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Ringing in the New With Dave, Jay, Merv and Howard : Television: Letterman and Leno promise wacky treats, Griffin sings, Stern trashes Miss America--and don’t forget Dick Clark and two ‘Ano Nuevo’ specials.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The traditional New Year’s Eve programming of assorted musical and comedy acts interrupted by the customary countdown from New York City’s Times Square gets a major interloper this year with pay-per-view’s “The Miss Howard Stern New Year’s Eve Pageant.”

The controversial radio personality, record-selling author and self-proclaimed King of All Media, serves as host of what he has called “The beauty pageant that you always wished you could see.” Because it is on pay-per-view, the program is not subject to the regulations and standards of broadcast television and radio.

The two-hour pageant airs live from Symphony Hall in Newark, N.J., at 8 p.m. (rebroadcast at 11 p.m.) and carries a suggested retail price of $39.95.

About 40 women culled from regional contests will compete for a $50,000 first prize. The Los Angeles-area representative is Tammy Smith of Aliso Viejo, who plans on doing an impersonation of First Lady Hillary Clinton, then remove her clothes.

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The pageant will also include comedy sketches, and appearances by Jessica Hahn and John Wayne Bobbitt.

There are two other New Year’s Eve television newcomers tonight. David Letterman conducts his first original New Year’s Eve broadcast at 11:35 p.m. on Channels 2 and 8. Bon Jovi makes its initial appearance with Letterman; Roseanne and Tom Arnold also guest. Letterman will conduct a New Year’s Eve countdown and provide other comedy “surprises,” according to a spokeswoman for the show.

British television personality Clive James offers his spin on the year’s most celebrated people, trends and events on “Clive James on 1993" (11 p.m., Channels 28, 50 and 15).

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Dick Clark, the dean of New Year’s Eve hosts, presents the 22nd annual edition of his “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve’ 94" at 11:35 p.m. on Channels 7, 3, 10 and 42. Clark presides from Times Square, while Mark Curry and Holly Robinson from the network’s “Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper” will be at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. Brooks & Dunn, Daryl Hall, Kiss, Joey Lawrence, SWV and Barry Manilow will perform.

“The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” (11:35 p.m., Channels 4 and 36) has comedian Kevin Meaney and singer Michael McDonald performing from Burbank, Richard Simmons reporting from Las Vegas on Barbra Streisand’s concert at the MGM Grand Hotel and comedian Bill Maher reporting from Times Square.

Former CBS and syndicated talk show host turned hotel and game show magnate Merv Griffin returns to performing with his third annual “Merv Griffin’s New Year’s Eve Special” (11 p.m., Channels 13 and 63; 12:05 a.m. Channel 51). His lineup from his Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City includes singers Tony Bennett, Ray Charles and Donna Summer. Griffin will lead a 19-piece big band, accompanied by trumpeter Jack Sheldon and Griffin’s longtime pianist, Mort Lindsey.

The West Coast gets some attention from “New Year’s Eve Live” (11 p.m., Channel 9; 11:35 p.m. Channel 39). Jack Perkins and Sarah Purcell host from the Treasure Island Hotel in Las Vegas with reports from the Space Needle in Seattle and Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco. Acts include Siegfried & Roy, Cirque du Soleil and Clint Holmes. Channel 9’s coverage will also include reports from the Playboy Mansion, in what is being billed as the first time Playboy founder Hugh Hefner has permitted live coverage of his black-tie New Year’s Eve gala.

Fox uses New Year’s Eve to help promote some of its sitcom stars as George Carlin, Sinbad and the cast of “Living Single” perform on “New Year’s Eve ’94" (11 p.m., Channels 11 and 6). Fox’s roster also includes Penn & Teller, Bobcat Goldthwait and Carrot Top. Richard Jeni serves as the host from Times Square.

Both of Los Angeles’ full-time Spanish-language stations will have New Year’s Eve specials. KMEX-TV Channel 34 has “Feliz Ano Nuevo 1994" beginning at 11:45 p.m. from Mexico City, Guadalajara, Monterrey, Acapulco, Miami and other U.S. cities. Performers in the 4-hour, 15-minute show include Luis Miguel, Gloria Trevi, Miguel Bose, Alejandra Guzman, Magneto, Cristian Castro, Mana and the father-son duo of Vicente and Alejandro Fernandez.

KVEA-TV Channel 52 counters with “Ano Nuevo Latino,” from 11 p.m.-1 a.m. with a variety of performers, fireworks and music videos.

On cable, MTV’s year-end programming begins at noon when it will count down the Top 100 videos of the year. “MTV’s Live and Loud” follows from 10 p.m.-11:30 p.m. with the Breeders, Cypress Hill and Nirvana performing in Seattle and Anthony Kiedis and Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers serving as hosts. MTV then moves to New York City’s Madison Square Garden for “Janet’s Live New Year Jam,” a concert by Janet Jackson with simultaneous reports from Times Square by MTV personalities.

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For country music fans wanting to count 1994 in on Eastern time, the Nashville Network presents “New Year’s Eve at Sea World Live” at 8 p.m. Lee Greenwood hosts and performs and is joined by the band Sawyer Brown and Deborah Allen.

A&E; has a four-hour comedy block from 5-9 p.m. that repeats from 9 p.m.-1 a.m.: Satirist Will Durst takes a look at 1993 at 5 and 9 p.m., “The Best of Comedy on the Road,” airs at 6 and 10 p.m., “Caroline’s Comedy Hour” can be seen at 7 and 11 p.m. and “A&E;'s An Evening at the Improv” is presented at 8 and midnight. At midnight, Comedy Central begins a 46-hour marathon of all 93 episodes of the ABC sitcom, “Soap.”

What figures to be the final colorized showing of “It’s a Wonderful Life” airs at 10 p.m. on Lifetime. Republic Pictures, which earlier this year took copyright control of Frank Capra’s 1946 classic, has reached agreements removing the colorized versions from video stores and the airwaves.


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