This will be the ninth New Year's Eve in a row that Kathy Griffin has broadcast live from the teeming crowds in New York's Times Square with her CNN cohost, Anderson Cooper. And she's not about to have the party spoiled by the widespread jitters over recent terrorism attacks in Paris and San Bernardino.
"I'm just so used to being a target that I'm actually not one bit afraid," Griffin joked. She then took a dig at her competing Times Square host on ABC's Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve: "If Ryan Seacrest can do it, I can do it."
New Year's Eve has become one of the most competitive live-broadcast nights, with multiple networks airing coverage of festivities in New York, Miami, and elsewhere.
"With a million people in Times Square and tens of millions of people watching, it is about as big as it gets for a platform these days," said Seacrest, who next year wraps up 15 years as American Idol host.
But this year's celebrations are tinged with wariness after recent terror attacks here and abroad. The Islamic extremist group ISIS in November released a video that showed Times Square and other New York landmarks, which was widely construed as a barely veiled threat.
"The video reaffirms the message that New York City remains a top terrorist target," NYPD Deputy Commissioner Stephen Davis wrote in a statement, adding that police were not aware of a specific threat against the city. An NYPD spokesman said the department doesn't discuss details of its antiterrorism procedures, to avoid helping terror groups plan attacks.
"Security comes into play every single year," said Larry Klein, the veteran executive producer of Rockin' Eve. "We did a show just three months after 9/11. Security always comes into play when you have a million people in the crowd."
As far as the networks are concerned, the shows will go on. Plenty of people end up watching parties from home rather than attending one live, guaranteeing a surprisingly large television audience for a holiday night.
The current throng of party programs is a far cry from 1973, when impresario Clark started Rockin' Eve as a younger-skewing rival to the then-dominant New Year's Eve show on CBS with bandleader Guy Lombardo.
Last year, Rockin' Eve - which features Seacrest live from Times Square with top musical acts, this year led by Carrie Underwood - drew 12.9 million viewers during the 10 p.m. hour, climbing to an impressive 22.7 million during the 11:30 p.m.-to-1:15 a.m. slot, according to Nielsen. The show is telecast for more than three hours, and it climaxes with the live countdown at midnight in New York.
Rockin' Eve's total was far ahead of the 5.4 million who turned out for its main rival, New Year's Eve With Carson Daly on NBC (Daly logged 8.6 million for the late-night portion). CNN's New Year's Eve Live With Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin drew an average of 1.6 million over 31/2 hours.
Meanwhile, Fox will again head to Miami for Pitbull's New Year's Revolution, a dance-music extravaganza overseen by the Cuban American rap star. Last year's show drew 4.4 million viewers during the 11 p.m.-to-12:30 a.m. slot.
The various New Year's Eve shows are settling into specific niches, with CNN's aimed at news junkies who aren't interested in the music and dancing the other networks offer.
Griffin expressed surprise that the network keeps bringing her back as a foil to Cooper, who sheds his sober-newsman persona only slightly for the evening.
"He really is the perfect foil for me because there's so many things he can't say," Griffin said.
As for terrorism, Griffin makes it clear that in the cutthroat world of show business, entertainers may have nothing to fear so much as one another.