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ABC-TV offers us more Dick Clark than ever before

Another "New Year's Rockin' Eve"

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It seems like Dick Clark has been ringing in the New Year since God's granny was still alive. This year will mark Clark's 29th New Year's Eve broadcast. My granny was alive 29 years ago. And she probably watched Dick Clark ring in 1971. This year, ABC-TV offers us more Dick Clark than ever before. He'll host three specials on Dec. 31, one from 10 to 11 p.m., another from 11:30 p.m. to 1 a.m., and a third from 1 to 2 a.m. As we face the real beginning of the new millennium, we will be surfeited with TV's own Peter Pan, the boy who never grew up. In the 10 o'clock broadcast, Clark will be covering the festivities in Times Square with live music by KISS and 'N Sync. And if you thought you'd finally left the '70s behind, forget it. KC and the Sunshine Band will show up to play "Get Down Tonight." (KC et al. hold the record for the most appearances ever on Clark's "New Year's Rockin' Eve.") At 11:30, Clark and co-host, Wayne Brady ("Whose Line Is It Anyway?"), will preside over the countdown and then introduce the Baha Men ("Who Let the Dogs Out"), the Bangles and Boyz II Men. The Baha Men return in the 1 a.m. segment, as do the Bangles. The question is, what happens to us when his boyish face finally collapses into a rubble of wrinkles and Clark is too old to totter up to that platform at Times Square? We'll probably do the same thing we did when Guy Lombardo, who held the franchise from 1929 to the '70s, was no more. We'll accept whatever new warm and cozy tradition TV provides - if only because we want to know the exact moment when the old year passes. Meanwhile, raise a glass of cheap champagne, marvel at how good Dick Clark still looks, and enjoy the tradition while it still lives on.

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