If you tune in to FOX’s New Year’s Eve Toast & Roast 2021 on December 31, the network’s coverage of the Times Square ball drop is going to look a little different this year than the past few years. Steve Harvey is no longer the host. Instead, Joel McHale and Ken Jeong are stepping into his shoes for this year. Why did Harvey leave? Here’s what we know.
Harvey Said It’s a Rough Gig
Harvey started hosting FOX’s New Year’s Eve special in 2017-2018, hosting for three years. In an interview with the New York Post prior to his third time hosting the show, Harvey admitted that working Times Square on New Year’s Eve is a very hard job — his first year was a disaster.
“The first time was absolutely horrible. It was 11 below zero. Last year it rained all night. There’s nowhere to sit. It’s a rough gig. There are stretching rooms. … The entire time you need some blankets and heaters,” said Harvey.
He added that while the energy of the crowd is awe-inspiring, it’s also a lot to deal with.
“I am in awe at the energy of the people. Once you check into Times Square, you can’t leave. There are no restrooms. These people are wearing diapers and they go through the whole thing. They sit there and they deal with it. And you feel an obligation to be entertaining,” said Harvey.
Harvey Was Disgruntled at An On-Air Incident Last Year
Additionally, for the 2019-2020 special, Harvey’s co-hosts were Maria Menounos and Rob Gronkowski and Gronk got a little out of hand at one point, picking up a LEGO bust of Harvey and smashing it to bits. Harvey was visibly annoyed.
“Are you serious?! I don’t wanna work with him no more. Why is he here? Why are you here? What is wrong with you? You’re mentally imbalanced. This nut right here… do you know how hard it is to get them brown LEGOS — you stupid…” and then he threw to commercial.
So perhaps Harvey had simply had enough of the hosting gig. It certainly sounds like an awful lot of work. Also, the network has routinely changed up what it broadcasts for New Year’s Eve. Prior to Harvey’s gig, FOX broadcast Pitbulls New Years Revolution from 2014 to 2017, and before that, FOX employed a revolving door of hosts that included Ryan Seacrest, Mario Lopez, and Rodney Carrington.
As for McHale and Jeong, the former Community co-stars and current podcast co-hosts are going to be hosting a three-hour live special from Los Angeles where they toast and roast 2020, looking at the highs and lows of the past year. Special guests and performers include LeAnn Rimes, Gloria Estefan, Doctor Elvis, John Legend, Ava Max, Green Day, Gabby Barrett, Morris Chestnut, Tom Payne, Leslie Jordan, Mayim Bialik, Cheyenne Jackson, Jane Krakowski, Randy Jackson, and Tim Allen.
“Ken and Joel together are one of the funniest duos out there,” said Rob Wade, President, Alternative Entertainment & Specials, FOX Entertainment, in a statement when he announced the new hosts. “These two have been toasting and roasting each other on national television for years, so they were the perfect pair to ring in the New Year.”