- The Washington Times - Monday, January 5, 2009

Clark’s mixed victory

Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest” on ABC continued to rule as the most-watched New Year’s Eve countdown special, MediaWeek.com reports.

This is the third consecutive year, however, that Mr. Clark’s rating has declined in the overnights.

It would be premature to conclude that Mr. Clark’s show lost viewers this year compared to his primary competitor, NBC’s “New Year’s Eve With Carson Daly.” Mr. Daly’s program held steady the past few years, then ticked up a tenth this round.

However, these are local-market averages for a live event, and the numbers likely will shift when the national tally is released this week, MediaWeek notes.

If the numbers hold steady, this will be the lowest rating for a “Rockin’ Eve” since at least 2000. The show’s lowest all-time number was in 2004, when Regis Philbin stepped in after Mr. Clark suffered a stroke.

In 2005, Mr. Clark returned to the program, and Mr. Seacrest was added to the ticket. All told, Mr. Clark has hosted 36 of the show’s 37 telecasts.

Though some viewers find Mr. Clark’s physical condition a grim reminder of mortality during what’s supposed to be a hopeful calendar-turning event, the show’s steep ratings plunge when Mr. Philbin hosted.

The show’s relative recovery in 2005 suggest viewers prefer Mr. Clark on the show. The “Rockin’ Eve” downward trend also started before Mr. Clark’s stroke, with declines posted during each of the first few years of the decade, MediaWeek says.

On tap tonight…

True Beauty (10 p.m., ABC) - This new reality show aims to judge six women and four men living in a Los Angeles mansion on their inner beauty rather than looks or talent. We’ll see. Vanessa Minnillo hosts; Ashton Kutcher and Tyra Banks are the executive producers.

• Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from staff, Web and wire reports

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