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Interview with star Carson Daly and
Executive Producer John Irwin of "New Year's Eve with Carson
Daly" on NBC 12/19/16
NBC UNIVERSAL Moderator: Erika Lewis
December 19, 2016
10:30 am CT
Operator: Ladies and gentlemen thank you
for standing by. Welcome to the NBCís New Yearís Eve with
Carson Daly conference call.
During the presentation
all participants will be in a listen-only mode. Afterwards
we will conduct a question and answer session. At that time
if you have a question, please press the 1 followed by the 4
on your telephone.
If at any time during the
conference you need to reach an operator, please press star
zero. As a reminder, this conference is being recorded
Monday, December 19, 2016. I would now like to turn the
conference over to Erika Lewis from NBC. Please go ahead.
Erika Lewis: Hi, good morning, good afternoon everyone
and thank you for joining todayís call for NBCís New Yearís
Eve with Carson Daly.
We are joined by Mr. Daly and
Executive Producer, John Irwin to take your questions and,
weíre going to get right to it. Please feel free to ask two
questions during your turn and you can rejoin the queue if
you have anything additional. Thanks very much. (Chris),
weíre ready to go.
Operator: Thank you. And ladies
and gentlemen if you would like to register for a question
at this time, please press the 1 followed by the 4 on your
telephones. You will hear a three-toned prompt to
acknowledge your request.
And our first question
comes from the line of Jamie Ruby with SciFiVision.com.
Please proceed with your question.
Jamie Ruby: Hi
guys, thanks for talking to us today. I was wondering if you
could start off just kind of talking about some of the
performances that weíre going to see this year.
Carson Daly: Hey Jamie, thanks for your time today too. We
appreciate it. Weíve got some good ones this year.
You know, Jennifer Lopez was just added which is really
great for us obviously. Sheís got a huge residency in Vegas
so, weíre glad to have Jennifer Lopez doing a special song
And then weíve got Blake Shelton who
continues to just have an incredible year and his star
continues to rise. Alicia Keys, and Pentatonix; itís been
fun to watch their success this year. So those are some of
the artists that youíll see on the special.
co-host is Mel B who you know from the Spice Girls and
whoís, you know, just super fun and, Americaís Got Talent.
So Iím really looking forward to the music and the fun
that night. Thanks Jamie.
Jamie Ruby: Okay cool.
Thanks. And then is there like - I guess not to say a
performance, but something specific that youíre like looking
forward to this year? Like either seeing somebody in
particular or just part of the night?
Jamie Iím so jaded at this point because Iíve just done it
so long. And I mean that in a good sense. Like if I, you
know, if it was something that I wasnít in to I wouldnít
even do it anymore.
But between my time at MTV, when
I got to New York in 1997, you know MTV had these big
blowouts at 1515 Broadway which is like, right there,
So Iíve been at this crossroads of the
world since I think, 19 years or something like that it is.
Fourteen for NBC.
So I mean honestly, the star of the
night really, oddly enough, and look, we do our best to book
great music and have - you know, weíll do what a lot of
these shows do, similar sorts of formats of looking back at
the you know, kind of the trends of the year.
know obviously our main goal has always been trying to
deliver just like the live experience of Times Square to
people at home and put it in their living room.
do my best to kind of, you know, encapsulate the excitement
of the night and just kind of describe what Iím seeing to
people who couldnít be there.
So the star of the
night is the ball. And a million people freezing and
wondering how they all have been standing there for over 12
hours. And where theyíre peeing, if they are at all.
Itís such a bucket list thing that you know, itís hard to
out-book the night, if you will.
Jamie Ruby: Thatís
true. All right, well thank you so much.
You got it. Thanks.
Operator: And ladies and
gentlemen as a reminder if you would like to register for a
question at this time please press the 1 followed by the 4
on your telephones.
