Good news, fellow merrymakers: The lovely and charming Janet Davies, who’s helped Chicagoans ring in every New Year since 1991, will be right where she belongs on WLS-Channel 7 for “Countdown Chicago 2014.”
Word at the ABC-owned station is that Davies again will host the local New Year’s Eve special with longtime partner Mark Giangreco. They’ll be joined by Val Warner and Ryan Chiaverini of “Windy City Live.” Of course four hosts for a one-hour show may be a bit unwieldy, but half the fun of watching the live broadcast is to see what goes wrong.
Plans for the Dec. 31 special are still being finalized, but producers say Hosea Sanders and Ji Suk Yi also are expected to return as contributors.
Davies’ role this year was far from certain after the cancellation in March of “190 North,” the weekly lifestyle and entertainment magazine she’d hosted and produced for 14 years. With her contract up at ABC 7, it was unclear whether she would continue in any capacity at the station, where she’d been a feature reporter and program host since 1984.
Last year’s New Year’s Eve broadcast made its way into more than 600,000 households and onto four out of every 10 TVs in use at the stroke of midnight. It also generated a flurry of activity on Twitter, including these notable tweets:
- Steve Dahl @SteveDahlShow: WLS TV never fails to disappoint and yet entertain with Countdown Chicago
- Matt Wood @woodtang: I love the little Chicago Twitter club that forms every New Year's Eve to mock Mark Giangreco and Janet Davies
- Pat Van De Walle @OakParkVandy: Janet Davies & Mark Giangreco are the best unintentional comedy duo every NYE.
- Kevin Goldstein @Kevin_Goldstein: God I love Janet Davies every NYE on ABC 7. She’s the ultimate Coen Brothers movie morning show host.
- Michael Nagrant @MichaelNagrant: Only 1 min 'til Janet Davies and Mark Giangreco become NYE work spouses while a washed up alternative band from the nineties plays Navy Pier
- Matt Schmitz @matthewjschmitz: ABC-7 Chicago's New Year's countdown clock was brought to us by The Room Place. Nothing says "Par-tayyy" like discounted home furnishings
- Matthew Hessler @MattSTKC: Lets see if ABC 7 can get the countdown right this year. They’ve blown it 2 years straight #NYE
- Tweed Thornton @Tweed_Thornton: ABC 7 Chicago New Year's celebration is such a delightful free-spirited mess. No one does these kind of celebrations like them in Chicago.
- Alex Quigley @alexquigley: Giangreco and Davies seem to be even *more* "happy" than usual this year. Just turn on ABC7 if you're at home. Holy hell.
- Eric Rabbers @ERuns: Janet Davies just admitted she doesn’t get bombed on the air anymore.
- Janet Dahl @jntplnt: Time stands still on Janet Davies' face, but after Kathy Griffin on #cnnnye it is like watching your aunt try to be hip. And fail.
- Kevin Pang @kevinthepang: Janet Davies is dropping something at midnight and it's not your first 10 guesses
- Erin J. Shea @erinjshea: Hosea and Ji are our new NYE power couple. #ABC7
- David @lowrentkicker: I think Hosea and Ji are the new awkward couple for ABC 7. Those shirt cuffs alone are the new hotness.
- Scott Smith @ourmaninchicago: I want an entire suit made from whatever material Hosea Sanders's cuffs are made from.
- Rob Hart @RobHart1980: Yes the Ch. 7 NYE show is corny. But it's our corny NYE show, and that makes it OK.
- Scott Smith @ourmaninchicago: Every year ABC7 answers the question "What if your parents hosted a local New Year's Eve special?"
- JustinKaufmann @JustinKaufmann: soooooo good. Best nye show ever. it's the only tradition in Chi that I stay up for. Hope it never goes away.
- Scott Smith @ourmaninchicago: I would weep if it did.
- Chicagoist.com @Chicagoist: Janet Davies and Mark Giangreco were on their best behavior last night. Oh, well. We'll always have last year.