New Year’s Rockin’ Eve is primarily broadcast from Times Square in New York City, providing coverage of the New Year’s Eve festivities held there, and culminating with the long-running ball drop approaching midnight. The lead-up to the program features performances by popular musicians; some of these performances (particularly headlining acts) originate live from a stage in Times Square, but the majority of the performances are presented via pre-recorded segments (branded since the 2014–15 edition as the “Billboard Hollywood Party”, co-branded with co-owned music magazine Billboard) from Los Angeles.
Prior to the premiere of New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, the most well-known New Year’s Eve program was the annual big band remote of bandleader Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians, broadcast from the ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Guy Lombardo hosted 48 straight New Year’s Eve broadcasts on CBS until his death in 1977.
At the time, Dick Clark was well known as the host of American Bandstand, a music program produced from the studios of Philadelphia television station WFIL-TV (now WPVI-TV) and broadcast by ABC (which itself aired a New Year’s Eve special on December 31, 1959).
In the 1970s, Clark felt that Guy Lombardo’s New Year’s specials were outdated and did not appeal well to younger viewers; he believed that only older viewers would be interested in big band music accompanied by “people dancing cheek-to-jowl in their tuxedos and funny hats”. In response, he decided to produce a more youthful New Year’s Eve special of his own to compete. Clark’s new program would be known as New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, a name chosen to signify the major contrast between his special and the more formal atmosphere of Guy Lombardo’s special.
The first edition, Three Dog Night’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, was aired by NBC on December 31, 1972, and was hosted by the members of the rock band Three Dog Night. The special featured pre-recorded musical performances from the ballroom of the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California by Helen Reddy, Billy Preston, and Three Dog Night. Clark served as a reporter from Times Square for live coverage of the ball drop and arrival of 1973.
New Year’s Rockin’ Eve grew in popularity and became ingrained in pop culture—prompting Clark himself to make appearances on other programs in parodies of his role. New Year’s Rockin’ Eve has consistently remained the highest-rated New Year’s Eve special broadcast by the United States’ major television networks; its 2012 edition peaked at 22.6 million home viewers—not including viewers watching from public locations, which were not measured by Nielsen at the time.
According to en.wikipedia.org. Source of photos: internet