Our next question comes from the
line of (Michele Andrew-Miller) with Billboard. Please
Michele Andrew-Miller: Hello Carson, how
Carson Daly: Hey (Michele). Iím well. How
Michele Andrew-Miller: Good to talk to you
today. Itís always so freezing cold in Times Square. What
are your tips for newbies that are coming out? And also,
where is a good place to see your stage? Give people like a
little bit of a hit if theyíre coming in to see the action
Carson Daly: Donít is the hint. Stay home. Stay
home. Be warm. You know I would say, the weather is
definitely a thing. I mean Iíve been out there so many years
and I have to confess, as cold as I look, NBC really only
recently has built in like probably what you see, similar to
some football games where they got some sort of heating
technology on the sidelines. We actually have heaters
underneath so, the stage is actually bearable. Thatís good
for me and not for a million revelers.
You know, I
donít know. I donít know - dress in layers? Does that mean
anything for cold - I mean itís cold. I donít know what this
yearís forecast is. Weíve had unseasonably warm New Yearís
Eve where itís felt like, you know, 45 and balmy and just,
you know, kind of weird.
And weíve had, you know,
weíve had nights where itís been like ten below chill
factor. So you know for people coming I guess I would just
prepare for the worst. Because if you have to take your
parka off, you know, at least youíll be prepared if itís
Weíre sort of in front of the Marriott
Marquis. You know Times Square has changed a lot over the
years. So if you can - you know youíve got to get there
early. So thatís a good tip. Show up early. Bring warm
Weíre on Broadway. Where are we John, 40 -
what is that?
John Irwin: Weíre at like 45th and
Carson Daly: Forty-fifth and Broadway.
Carson Daly: Right, right. And itís a small plot. You
know if you get a spot around there, thatís a good spot,
47th and Broadway. Because you know less than - maybe a
block away is ABC. You know we see Anderson and Kathy like a
half a block away. And itís been fun over the years to see
all the different broadcasts and the different shows.
I mean we really are all covering the same thing so,
thatís a good spot for people if they want to come down.
John Irwin: And Carson the one thing I would add is that
it is a once in a lifetime experience. Itís something you
have to do once. Because to actually be there in person is
truly an experience.
Carson Daly: Yes, thatís true.
Michele Andrew-Miller: I just canít imagine John, what
goes into planning that? When do you start planning New
Yearís Eve? When do you start securing the talent and when
do you start getting that all together? Itís got to be quite
John Irwin: Yes, I mean you know, we usually
start in around September. You know obviously booking the
music is probably kind of the hardest part of the process.
Although itís gotten easier just because the show has sort
of become more kind of like a standard.
And then, you
know, we obviously try to figure out a good little mix of
comedy to work into there so that, you know, thereís some of
And then just logistically, you know thereís
just - itís a couple of months of kind of working through
logistics and all that stuff. But, itís fun.
Michele Andrew-Miller: Well having Alicia and Blake on the - are
they - theyíre going to be in Times Square, right? Right
Carson, theyíre going to be there?
John Irwin: Weíve
got Blake, Alicia, and Pentatonix who are going to be
performing from Los Angeles. And then we have Jennifer Lopez
whoís going to be performing from Las Vegas.
Michele Andrew-Miller: Oh, thatís going to be cool.
Michele Andrew-Miller: So Iím just
trying to think if like when youíre - itís crazy in Times
Square. How they always do the countdown every hour. And
some of that stuff I wish people could see on TV because
itís just insane.
And was it last year Vanilla Ice
was just kind of walking around in the crowd? It was the...
Carson Daly: Yes. Yes, you never know who youíre going
to see. And yes it is. Itís crazy right in Times Square. The
Times Square Alliance actually does a great job of putting
on a party. I mean thereís like a show in and of itself, you
know, around us.
I always try and explain to people
at home, like you have no idea whatís going on here. Because
they do kind of the worldís countdown. Every hour becomes
ringing in somebodyís New Year.
And thereís artists
and people booked there in Times Square. It makes doing
music in Times Square that night a little bit difficult
because again, youíre only dealing with a small postage
stamp of area. And logistically thereís a ton of stuff going
Michele Andrew-Miller: Carson, whatís your
favorite memory? I mean youíve been doing this so long. You
know, what was your wildest New Yearís Eve?
