New Year's TV 2014: The 6 Best Specials to Watch on December 31

One would think that opting to stay in on New Year's Eve would eliminate some of the pressure of trying to figure out how to spend the night, but the reality is actually quite the contrary: Sure, you can decide what comfy sweats to wear or what bottle of wine to open, but what about what to watch on TV? It's an important decision, probably the most important one there is. Not only will it act as background noise while you try to choose between ordering greasy Chinese food or starting the new year off right by ordering something healthy, but it will also determine exactly how you're going to watch that infamous ball drop over Times Square in NYC. Will it be with Ryan Seacrest, with Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin, with Mayor Bloomberg and Lady Gaga — the choices are seemingly endless!

Luckily for you all, we here at Bustle have got your back: In the interest of simplifying all of your programming choices to help you make a quick, informed decision as this New Year's Eve approaches so you can spend more time working on your night cheese (just as Liz Lemon intended, of course), here's a list of what TV specials will be airing to ring in the new year.

ABC

Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve With Ryan Seacrest

When it comes to New Year's Eve programming, no television special is more well-known than ABC's annual Rockin' Eve celebration. None, also, are as long as it either: According to recent press releases, the night will kick off at 8 p.m. on the network, a full four hours before midnight. What will the network be filling all that time with? Apparently, the first two hours will belong to New Year’s Rockin’ Eve Presents The 30 Greatest Women In Music, a special which will countdown the — you guessed it — 30 greatest women in music, complete with clips and exclusive interviews. Then, at 10 p.m., the network will switch over to a live-feed from Times Square in NYC, for Dick Clark’s Primetime New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2014. This, reportedly, will be hosted by Ryan Seacrest and include performances from Robin Thicke, Jennifer Hudson, Jason Derulo, Fall Out Boy, and Enrique Iglesias, before the countdown to midnight begins at 11:59 p.m. Once again, Jenny McCarthy is returning to co-host the special with Seacrest, and Fergie will host the west coast portion of the show. After midnight, the show will continue with performances until 2:12 a.m. eastern time.

NBC

New Year’s Eve With Carson Daly

If you've got something against Ryan Seacrest, no worries: There is an alternative on NBC in the form of New Year's Eve With Carson Daly, which is similar in format to ABC's Rockin' Eve, only without, well, Ryan Seacrest. It's also much shorter than Rockin' Eve: Daly's special will begin airing at 10 p.m. on NBC, during which time there will be performances and interviews with various celebrities, as well as a musical retrospective outlining the most popular performances in music during the year 2013. The second half of the special will begin at 11:35 p.m., and feature the ball drop — which, for the record, featured Mayor Bloomberg and Lady Gaga dancing and kissing in 2011, so have fun getting that image out of your head.

Fox

New Year's Eve Live!

For those of you who hate both Carson Daly and Ryan Seacrest... well, first of all, aren't you picky? Second of all: You're in luck, because Fox is airing their very own New Year's Eve special as well. This will be more of the same: A variety of performances from the biggest names in music this year, celebrity interviews, and, of course, a live shot of the ball dropping over Times Square in NYC at midnight. Unlike the previous two options, however, this special will actually begin at 11 p.m., and run until 12:30 a.m., at which point the network will switch over to a local news segment — probably about the post-celebration Times Square clean-up.

CNN

New Year's Eve Live with Anderson Cooper and Special Co-Host Kathy Griffin

If you're someone who prefers watching cable channels over network to ring in New Year's Eve, perhaps CNN's Anderson Cooper/Kathy Griffin-hosted special will be the one for you. Unlike the specials you'll find on ABC, NBC, and Fox, this one will mostly feature co-hosts Griffin and Cooper bantering, with special correspondents calling in or popping by to talk with them about a variety of subjects. For instance, in 2011, Cher called it at one point; in 2012, they spoke to Kelly Ripa. Kathy Griffin also has a tendency to do insanely weird stuff as the night goes on, if previous shows are any indication. Case-in-point...

...in 2011, this happened:

...and in 2012, this happened:

(Spoiler alert: He didn't.)

So, it's probably going to be an eventful night. Oh, that crazy Kathy. Ack!

Fox News

All American-New Year

Fox News. Fox... News. Fox News. What is there to say about Fox News? A lot; but in the interest of keeping this post clear of well-meaning jabs towards America's most controversial news network — it is, after all, New Year's Eve, and a time of celebration! — I'll just stick to a rundown of what you can expect from this show. It'll be hosted by regular Fox News fixtures Bill Hemmer and Elisabeth Hasselbeck, and will feature live music performances from a variety of musicians and celebrities. Just like the rest of the specials, it will feature a livefeed of the Times Square ball drop, so no worries about missing that if you get too distracted by how Fox News anchors seem to have strangely perfect hair... all the time.

MTV

MTV New Year's Eve

Last but not least — for those of you who love a good party, or just want to see if Miley Cyrus will show up to twerk her lil' heart out just as the clock strikes midnight, tune into MTV's yearly New Year's Eve bash to find out. As always, the festivities will take place in Times Square, NYC, and feature a dance party complete with performances from a bunch of artists who topped the charts in 2013. Consider this your "hip" option, if you want to fit in with all the cool kids who don't even remember who Dick Clark of Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve With Ryan Seacrest is.

And that just about wraps it up. Hopefully, you've now able to decide on a special with the confidence that you're making the wisest, most well-informed decision possible — if not, sorry, we're all in the same boat here. Whatever you do, just remember to drink up, and have a Happy New Year!