Fox and ABC Tangle Again In Vengeance-Filled Fight Over New Year's Eve

While most TV news of the last two weeks has revolved around the new world of TV programs on cell phones, on-demand, and on your iPod, it's nice to see TV business executive coming back to doing what they know best: revenge.

Three months after ABC signed Fox's Ryan Seacrest to host its New Year's Eve show, Fox this week signed ABC's Regis Philbin to host its new New Year's Eve show.

Dick Clark, who has been the brand name behind "New Year's Rockin' Eve," is still recovering from a stroke, and is scheduled to appear with Seacrest this year. But Seacrest has bigger plans, and the deal would have him take over as solo host. Last year Philbin filled in for Clark on Dec. 31.

Of course, Fox and ABC have a significant history of backbiting when it comes to new programming. When ABC announced that "Wife Swap" would join its prime-time lineup, Fox quickly put together the similar "Trading Spouses" and got it on the air first. After ABC had sealed a deal to broadcast the reality series "Supernanny," Fox then picked up U.S rights from Granada TV's "Nanny 911," and got on the air first. And just for good measure--to show that no networks are out of bounds--when NBC announced its reality boxing series "The Contender," Fox went on the fast track in getting "The Next Great Champ" on the air first.



Fox can't be happy that its prime, prime-time talent, Ryan Seacrest, from its No. 1 show, "American Idol," has moved across town--especially for a music-focused TV show like "New Year's Rockin' Eve." No disrespect to Philbin, but he doesn't really talk to all the younger Fox viewers.

ABC, however, looks to the future in building on the long-time entrenched Dick Clark-produced "New Year's Rockin' Eve" brand Now all the up-and-coming ABC needs to do is start its own regular prime-time music show contest to compete with "Idol"--which, in turn, will get silly when Fox looks to steal that idea.

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