Daly: Honestly, the MTV ones were the craziest because we
had just gotten that property, 1515 Broadway, the typical
kind of TRL windows to the world if you will, kind of look.
You know we had moved from another studio.
And the MO
of MTV in the late 90s, you know Y2K was probably the most
memorable because as you recall, we all thought the world
was just going to stop. And banks were just going to shut
down. And lights were going to go off. Like there was going
to be some sort of global blackout at midnight.
people really bought into that. It was a trendy - there was
a lot of fads about, you know, people sort of liquidating.
And you know that was sort of a weird one.
was just kind of at the height of MTV. And we were really
switching our philosophy to do a lot more live because TRL
was very successful. And so we just decided to throw a party
every year on New Yearís Eve. And when we built the studio,
it was built with that in mind of having like tons of live
TV as we were really doing a lot of reality TV.
so our parties on New Yearís Eve looked really good. And
they were real parties and they were pretty debaucherous as
you can imagine. Many of the artists that were performing
and/or just guests that were in New York became the - like
they wanted to be there. It wasnít just a TV show. It was a
party that they wanted to attend. And that yielded some
pretty crazy stuff.
I remember Marilyn Manson one
year trying to jump through the glass while he was
performing live. He took like three or four legitimate jumps
at that glass, which Iím told was bullet-proof, but Iím not
so sure that was the case.
Gosh, those MTV parties. There was the Snooki ball drop
Carson Daly: Yes, yes those
were after my tenure but yes - Iíve seen those too. New
Yearís Eve is always a fun night. And MTV is a great place
to broadcast, you know, a party because thatís the network
is just - its association with music and youth culture is
just so much fun. I mean we had a lot of fun nights.
At NBC weíve had some great, memorable moments as well. I
remember Alex Rodriguez, when the Yankees were winning a
lot, stopped by unannounced one year and came up on stage.
And that was cool because Iím a Yankees fan.
somebody wasnít. It must have been a Red Sox fan or somebody
in the audience threw something at him while we were live on
TV. And it ended up being like a sandwich in a sandwich bag.
And as I was talking to him I saw it out of the corner
of my eye and I deflected it from hitting the great A. Rod.
So that was always a great moment. I donít know if it ever
made TV. I think it did. But that was a fun memory too.
Michele Andrew-Miller: Got to get you a glove.
Carson Daly: Yes, really. Really.
Operator: Our next
question comes from the line of Krista Chain with The TV
MegaSite. Please go ahead.
Krista Chain: Hi Carson.
How are you today?
Carson Daly: Good, Iím great. How
are you today?
Krista Chain: Iím great. You mentioned
that you had been doing this show for so many years.
Carson Daly: Yes.
How do you keep it fresh each year?
Carson Daly: You
know, I think my - I donít know if thereís really anything I
can do to keep it fresh, you know, to be honest with you.
I mean I think everybody is excited on New Yearís Eve -
for the same reasons. You know whatís fresh about it is just
itís the dawn of a new year. And I feel like weíre all in
that same place where you get fatigued at the end of the
year, especially this year with the political cycle being
what it was.
So you get a night where everybody - you
can almost feel the world just sort of exhaling. And thereís
this dawn of a new day and the idea of 2017.
show like this, a one-off special like this carries its own
very unique; very proprietary fresh feeling because thatís
really the essence of what it is.
You know weíre
watching a ball drop in New York City which is great
symbolism. And itís a longstanding tradition. And our
country is divided and weíve been through a lot this year
but yet here we all are together.
And the ball goes
down and you know, you count backwards and when one comes
itís 2017 and weíre all crossing the finish line together.
And John and I couldnít produce anything that could top
Itís the only night of the year that thatís
really the feeling that we all have. You know we all love to
get great talent. Weíre so happy to have Blake and Alicia
And Iím really excited to work with Mel
B. And I think weíll do a good job of ushering in the New
Year and giving you commentary of what itís like to be there
in Times Square, even if you canít be.
