Your Ryan Vs. Carson Guide, New Year's Eve 2014

By Stacy Jenel Smith

December 31, 2013 7 min read

It's New Year's Eve, and we're just sure you're doing something far more important than preparing snacks for your party or contemplating your life goals for 2014. Yes, now is the time you'll have to decide whether to ring in the New Year with Ryan Seacrest on ABC or with Carson Daly on NBC.

In but a twinkling, it is obvious that "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest" has more juice — including live performances by her hotness Miley Cyrus, Melissa Etheridge, Billy Joel, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Robin Thicke, Jennifer Hudson, Icona Pop, Daughtry, Enrique Iglesias, Blondie, Fall Out Boy and more. Last year's show scored its highest ratings in 11 years: 22.2 million total viewers, 9.7 million of whom are in the 18-49 demographic.

NBC's "New Year's Eve With Carson Daly" will have the "The Voice" host live from NYC's Times Square also — with his hugely-popular "Voice" confrere Blake Shelton, "Voice" winner Tessane Chin, Jane Lynch and Mariah Carey (the latter fresh from talking about her stint on "American Idol" as being like "working in hell with Satan"). Last year's show boasted its best ratings in three years.

The end result was a 4.9 rating for Carson, a 10.6 for Ryan.

The head-to-head competition between Seacrest and Daly won't be over Jan. 1, of course. The two hosts, who rose to fame each proclaiming that he wanted to be the next Dick Clark, also square off daily with morning radio shows. Seacrest's L.A. show on KIIS is No. 1 and Daly's AMP Radio show has moved up from No. 8 to No. 3 since debuting in 2010. Then, of course, there are their dueling talent competitions — "American Idol" versus "The Voice." "American Idol" has its Season 13 premiere Jan. 15. "The Voice's" Season 6 begins Feb. 24. Seacrest is on top, but Daly has momentum, as "Idol" has been losing viewers for several years running. Maybe this year, with Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr. instead of feuding divas Mariah and Nicki Minaj, will be different.

Here's a handy Carson Vs. Ryan handicapper to help guide your New Year's Eve decision-making process. (Or, you could just wait till tomorrow and watch Julie Andrews from Vienna on PBS.)

VITAL STATISTICS

Ryan John Seacrest. DOB: Dec. 24, 1974. Hometown: Atlanta, Ga. Height: 5'7".

Carson Jones Daly. DOB: June 22, 1973. Hometown: Santa Monica, Calif. Height: 6'2".

MONEY

Ryan: In July 2009, he signed a deal with Core Media Group, formerly CKX, INC., (which owns the production company that gives us "American Idol") for $45 million for three seasons — $15 million a season — making him the highest-paid reality TV host. He renewed for two more years in 2012. He's executive-produced the New Year's Eve show since '05. He's produced a collection of reality shows including ABC's "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution." His productions for E! include E! News, red carpet awards show coverage and "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" and all its iterations. In other words, he probably has a bigger GNP than some countries.

Carson: He has been reported as earning $40,000 per episode of "The Voice." He executive produces his New Year's Eve show and his "Last Call With Carson Daly." He's not hurting.

WOMEN

Ryan: Has been seen recently with model Shayna Terese Taylor, a look-alike for his ex-girlfriend, Julianne Hough. Previously linked to Shana Wall, a backup singer for Luis Miguel, and Playboy Playmate Brande Roderick.

Carson: Has two young children with long-time girlfriend and fiance since October, Siri Pinter. Previously involved with Tara Reid and Jennifer Love Hewitt.

TODAY

Both Ryan and Carson have been mentioned as potential successors to Matt Lauer, whose deal (said to be worth $25 million per year) runs into 2015. Carson is already doing his digital Orange Room bit for "Today," but reports claim his Q scores aren't what they should be. Ryan met with NBC execs about the possibility of taking over for Lauer in 2011.

FASHION SENSE

Ryan: He's a self-proclaimed metrosexual, which he defines as a "heterosexual male who perhaps cares about his presentation, maybe likes to go shopping and put on a nice shirt, perhaps takes care of his body, wants to work out and be healthy."

Carson: Has greatly improved since his low point, when one celebrity blogger described him as "30-year-old man trying to dress like a teenager, a receding hairline being poorly masked, that ill-conceived moustache he often tries to sport, the way his chest hair creeps over the collar of his shirt ... "

BEGINNINGS

Ryan always wanted to be on the air. As a kid, he would read the daily announcements on his high school's public-address system, pretending it was his own radio program. At 16, he convinced a local radio station to give him a paying job.

Carson initially dreamed of being a professional golfer, and at one point was among the top-ranked young golfers in the country. He played on his high school golf team, along with classmate Tiger Woods.

THE WAY UP

Ryan majored in journalism at the University of Georgia. During his freshman college year, he became host of an ESPN show, "Radical Outdoor Challenge." Soon, he moved to LA and hosted an afternoon radio show for six years, while at the same time hosting such TV specials as "Gladiators 2000." And "Wild Animal Games."

Carson entered Loyola Marymount University on a golf scholarship and studied theology. He briefly considered becoming a man of the cloth, but then left school to pursue his golf career. Fate took a turn when he took an internship at a radio station in Palm Springs. That led to radio jobs in San Diego, San Jose and finally a stint at LA's KROQ, where MTV took notice and offered him a job. His runaway success with "TRL" followed.

QUOTABLE

Ryan: "It's surreal, because as a kid I always wanted to be both a big radio personality and also host a television show that people actually watch. Now I'm getting to do both."

Carson: "I had such strong faith that I thought I could take an oath of poverty and celibacy and feed and bathe old people. But then I realized that I didn't necessarily need to do that. I could apply the morals and ethics I'd learned to the secular world. So here I am, thrust into Satan's den, if you wanna call it that — and I love being here."

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