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New Year's Rockin' Eve: How Ryan Seacrest Got J.Lo to Sing Live in Times Square

Ryan Seacrest, Dick Clark, Fergie, Jennifer Lopez ABC/CRAIG SJODIN; Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images

The year 2010 is coming (and soon), and that means it's time for the return of a great American TV tradition: New Year's Rockin' Eve, cohosted by media legend Dick Clark and E!'s very own Ryan Seacrest.

We just chatted up Ryan and Rockin' producer Larry Klein and found out how they persuaded none other than Jennifer Lopez to sing live in Times Square on a cold winter's night. Plus, we learned Ryan's saucy theory on why Fergie loves working with him, and how Dick Clark decided to hire him for this gig in the first place.

So how did Ryan convince J.Lo to visit the frigid Big Apple so she could work late on a holiday? Here's the scoop:

Jennifer Lopez will be singing live from Times Square at 11 p.m. on New Year's Eve, and if she finds that her Louboutin-clad tootsies are frozen solid that night, she'll have Seacrest and Klein to thank.

As Larry Klein tells it, "Jennifer was onstage in rehearsals at the American Music Awards, and her manager Benny Medina was sitting next to me, and I said, 'Right now, I'm looking at Times Square, New Year's Eve. You've got to join us that night.'" But it wasn't decided then and there. The deal wasn't done until Ryan himself enticed J.Lo and her husband over to his house for a pitch meeting.

Ryan tells us, "It started there [at the AMAs], and then, no kidding, Marc [Anthony] and Jennifer came over to my house and literally walked through what it would be like in Times Square, and now we've got a stage built here [in that spot in my house]. That's exactly what happened." (That's what they call the lifestyles of the musical and fabulous!) "It's a small house! You can put that in there." Duly noted, Ryan.

As for that other New Year's diva, Stacy Ferguson has been part of the Rockin' family for a while. Klein says, "Fergie has been our cohost for two or three years now, and the Black Eyed Peas have been on the show for a few years now. She'll run our Las Vegas party. She does L.A. or Vegas for us, and Ryan does the live stuff. It's a great match."

How so? Well, Seacrest has a theory: "She likes to do it with me because I'm sort of like a half-Josh Duhamel. I'm about half the size of Josh, but from afar, I kind of—kind of—remind her of the other version. [At least] the hair."

Last but not least, despite suffering a serious stroke in 2004, Dick Clark will be front and center this year. Seacrest says, "His role is he'll be hosting. He's in great shape, and he'll be in the studio with us."

The partnership between Seacrest and Clark has been a successful joint venture for years, says Ryan. "I cold-called Dick's office around the second year I did Idol," he tells us. "And Dick's assistant agreed to the meeting, and it worked out, and now we have this great business relationship." Larry: "And then Dick fired the assistant." (Larry's kidding!) Ryan watched New Year's Rockin' Eve when he was a kid and says, "To have him willing to work with me and then at the end say 'thanks' or good job' is all worth it for me."

That sounds like a beautiful friendship indeed!

New Year's Rockin' Eve begins Dec. 31 at 10 p.m. on ABC and runs through 1:30 a.m on New Year's Day. Look for performances by J.Lo, the Black Eyed Peas, Selena Gomez, Colbie Caillat, Robin Thicke and more, as well as additional Times Square hosting duties performed by former Bachelor girl Melissa Rycroft.

Are you a devoted fan of New Year's Rockin' Eve, or will you be tuning in this year for the first time in a while to catch Jennifer Lopez? Hit the comments!

(Originally published Dec. 29, 2009, at 5:19 p.m. PT)

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Get our countdown of the top 10 TV premieres of 2010.

 

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