John and I
have talked a lot about keeping those cameras live in Times
Square. So a picture says 1000 words. You can see the people
that have driven there. The military folks that are there.
The families that are there. Itís fun just to people watch.
And I think NBC does a good job of that.
Chain: Right. Well I look forward to seeing it.
Carson Daly: Well thank you. I appreciate it. Thanks very
Operator: Our next question comes from the
Katrina Bartocillo with NBC.com. Please go ahead.
Katrina Bartocillo: I have a question for John.
Katrina Bartocillo: Hi. So I just wanted
to know, what are the challenges of creating a live
production in Times Square, especially on New Yearís Eve?
John Irwin: Well, you know, live always is a challenge
but, itís also the most exciting television you can do.
Because 100% at 11:30, the show is on the air. Do you know
what I mean?
Katrina Bartocillo: Mm-hmm.
Irwin: So I think thereís a huge rush that kind of comes
into putting all that together. And specifically as far as
challenges go, itís - you know itís as Carson kind of said,
itís coordinating with all of the - you know, thereís a lot
of moving parts to whatís happening in Times Square on New
And you know the Times Square Alliance, itís
working with them to kind of coordinate what we need. And
then getting all the music in place and putting all the
blocks together I think is really kind of the challenge -
and look, that goes for any live show.
I think that,
the thing thatís exciting about New Yearís is that you are
also surrounded by a couple of million people. You know and
so itís just an added element of excitement I think.
Katrina Bartocillo: Thanks. And then my second question is
Carson Daly: Yo?
Katrina Bartocillo: Hi. What do you look forward to every year?
Carson Daly: You know itís changed, because Iíve been
there for so long.
John Irwin: I thought it was just
working with me Carson. No?
Carson Daly: Yes, it is
working with you John, for sure. John brings a whole - you
know Iíve done - Iíve seen the show in like so many
different incarnations of production. And itís just been
different almost every year.
But honestly, more
recently, you know my life has been so busy the last couple
of years since The Voice. And Iím back and forth across the
country doing the Today Show and The Voice in L.A. and all
But Iím a father first and foremost.
Being a family man is my most prized possession and itís the
number 1 priority in my life.
So Iíve got three kids
- 2, 4, and 7. And just recently they now come to this
thing. Before they were too little and I didnít want them in
the craziness of Times Square. But now weíve got a system
worked out where they enjoy it.
And the last couple
of years theyíre getting of the age - so bringing my kids up
and letting them be in the center of that with my wife. Kind
of sharing in that moment with my family.
I was single it was like oh, this was the greatest night.
Iím going to go out and party. Obviously, everybody is going
to be out. The celebs and all the beautiful people and itís
going to be an all-nighter and itís going to be great. And
Iíve done that and thatís fun.
Whatís kind of cool
now is Iíve gotten a little bit older in life and I get to -
thereís also been times when Iíve been married and had kids
but I couldnít share with them that night. And itís been not
lonely, but what good is any experience to any of us if
youíre not with the ones you love.
And so now I think
sharing that moment with my wife and my kids, even if they
just come up for a picture or I get to give them a kiss at
midnight or when Iím done, thatís become kind of my new
favorite thing. Itís become like a Daly family tradition.
In fact I didnít even think Iíd been hosting this show
much longer. I mean I need another job like I need a hole in
my head. But itís become a tradition and itís something that
I really enjoy doing and itís important to my family.
Operator: Our next question comes from the line of Anne
Easton with The Observer.com. Please go ahead.
Easton: Hi guys. Thanks for doing this today.
Daly: Sure, hi Anne.
Anne Easton: So this is a live
broadcast and you can prepare and prepare but, something
could go south. How do you handle that? You know, how do you
prep for that and then how do you handle that if it happens?
John Irwin: Well...
