ABC 2000 Today

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ABC 2000 Today
ABC2000.png
Format millennium television news special
Presented by Peter Jennings
Country of origin United States
Production
Location(s) Times Square Studios, Manhattan, New York (Primary)
Running time 23 hours 10 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel ABC
Original run December 31, 1999 – January 1, 2000

ABC 2000 Today is ABC News's coverage of New Year's Eves around the world (from December 31, 1999 into January 1, 2000). Part of the 2000 Today programming in the United States, Peter Jennings anchored the 23 hours and 10 minutes of broadcast in Times Square Studios in Manhattan, New York. ABC temporarily converted the Good Morning America marquee broadcast studio into a type of "millennium command center" that included a desk, where a standing Jennings spent most of his time, two lounge chairs, where Jennings would interview guests, a large screen with a time-zone included map of the world, a wall of clocks, and a makeshift newsroom where ABC News staffers would follow the latest developments.

Correspondents and guests[edit]

Jack Ford was stationed in Times Square throughout the broadcast, and was also joined by entertainer Dick Clark (the creator and host of his namesake New Year's Rockin' Eve, which did not air due to ABC 2000) as a correspondent to conduct his traditional countdown. Other correspondents were Charles Gibson in London, Diane Sawyer in New York, Barbara Walters in Paris, Sam Donaldson at the Y2K Command Center in Washington, Connie Chung in Las Vegas, Deborah Roberts at Walt Disney World, Morton Dean in Moscow, and literally hundreds of others at ABC News, technicians and newsmen, who worked throughout the day to bring the broadcast. Those hundreds of others included ABC News personalities stationed around the world to cover the new year in every time zone, including Elizabeth Vargas in Sydney, Australia, Cokie Roberts at the Vatican, with her mother, the then U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican, Carole Simpson in Chicago, and Bob Brown, who narrated many segments consolidating the day's events.

ABC had a total of more than 1,000 members of their news division part of the broadcast. They were all under the direction of ABC's Roger Goodman.[1]

Guests included famed Australian comedian Dame Edna, David Blane, and comedian Al Franken. Musical performances included the Bee Gees, Neil Diamond, Faith Hill, Enrique Iglesias, Kenny G, Charlotte Church, Billy Joel, Barry Manilow, Bonnie Raitt, *NSYNC, James Taylor, Christina Aguilera (who performed at the MTV studios across the street), Aerosmith, and Phish. Phish's appearance was live via satellite from their Big Cypress festival, performing their song "Heavy Things". The only affiliate that did not carry the event was WRIC-TV in Richmond, Virginia.

Broadcast highlights[edit]

An ABC News installation at Times Square.

Originally, the name of the broadcast was ABC 2000, but it was officially retitled as ABC 2000 Today because ABC joined 60 other nations, all celebrating the dawn of the new millennium. The network was part of the 2000 Today consortium that included PBS, the BBC, ABC in Australia, TV Asahi in Japan, GMA Network in the Philippines, RTL in Germany, and the CBC in Canada.

This was by far the most comprehensive coverage of any of the broadcast networks. In fact, this was the most ambitious live television broadcast ever in the United States. By contrast, CBS had hourly updates throughout the day with Dan Rather, a special 8 pm edition of the Late Show with David Letterman and from 10pm-1am, Will Smith hosted America's Millennium. Dan Rather reported live from Times Square during those hours, with additional coverage from Washington, DC. It was the only time since 1996 that CBS has offered live New Year coverage. NBC had an extended edition of The Today Show, Dateline NBC at 8 pm, Tom Brokaw and Katie Couric anchored NBC's Millennium Coverage starting at 9 pm and lasting until 3 am and encompassing a special edition of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, who took part in the millennium celebrations in Los Angeles.

Peter Jennings stayed on the air for the entire duration without a break using only commercial breaks and correspondent pieces to rest, eat, or change suits. He changed his wardrobe four times, including wearing a tuxedo when the ball was dropping at Times Square, and a sweater at the end of the ABC 2000 Today broadcast.

At least 175 million Americans tuned into some portion of ABC 2000 Today. The broadcast won a Peabody Award.[2]

The theme music for ABC 2000 Today (which was also used for ABC News' election coverage that year) was from Epcot's IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth live show. The music was composed by Gavin Greenaway, who won an Emmy award for the work.

Follow-up[edit]

ABC News also used Times Square Studios for ABC News's 2000 election coverage ABC 2000: The Vote, with the studio set up very similar to the ABC 2000 Today studio set up, except the large screen was used to show the map of the United States with all the red and blue states.[citation needed]

ABC 2000 Today was succeeded by the three and a half hour special ABC 2002 on December 31, 2001, which was also hosted by Peter Jennings at the Rose Center for Earth and Space in the American Museum of Natural History.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Veteran ABC News Director Roger Goodman to Receive Lifetime Achievement Award". ABC News. December 8, 2009. Retrieved December 31, 2009. 
  2. ^ "Peabody Winners Include 2 New Series". The New York Times. April 3, 2000. Retrieved December 31, 2009. 

External links[edit]