a three-hour mix of symphony, jazz and fireworks from Baltimore. Harry Anderson and Mel Torme host this one that will come along at 8 p.m. on Channel 24 and at 10 p.m. on Channels 28, 50 and 15.
KCBS-TV Channel 2 spends a half hour at 7:30 p.m. previewing the USC-Michigan State Rose Bowl game in “The Roses Are Cardinal & Gold.”
Two animated programs will occupy the 8-9 p.m. hour on CBS: “Bugs Bunny’s Mad World of Television” (8 p.m.) and “The Romance of Betty Boop” (8:30 p.m.), Channels 2 and 8.
As for the evening’s movies, Channel 5 will be screening “The Poseidon Adventure” (1972, Gene Hackman) at 8 p.m.; ABC will show “The Electric Horseman” (1979, Robert Redford, Jane Fonda) at 8:30 p.m. (Channels 7, 3, 10, 42); and CBS will offer “Barnum” (1986, Burt Lancaster) at 9 p.m. (Channels 2 and 8).
It’s back to more parading at 10 p.m. as NBC catches up with the “King Orange Jamboree Parade” in Miami. Leslie Uggams and Joe Garagiola will host (Channels 4, 36, 39).
The pop music hits of 1987 will be replayed on “1987 Power Hits New Year’s Eve Countdown” starting at 11 p.m. on Channel 9. Whitney Houston, Walt Love, Jeffrey Osborne and Janet Jackson will host the two-hour program. The guests will include Smokey Robinson, Paul Simon and Natalie Cole.
The 100 top videos of this year will be featured throughout the day on MTV cable, leading into MTV’s New Year’s Eve celebration from Times Square in New York.
KTTV Channel 11 will show two hours worth of “Radio’s Top Videos” starting at 8 p.m. Mary Wilson hosts this program of music videos, performed by Whitney Houston, Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner, U2, Madonna and others.
Viewers Choice, a pay-per-view cable company, will carry a Grateful Dead concert from the Oakland Coliseum beginning at 7 p.m., a program that will be stereo-simulcast on KRLA-AM (1110) and KLSX-FM (97.1).
And come 11:30 p.m., Dick Clark will be in New York’s Times Square for his 16th consecutive “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” celebration (ABC, Channels 7, 3, 10, 42). While Clark counts down the last moments of ’87 in the crush of Times Square, Heather Locklear and John Stamos will be hosting the musical portions of the show in the Cocoanut Grove. The performers will include Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam, Los Lobos, Restless Heart and Barry Manilow.
CBS, too, will be celebrating at 11:30 p.m. with “Happy New Year America” (on Channel 2). On this program, Christie Brinkley will be in Times Square, while Ben Vereen will be at the Waldorf Astoria in New York, along with Cleo Laine and John Dankworth. (Gladys Knight and the Pips will not appear, as originally announced.)
Finally, all-night celebrants can tune in to 10 Monty Python episodes as KCET presents a comedy “Night of the Python” minimarathon from 1-5:45 a.m. on Channel 28.