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Focus : Midnight Express : A GUIDE TO NEW YEAR'S EVE PROGRAMMING

December 31, 1995|BETH KLEID

New Year's Eve staples: noisemakers, bubbly, a midnight kiss ... and the television set.

But the TV offers more than the traditional Times Square countdown to midnight (see the following page for that). If one of your New Year's resolutions is to ease up tube-viewing hours, make sure you don't start it until New Year's Day. You wouldn't want to miss out on some of the shows ringing in 1996. (And if you need a little help with that kiss, cable's Independent Film Channel offers the amusing animated short "How to Kiss" as part of its New Year's Eve marathon.)

So pop open the bubbly and hold onto the remote.

CARTOON NETWORK

"New Year's Eve Countdown": A cartoon marathon featuring all 18 of Hanna-Barbera's World Premiere Toons, the network's original animated shorts. Watch for "Dexter's Laboratory," "The Powerpuff Girls" and "George and Junior." The newest World Premiere Toon, "Boid 'N' Woim" by C. Miles Thompson, will be unearthed at midnight. 9 p.m.-midnight.

"Toonapalooza New Year's Eve Dance Party": An extravaganza of musical cartoons. 12:15 a.m.

CBS

"Happy New Year, America--1996": Montel Williams hosts this musical special from the House of Blues in Los Angeles. Performances by Little Richard, Pam Tillis, All-4-One and Collin Raye. New York-based hosts Louis Mandylor and Paige Turco will be on hand for the Times Square countdown. 11:35 p.m.

COMEDY CENTRAL

"Comics Come Home": Denis Leary hosts the stand-up special taped in Boston with performances by comics Steven Wright, Jon Stewart, Marc Maron and Laura Kightlinger. The event is a benefit for Cam Neely's Boston-based charity, the Neely House Foundation, which helps families of patients undergoing cancer treatment. Midnight.

DISCOVERY CHANNEL

"Croc Rock": Rock around the croc with a marathon of shows about crocodiles. 7 p.m.-3 a.m.

E!

"Cream of Talk Soup": A special highlighting the wildest talk-show clips from 1995, with host John Henson. 6 a.m., 9 a.m., 3 p.m., 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.

"E! News Year in Review": A look back at the top entertainment stories of 1995. 6 p.m.

FOX

"New Year's in Vegas": A New Year's celebration live from Ceasar's Palace. Guests Penn & Teller, Daisy Fuentes and "Beverly Hills, 90210" star Ian Ziering. 11 p.m.

HBO

"20 Years of Comedy on HBO": A retrospective of memorable moments from HBO comedy specials. Comic riffs from Robin Williams, Jay Leno, Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg. 10:30 p.m.

"Russell Simmons' Def Comedy Jam": Back-to-back episodes of the series with young African-Amerian comics. Midnight.

HISTORY CHANNEL

"Year by Year Marathon": A 16-hour marathon of the network's daily newsreel series; host Karen Stone. The marathon starts with 1936, when the New Deal began to work, and ends with 1967's fatal Apollo spacecraft fire. 5 a.m.-9 p.m.

INDEPENDENT FILM CHANNEL

Animated Short Film Marathon: A showcase of shorts featuring the work of animator Bill Plympton begins with "Nose Hair" and includes "How to Kiss." 9 p.m.

KCAL

"The Year in Review: The Images of '95": A look back at the events that shaped the year, 10 p.m.

"New Year's Live": From nine entertainment sites around the United States, including one in Los Angeles, 11 p.m.

KCOP

"New Year's Eve Coast-to-Coast from Universal Studios:" A New Year's bash from Universal Studios in Los Angeles and Orlando, Fla. Music from Boyz II Men, Emmylou Harris, Brownstone, Seven Mary Three and D'Angelo. "Extra's" Arthel Neville, comedian Margaret Cho and "General Hospital's" Vanessa Marcil also appear. 11:30 p.m.

NBC

"Friday Night's New Year's Eve": Sure, it's a Sunday night, but Henry Cho and Rita Sever of NBC's "Friday Night" music video show will ring in the new year "Friday Night" style. Late-night talk show hosts Jay Leno, Conan O'Brien and Greg Kinnear offer some New Year's wishes. 11:30 p.m.

NICKELODEON

"Nickelodeon's Third Annual New Year's Eve Celebration": A New Year's marathon for kids featuring Nickelodeon favorites and ending with "Weinerville New Year's Special." 8 p.m.-midnight

SCI-FI

"The Twilight Zone" Marathon: No, you haven't had too much champagne--it's just the network's run of episodes from the classic TV series. 4 p.m. Sunday to 4:30 p.m. Monday

TURNER CLASSIC MOVIES

"New Year's Eve with Oscar": A film marathon featuring Oscar-winning and nominated films. Kick off with "Swing Time," the 1936 musical starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers (won best song for "The Way You Look Tonight") at 7 p.m. Next is "My Favorite Year," the 1982 Peter O'Toole flick that got him a best actor nomination, at 9 p.m. At 11 p.m. is "Top Hat," the 1935 Astaire-Rogers film nominated for best song ("Cheek to Cheek") and best picture. "Victor/Victoria," starring Julie Andrews, airs at 1 a.m.

WB

"The WB New Year's Eve Bash With the Animaniacs": The WB Network altered the "world order of time" so kids can celebrate 1996 before bedtime with the help of hosts Tia and Tamera Mowry of "Sister, Sister," Will Estes of "Kirk" and animated characters Yakko and Wakko. The evening of WB shows also features sneak peeks of 1996 episodes of "Steven Spielberg Presents Animaniacs" and "Steven Spielberg Presents Freakazoid!" and a countdown by cartoon characters and real-life celebrities. 7-10 p.m.

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