Interview with star Carson Daly and Executive Producer John Irwin of "New Year's Eve with Carson Daly" on NBC - Primetime TV Show Articles From The TV MegaSite
 

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By Krista

Carson Daly 

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 for us.

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.

And my 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?

Carson Daly: 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, literally.

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.

But you 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.

And I 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.

Carson Daly: 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 proceed.

Michele Andrew-Miller: Hello Carson, how are you?

Carson Daly: Hey (Michele). Iím well. How are you?

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 live.

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 that cold.

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 clothes.

Weíre on Broadway. Where are we John, 40 - what is that?

John Irwin: Weíre at like 45th and Broadway.

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 a job.

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 that.

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.

John Irwin: Yes.

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 on.

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?

Carson 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.

And 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.

Plus it 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.

And 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.

Michele Andrew-Miller: Gosh, those MTV parties. There was the Snooki ball drop year.
((Crosstalk))

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.

And 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.

Krista Chain: 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.

So a 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 that.

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 Jennifer.

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.

Krista Chain: Right. Well I look forward to seeing it.

Carson Daly: Well thank you. I appreciate it. Thanks very much.

Operator: Our next question comes from the Katrina Bartocillo with NBC.com. Please go ahead.

Katrina Bartocillo: I have a question for John.

John Irwin: Okay.

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.

John 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 Yearís.

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 for Carson.

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 this stuff.

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.

Before when 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.

Anne Easton: Hi guys. Thanks for doing this today.

Carson 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 career.

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 probably.

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.

And 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?

John Irwin: Yes, I think - yes I think we definitely do. I think we definitely do.

Carson Daly: Yes.

John Irwin: 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.

Carson 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.

Erika Lewis: Hi, thank you so much. Before we wrap up guys, just one quick question for the both of you.

Carson Daly: Sure.

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.

Erika Lewis: Well thank you both for your time today. And thank you to everyone for your questions.

Carson Daly: Thanks guys.

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.

John Irwin: Oh, thanks Carson. Talk to you later.

Carson Daly: Okay. Bye guys.

Operator: 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.

END

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