If you're not planning to ring out the old at the Inner Harbor watching the annual fireworks, or otherwise are not partying out, here are some highlights of the celebration on the airwaves:
BIG BALL IN THE BIG APPLE -- A New Year's Eve tradition in New York almost died this year, until comedian Jackie Mason reportedly donated the funds to pay for the ritual descent of the big ball at Times Square at midnight. And coverage of that scene is a part of all three network bashes tonight, all beginning at 11:30. On ABC, the annual "New Year's Rockin' Eve '91" features Dick Clark at Times Square and Jack Wagner and Nina Blackwood at a Hollywood party featuring the Beach Boys, the O'Jays, Sweet Sensation, the Kentucky Headhunters and Bell Biv DeVoe. On CBS' "Happy New Year America, 1991," Terry Bradshaw is at Times Square while Melissa Manchester is at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, hosting Kid Creole and the Coconuts, Eddie Rabbitt, Lorrie Morgan and James Ingram. And on NBC, surrogate "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno mans the desk, with cuts to New York and guests including Jane Pauley, B.B. King and Dwight Yoakam.
THE CABLE CONNECTION -- The MTV rock video channel's annual "New Year's Eve World Party" is certainly the most far-flung. Beginning at 11:30, it includes Bon Jovi and Skid Row from the Tokyo Dome, Wilson Phillips, Cinderella, The Black Crowes and Vanilla Ice from The Ritz in New York, and the Scorpions performing from the Deutschland Halle in Berlin. Pauly Shore, Martha Quinn and "Downtown" Julie Brown are the hosts. Over on Nick at Nite, deejay Casey Kasem is doing a countdown, but not of hit songs for a change. Instead, he's marking the top 25 TV series ever, and beginning at 11:30 a.m. today episodes of such nominees as "My Three Sons, "Make Room for Daddy" and "Dobie Gillis" will be running non-stop until 11:30 p.m. And at midnight, Nick at Nite is showing the "Brady Bunch Variety Hour," the 1977 pilot for the series, in a special hosted by Tony Randall and Donny and Marie Osmond.