Move over, Ryan Seacrest — sources tell Page Six Will Smith and his company Overbrook Entertainment are developing a New Year’s Eve television special similar to Dick Clark Productions’ “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest.”One insider said, “As of now, it’s being shopped to the networks. It would feature musical performances, possibly one by Will.”Sources say Smith’s people want to film it in Miami and include his friend David Beckham: “They want to do something with Beckham and his focus on his Miami soccer team.”It’s unclear whether Will’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith, son Jaden or daughter Willow could participate. Smith’s rep didn’t get back to us.This news comes after Pitbull recently announced that he'll be executive producing and hosting his own New Year's Eve show on Fox. Coincidentally, Mr. 305 will also hold his festivities in Miami. If Smith eventually finds a home for his New Year's Eve celebrations, this will be one of the biggest television showdowns of 2014.
Pitbull currently has a couple chart-topping hits featuring big artists such as Jennifer Lopez, Ke$ha and Christina Aguilera; all of whom he'll probably convince to perform on his show since they've performed at NYE shows in the past. He also brings in a young Latino demographic who're very supportive of him and serve as a desired audience for advertisers.
The impending deal between Endemol (producer), Shine Group and Core Media Group could also help Pitbull's show in booking each of those companies' internet stars as well as "American Idol" and "SYTYCD" alums on Core's music label (the Fox connection would also help too for obvious reasons).
Will Smith, on the other hand, is one of the biggest celebrities in Hollywood. He has proven over and over again that he's a worldwide sensation through the millions of views his various stunts garner on YouTube.
A variety show at the end of the year featuring himself, his family and some of his fellow Hollywood bourgeois would be a major hit on television and a major trending topic online. His movie "Annie" is also being released two weeks before NYE and a potential special could give the box office numbers a little extra push in the latter weeks of it's release.
Details are still murky about Will Smith's special and we're not sure if Smith himself will be a host/performer or just a producer but the possibility that Smith performs during NYE puts Ryan Seacrest's throne as New Year's king at stake. It was already difficult for Seacrest to book live acts when there are more lucrative opportunities for artists at private clubs and the added television competition doesn't help at all.
Overbrook Entertainment has recently worked with CBS in distributing "The Queen Latifah Show," which makes them an early candidate for Smith's NYE show. Although, CBS has never felt the need to air NYE shows in the last couple of years and there's no reason to believe (yet) that Smith would be a good enough reason to change that tradition.
The networks of Viacom (MTV, BET) also seem like a perfect fit because MTV constantly changes the theme of their NYE specials each year and BET's special is taped. Smith's show would provide MTV with stability and BET with notoriety. The network which this show airs on will be a key determinant to how much of a threat it is.
Smith and Pitbull's venture into New Year's Eve is unconvential but also a little weird when you consider that Seacrest's show only averaged 12.1 million viewers (Carson Daly: 5.7 million). Even before you include cable TV ratings for their respective NYE shows, the pie of viewers is already too small to make a major impact because December 31st is a night which many Americans celebrate away from their television sets. The competition on various networks doesn't leave any room for these shows to breakthrough in a crucial way.
Music artists will now have more choices than ever on New Year's. Perform on the traditional show (Seacrest), the NYC alternative to tradition (Daly), the Miami alternative with one of the biggest artists in the industry (Pitbull), another Miami alternative with a legend (Smith) or at a private club where you're guaranteed to make a lot of money.