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Five New Year's Eve shows to watch (and not a Ryan Seacrest in sight)

It's true: There’s more to New Year’s Eve than Ryan Seacrest. Andrew Ryan counts down five of your best bets for NYE viewing

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Air Farce New Year’s Eve 2013 (CBC, 8 p.m.) For those viewers who can’t stay up to midnight, the Air Farce returns with its annual New Year’s special. As in years past, the format features Farce mainstays Don Ferguson, Luba Goy and the rest of the crew taking a skewed look back at the past year’s biggest news stories (we’re looking at you, Rob Ford). Special guests include Canadian tennis ace Milos Raonic, singer Serena Ryder and Steve Smith – back in plaid as Red Green.


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New Year’s Eve Live with Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin (CNN, 9 p.m.) Back together for the seventh straight year, Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin have become the New Year’s program of choice for viewers who couldn’t care less about watching pop stars in parkas. As with the other shows, the pair ring in the New Year from Times Square in New York and there’s always a giddy nervous tension to their countdown coverage. After Griffin let an expletive slip in 2009, CNN said it would ban her for life if she ever did it again. She’s due.

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ET Canada’s New Year’s Eve at Niagara Falls (Global, 10 p.m.) Nothing says Canadian New Year’s Eve like a big free concert in frigid weather, eh? ET Canada personalities Cheryl Hickey and Rick Campanelli host the annual hoedown at Queen Victoria Park in Niagara Falls, Ont., where an estimated 20,000 revellers are expected to show up. Talent lineup includes Sam Roberts, Serena Ryder and Demi Lovato, who is probably shopping for a new agent after this gig. The big draw is a performance by Canadian chanteuse Celine Dion – appearing in a videotaped segment from her current engagement in Las Vegas. Mon Dieu!

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George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight New Year’s Eve Special (CBC, 11:30 p.m.) How’s this for a uniquely Canadian send-off? CBC fixture George Stroumboulopoulos travels to Winston-Salem in North Carolina to conduct an exclusive interview with American poet Maya Angelou, who will offer her words of inspiration and hope for the year ahead. For Canadian-content purposes, the show will also include clips of a Strombo interview with hockey legend Bobby Orr.

Della Rollins/The Globe and Mail

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New Year’s Eve with Carson Daly (NBC, 10 p.m.) You didn’t think NBC kept Carson Daly around just to host The Voice, did you? This year, the one-dimensional TV presenter is teamed with imposing Glee star Jane Lynch to host the annual countdown from Times Square. Confirmed performers include Mariah Carey and Blake Shelton, who will undoubtedly engage in plenty of good ol’ boy banter with his Voice buddy Carson. Ah, synergy.

Jeff Christensen/The Associated Press

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