Fox News Channel anchor Bill Hemmer (“America’s Newsroom”), who headlined much of the network’s coverage of the Newtown, Conn., shootings, is looking ahead to his next big assignment — co-anchoring New Year’s Eve coverage from New York City’s Times Square.
“Listen — we’re looking forward to another good year,” Hemmer tells Zap2it, a sinus infection making his voice sound ragged. “We’ve had a lot of big stories and a lot of challenges in 2012, as you well know. As a country, here’s to hoping for a much better 2013.”
What with the Newtown tragedy, the looming fiscal cliff, political bickering, violence breaking out around the country and the world, and the general anemic state of the economy, it’s not the most trouble-free of holiday seasons.
But, says Hemmer, that won’t dampen the enthusiasm of those who brave hours in the cold to watch the sparkling ball drop in Manhattan.
“Times Square in New York City is the crossroads of the world for a reason,” Hemmer says. “When you are at 46th and Broadway in the evening, and you look toward the south, and you see the giant 2012 numbers, lit with beautiful lights, and there are a million people that stretch up Broadway and up 7th Avenue and down to Times Square, and in every crack and crevice that you can see, there are human beings.
“They have been in these areas — they call them pens, because they’re marked off with metal barricades — and they’ve been in position six to eight hours ahead of time. So, they have made a decision, this is how they are are going to say good-bye to the year that has been and how they will welcome the new year that is at midnight.
“And when the number goes from 12 to 13, it’s always poignant. It’s always like the marker in your life. You never forget it. Everybody goes crazy. They throw their arms wide to welcome another year, and then by 12:15, Times Square is empty.
“They go on with their lives. They either go home, or they go to the bar, or they do both. But they can say that there were there, in Times Square, to welcome a new year.”
As for the weather, Hemmer says, “The forecast is always an open question. It’s been very cold, and it’s been mild, but it has yet to rain. In seven years [of me doing this], no rain. So I’m telling you, I want to keep that streak alive.”
(The forecast for Monday night is for mostly cloudy skies, a low of 32 degrees and only a 10 percent chance of precipitation.)
Hemmer also won’t be alone. Joining him are co-host and fellow FNC anchor Megyn Kelly (with Hemmer at top), along with correspondents Greg Gutfeld (“The Five,” “RedEye W/Greg Gutfeld”), Kimberly Guilfoyle (‘The Five”) and Anna Kooiman, and meteorologist Maria Molina.
Performances include Pat Benatar, Sarah Brightman and the cast of the Tony Award-winning musical “Million Dollar Quartet.”
“We’re all optimistic people anyway, right?” says Hemmer. “We’re all just hoping for the best for tomorrow, and that’s my attitude for the new year. Times Square, it is the place to be. If you haven’t had the chance to do it, consider doing it at least once in your life.”
Of course, most New Year’s revelers won’t quite get the perspective of the festivities that Hemmer and Kelly enjoy.
“It’s a good view,” says Hemmer of their perch high above Times Square. “Last year, we had Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga behind us. Who knows who will show this year?”