Grammy Award-nominated recording artist Drake, British superstar Jessie J, NBC’s “The Voice” musician coach and three-time Grammy nominee Blake Shelton, “The Voice” musician coach and Grammy Award-nominated artist Cee Lo Green, NBC’s “Smash” star Megan Hilty, four-time Grammy-winning band The Roots and 15-time Grammy Award winner Tony Bennett will help usher in 2012 on “NBC’s New Year’s Eve with Carson Daly.”
Highlighting a few of the show’s segments will be “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” host Jimmy Fallon doing a special comedy performance from the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, as well as NBC News anchor Brian Williams giving his music review of 2011. Daly will also count down the five top “game-changers” of 2011 — one of which will feature NBC Sports’ Bob Costas. Many NBC stars will be passing along some of their own New Year’s Eve greetings, including “Golden Globe Awards” host Ricky Gervais.
“There is no better place to be in the world on New Year’s Eve than in Times Square,” said Daly (pictured). “I look forward to this night all year—to ring in the New Year with millions of people across the country— it’s a blast!”
The two-hour special will air live on Saturday, December 31, beginning in primetime from 10-11 p.m. (ET), and continue at 11:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. (ET) with the countdown to 2012 and the first performances of the New Year. “NBC’s New Year’s Eve with Carson Daly” will broadcast in high definition from the middle of the world’s most famous New Year’s Eve destination — Times Square in New York City.
For the most up to date New Year’s Eve and backstage news, Daly will also live tweet the event from @carsonjdaly using the hashtag #NBCNYE.
J.B. Smoove (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”) and NBC’s “Today” correspondent Amy Robach will help Daly’s coverage of the celebration with live reports from the heart of Times Square among the one-million spectators.
On New Year’s Eve 2010, 8.8 million viewers tuned in to watch “NBC’s New Year’s Eve with Carson Daly.” The annual special delivered its second-highest ratings since its inception in 2004.
Released in November 2011, Drake’s second studio album “Take Care” debuted atop the Billboard Top 200 chart at #1 and was the biggest first-week SoundScan tally of Drake’s career, with over 630,000 units sold. The eagerly anticipated album was the third-highest-selling debut of 2011 — clocking in behind Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” (1.1 million sold) and label president and mentor Lil Wayne’s “Tha Carter IV” (964,000) – in which Drake also sang. “Take Care” arrived to a chorus of acclaim from critics and consumers alike with Rolling Stone raving that Drake “seamlessly blends those genres (pop, R&B, rap) in fluid, rich tracks,” and the New York Times anointed Drake as “hip-hop’s current center of gravity.”
Since winning the acclaimed BBC Sound Polls of 2010 and Brits’ Critics Choice for 2011, Jessie J has racked up 19 global #1 hits, selling over two million albums and five million singles worldwide. Her Lava/Universal Republic debut album, “Who You Are,” showcases the skills of a gifted lyricist while highlighting an unforgettable journey. In the last few years, Jessie J has penned songs for the such stars as Chris Brown and she also written the smash hit record, “Party in the USA,” sung and performed by Miley Cyrus.
Shelton is the voice of country music. He is CMA’s Male Vocalist of the Year for the second consecutive year, has three Grammy Award nominations, including a nod for Country Album for “Red River Blue,” which debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Top Current Albums chart and Top Country Albums chart with the Associated Press calling the album “the best album of his career,” and Shelton holds the record for the fastest-selling digital platinum single for a male country solo artist for his multi-week, #1 smash “Honey Bee.”
Hilty stars in NBC’s musical drama “Smash,” which premieres February 6 at 10-11 p.m. (ET). Hilty made her Broadway debut as Glinda in “Wicked” and went on to perform the role in both the national tour and in Los Angeles. After receiving rave reviews for her portrayal of Doralee Rhodes in Broadway’s “9 to 5: The Musical,” Hilty was honored with nominations for Lead Actress in a Musical at the Drama Desk Awards, Outer Critics Circle Awards, the Drama League Awards and L.A. Stage Alliance Ovation Awards.
Formed in 1987 in Philadelphia, the legendary Roots have become one of the best-known and most-respected hip-hop acts in the business and have won four Grammys. In 2009, The Roots, named one of the greatest live bands around by both Spin and Rolling Stone, became the official house band on NBC’s “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” where they currently perform every Monday through Friday. The Roots’ latest musical creation is a conceptually based album titled “undun” (Island Def Jam), which was recently released on December 6.
Bennett, who released one of 2011’s most celebrated CDs, “Duets II,” turned 85 this August and made music history when “Duets II” debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Top 200 Album charts, making him the oldest artist to ever achieve the top spot. Nominated for three Grammy Awards, “Duets II” was released to critical acclaim and features Bennett performing his greatest hits with a roster of today’s most successful artists including Lady Gaga, Michael Buble, Carrie Underwood, John Mayer and the late Amy Winehouse, whose stunning duet of “Body and Soul” with Tony was her last recording.
Bennett, a New York native, began his career as a singing waiter in Queens but, as The New York Times once observed of the 15-time Grammy winner, he “has not just bridged the generation gap, he had demolished it.”
“NBC’s New Year’s Eve with Carson Daly” is executive-produced by Daly (“Last Call with Carson Daly”) and Stewart Bailey through Universal Television. Guy Oseary (“Last Call with Carson Daly”) is co-executive producer.