New Year’s Eve: TV highlights

Your guide to celebrations, nostalgia, music and news specials this New Year's Eve.

ABC is again screening New Year’s Eve celebrations from Sydney this Friday night with 9pm & midnight fireworks and a concert of Aussie favourites.

Nine screens Melbourne’s party to viewers in Victoria.

There are also 2021 news specials, music specials, movie nostalgia and SBS annual treat Dinner for One.

Here’s a selection of highlights for your consideration.

Stay safe!


7:30pm The Yearly With Charlie Pickering 2021 rpt

8:30pm The Early Night Show (also ABC ME)
Hosted by Hunter Page-Lochard and Chenelle Carr (The Wonder Gang) culminating in a special 9pm fireworks and Welcome to Country.

9pm 9pm Fireworks (also ABC ME / ABC News)

9:15pm Concert
From 9:15pm the perfect soundtrack for your New Year’s Eve begins.  As part of the festivities, we’ll say thank you to our frontline workers, and bid two Australian icons, The Sydney Harbour Bridge and the ABC, a happy 90th birthday. Broadcasting live from the stunning location of the Sydney Opera House, the all-star line-up includes Tina Arena, Missy Higgins, Casey Donovan, hip hop sensation Genesis Owusu, Budjerah, Gordi, Tyne James Organ, breakthrough electronic music duo Shouse, as well as country music favourites Beccy Cole and Adam Harvey.

11:45pm Countdown To Midnight
12am Midnight Fireworks
At midnight, and in collaboration with the City of Sydney, the night sky will light up with a live firework display as we say a final goodbye to 2021.

12:17am Rage New Year’s Special


8:45pm Movie: St. Elmo’s Fire rpt

ABC News

7:30pm The World in 2021


7pm Big Bash League
11pm Movie: The Full Monty rpt


8:30pm Movie: Dirty Dancing rpt
10:40pm Movie: Can’t Stop The Music rpt

10:30pm Kath & Kim rpt
11pm City Of Melbourne: New Year’s Eve 2021
Melbourne’s biggest New Year’s Eve party will be on Channel 9 and 9Now, when the city counts down to 2022 with Australia’s largest ever drone show and a star-studded guest lineup. Count down to the midnight fireworks display from 11.00pm Friday, December 31, with hosts Catriona Rowntree and Clint Stanaway giving viewers the best seat in town at the City of Melbourne’s New Year’s Eve 2021 celebrations. Aussie comedy troupe Sooshi Mango will join Australian electronic music duo Shouse for a night of performances and laughs as Melbourne news legend Peter Hitchener takes a look back on the best and worst of 2021. Roving reporters Seb Costello, Allan Raskall and Madeline Slattery will be on the ground at the city’s celebration zones in Docklands, Flagstaff Gardens, Alexandra Gardens and Treasury Gardens – giving viewers a front-row ticket to Melbourne’s biggest party.
12:07am Movie: Can’t Stop The Music rpt


8:30pm Movie: Ben Hur rpt


6:30pm The Project
8:30pm The Graham Norton Show rpt
12am The Late Show With Stephen Colbert

10 Shake

11:30pm The Late Late Show With James Corden


6:10pm Dinner for One rpt
7:35pm Greatest Hits Of The 80s dbl
The stories behind 12 iconic songs from the decade, examining George Michael’s Careless Whisper, Ultravox’s Vienna, Culture Club’s Do You Really Want to Hurt Me, Sade’s Smooth Operator, Eurythmics’ Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) and 1999, which was released by Prince in 1982. Contributors include Midge Ure, Shirlie Kemp, Steve Levine, Paul Morley, Malcolm Gerrie, David Grant and Katie Puckrik.
9:25pm Movie: The Blues Brothers rpt
11:50pm 8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown rpt
12:45am The Big Fat Quiz Of Everything rpt


10:15pm The Big Fat Quiz Of Everything rpt


7:30pm Little J & Big Cuz
7:45pm Movie: Hunt for the Wilderpeople rpt

FOX Docos

7:30pm Robin Williams Remembered rpt
8:30pm Aretha Franklin rpt
9:30pm An Audience with Diana Ross rpt
10:30pm The Who: Live at Kilburn 1977 rpt
11:39pm Coldplay: Live in Sao Paolo rpt

BBC World News

9:30pm Mel Brooks: Who Dares Wins rpt
11:30pm Review 2021


7:30pm Defining Moments


24 Responses

  1. does anyone know why Can’t Stop the Music has become NYE tradition?? it reminds me of how on Federal Election night there was a tradition of showing the old movie ‘the Dirty Dozen’ before every channel started doing extensive election coverage (possibly on 9, i can’t remember now.) But that one seems an obvious connection lol

  2. There was meant to be a drone show in Melbourne in addition to the fireworks, but the drones had been cancelled due to COVID-19 (as well as other factors like bringing in the drones as well as the lack of time for training for the drones). Fireworks are going ahead in Melbourne though, but I think it may be an eleventh-hour thing if its cancelled altogether, especially after more than 5000 new cases today here in Victoria. It will most likely be touch-and-go in Sydney (more than 11000 cases today in New South Wales) as well if the fireworks will go ahead (preparations has already started in both cities).

  3. It’s a shame that the networks don’t do the year in review shows anymore i used to like watching that and good to see that nine is keeping the tradition of showing can’t stop the music I don’t watch it though

    1. i miss those too, yes some have, but going back a decade & all through before 2000 pretty sure they all showed them, usually an hour special too not just a segment. And ones from the US, NBC etc.

  4. The one I will be watching the most and I was surprised when I first heard this is City Of Melbourne: New Year’s Eve 2021 on channel Nine Melbourne and David I’m not sure if you answer this question do you how many years that channel nine Melbourne will have new year’s eve Fireworks?

    1. I reasonably certain this is the 1st year that Nine is broadcasting the Melbourne fireworks …. Seven was the broadcaster in past years.

      Nine used to broadcast the Sydney fireworks but gave that up a few years ago, with the Sydney broadcast going back to the ABC.

  5. Thanks for the handy summary, David.
    Apart from Nine in Melbourne, only the ABC is doing a live NYE event.
    I guess that’s cost saving by networks with most people watching streamed movies each evening these days.

  6. Good to see Channel 9 keeping the New Years Eve tradition alive showing Can’t Stop the Music again! It will be a sad day when they stop showing it – it always ends up being left on in my household. Strangely addictive viewing!

    1. agreed, heaps better than some boring fireworks coverage on the commercial networks of previous years, complete with loads of ads. It was more like a segment of ads interrupted by fireworks, and hosted by some Z grade commentators hardly anyone’s heard of.

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