Carson Daly: Well John Iíll
start and you can kind of take it. From just my point of
view quickly, is just as the host and as somebody thatís
done - like live is all Iíve ever done, such with my radio
Anything non-live I find very tedious, to be
honest with you. And some of the stuff that we do on The
Voice is non-live and it just takes forever to do. So, Iím a
live guy and I love it.
And when you say south, I
mean it depends on the magnitude of it. My angle is always
to try and turn a potential moment into something that could
be, you know, fun.
For instance on New Yearís Eve in
the past, weíve seen celebrities and people kind of walking
off camera and all, you know, off the cuff. Because we are
live, you know, ask the camera guy hey letís shoot this over
here. And you try and make those moments into good TV moment
and prevent them from going too far south.
Now from a
technical standpoint John, I donít know. If things are going
south we, you know, cut to a rerun of the Tonight Show
John Irwin: I think itís exactly what
Carson just said. You basically turn lemons into lemonade.
And sometimes that spontaneous moment ends up being better
than anything you could have planned for. Now if we have a
technical problem, you just have to react on the fly. You
know it kind of depends on what it is.
fortunately, knock on wood, we really havenít had much of
that happen. So hopefully we donít need to ever worry about
that or, we donít experience that.
Anne Easton: And
you two have been doing this together for a while now. Do
you have a shorthand between you two?
Yes, I think - yes I think we definitely do. I think we
Carson Daly: Yes.
Itís been like four years.
Anne Easton: An example?
John Irwin: I kind of know what Carson needs and likes.
And you know when weíre on the air - the truth is that it
just makes both our lives - I mean speaking for both of us,
I think the whole process makes both our lives a little bit
easier and less time-consuming.
The shorthand you
know, itís that thereís less time trying to figure out how
weíre going to deal with stuff. Because we already know how
weíre going to deal with it when it comes up kind of thing.
Carson Daly: Yes, I agree with that. Weíve come to a
good spot of the tonality of this night, itís usually
something thatís experimented with. You know, should we be
overly funny? Should we do like nothing but music? Should we
do no music? Should we have tons of guests stopping by?
Should we not?
And after years and years of doing it,
I think John and I have come to a good place of balance
between all of those things. And therein lies, you know,
kind of like what I do, I think best is just try and be a
good communicator and a good host and something that plays
traffic cop to a lot of different elements on a live
broadcast scenario. And thatís exactly what this is.
So this sort of feeds into, I think, both of our strengths.
Anne Easton: Great. Thanks so much guys.
Daly: Thank you.
Operator: And there appears to be no
further questions on the phone lines at this time. Iíll turn
the presentation back to you Ms. Lewis.
Hi, thank you so much. Before we wrap up guys, just one
quick question for the both of you.
Erika Lewis: What are you looking forward to
most in 2017? And, do you have a New Yearís resolution?
Carson Daly: I got to get a New Yearís resolution John,
and you should too. Because that is the big question and I
donít have one. Do you have one?
John Irwin: I donít.
I guess that what Iím looking forward to most is getting
past 2016. I can tell you that. I need to work on my
resolutions for Ď17.
Carson Daly: Yes. I donít have
one either but, I second that. I think there will be a big -
probably because of politics. It was so in everybodyís face.
But Iím looking forward to, if I could somehow manage a few
less plane trips in 2017 because I feel like I was on the
road a lot.
And I hate being away from my kids. So if
I could get the live shows - my resolution is to try and get
the live shows for The Voice in New York.
Lewis: Well thank you both for your time today. And thank
you to everyone for your questions.
Erika Lewis: Please donít miss Carson
and co-host, Mel B live from Times Square on December 31.
Carson Daly: Please. Thank you.
Erika Lewis: Have
a wonderful day.
John Irwin: Thanks guys.
Carson Daly: Thanks guys. Thanks John. You were wonderful
John Irwin: Oh, thanks Carson. Talk to you
Carson Daly: Okay. Bye guys.
Ladies and gentlemen that does conclude the conference call
for today. We thank you for your participation and ask that
you please disconnect your lines.
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