Macy’s annual Fourth of July fireworks display in New York City is the largest in the United States. But you don’t have to be there to see the extravaganza. NBC currently has the U.S. TV rights to “Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular,” which airs live in the Eastern and Central time zones on the national holiday celebrating the anniversary of America’s independence.
This year, Nick Cannon (who hosts NBC’s “America’s Got Talent”) and Alison Sweeney (who hosts NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” will co-host “Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular.” The one-hour special, which airs July 4 at 9 p.m. Eastern/Pacific Time, will feature special guests Justin Bieber, LeAnn Rimes, Enrique Iglesias, and cast members from “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.” In a recent telephone conference call with journalists, Cannon and Sweeney talked about celebrating the Fourth of July, why the holiday means so much to them, and what their upcoming plans are.
Nick, would you be interested at some point in joining up with Kenan Thompson “Saturday Night Live,” since he used to be on “All That” with you?
Cannon: We always talk about that. When the timing is right though, it’ll definitely happen. Not only is this someone I worked with since I was a teenager, but that’s like one of my best friends of all time. So even if it’s a comedy sketch whenever we get together, so eventually you guys will see it again.
Alison Sweeney in “The Biggest Loser”
What kind of great memories do you guys have of the Fourth of July, and are you hoping to create new ones this year?
Sweeney: Absolutely. I love the Fourth of July. It’s definitely one of my favorite holidays … And memories for me are always just about my family and the fun times we’ve had together and celebrating our, you know, freedom, and really being together as a family. And so I’m looking forward to having that experience with my children now. So I remember so fondly the way my parents would create these really fun events and holiday parties and we’d all see fireworks. And now I’m really excited to share this with my son and my husband and have a really great family experience.
Cannon: Absolutely. As you know, the Fourth of July is all about family and fun, and good food, barbeques, all of that stuff. So that’s kind of where all my memory lies: playing with fireworks and stuff, and nearly blowing off my hand. But other than that, it’s always been good memories.
Because the Fourth of July actually represents with freedom, how is the show going to be personal to you guys based on the freedom that you get to do and be so successful?
Sweeney: I think that the Fourth of July is really one of those very special unique holidays like, Memorial Day, that you do talk about fun and you talk about family. And everyone thinks of barbequing and a cool fireworks show, but you don’t always take that moment to reflect on what it represents and what happened on this day and so many years ago and how much has changed and yet how much stays the same. I am so proud of how hard I work and, you know, the successes I’ve achieved professionally. But obviously, all of that is nothing for me without my family. And getting the opportunity to share a day like this and to reflect and appreciate what our freedoms are and what this country does every single day is really special.
I bring it back to my kids a lot, because that’s something that’s so in the front of my mind. But when my son first sort of recognized the American flag, and he always says, “Hey mommy that’s our flag! That’s our flag!” It just really totally affected me the first time I heard him say it, of just how important my role as a parent is to inform him of what this holiday is all about and help him grow into a patriotic American too and appreciate what we have in this country.
Nick Carey and his wife, Mariah Carey, at the Floyd Mayweather Jr./Shane Mosley welterweight fight in Las Vegas, May 2010
Nick, you recently named one of your dogs based on “The Sopranos.” Will you use “The Sopranos” as potential baby name?
Cannon: Yeah, thinking of Tony Soprano as all like a first name. So Tony Soprano Cannon, that works.
Sweeney: All one word, I love it.
Nick, how do you all prepare as host for this live TV special?
Sweeney: I’m actually just entirely counting on Nick to be funny.
Sweeney: And I’m just going to stand there and point at him.
Cannon: And I was thinking of doing the same with you, so we’re even. No, it’s one of those things where we just want to represent the spirit of the Fourth of July. And as Alison was saying before, it’s about family and fun and bringing that, I think that’s what people would rather see. People don’t like to see stiff hosts that are just speaking verbatim, kind of sounding the same. They want to see people enjoying themselves on the holiday. And so in that sense, I prepare for that every day.
Sweeney: I think he’s right, and it’s just about enjoying the moment and being part of it. And Nick and I haven’t worked together yet, but we’ve both done a lot hosting. And so it’s just fun to kind of guide the audience through what they’re going to be experiencing that night. And getting them as excited as we are to bring it to them.
Nick Cannon in “America’s Got Talent”
Nick, do you have another movie in the works?
Cannon: Yeah, I got a few big things coming up, but obviously, they’re premature … I’ve been directing a lot and I plan on directing a feature again at the end of this year. So that’s probably the thing that’s right in front of me, and then I act in my next film at the top of next year.
Alison and Nick, can you say why you wanted to accept the offer from Macy’s to host this Fourth of July special?
Cannon: I personally have just seen the show on television and really enjoyed it and then just being able to do something fun and festive in the greatest city in America, in New York. And it was a great opportunity all the way around.
Sweeney: Yeah, I feel the same way. I’m obviously in the NBC family, and when they approached me to do it, I was excited. I watch it on TV, I love good fireworks and I love celebrating that … I think it would be so fun to get that huge crowd of people. I mean, it’s probably this is big as New Year’s Eve. I mean I can’t imagine a more fun way to spend the Fourth of July.
Alison Sweeney in “The Biggest Loser”
Alison, are you bringing your family with you when you host this show?
Sweeney: Yeah, I am going to bring my family with me. It’s actually kind of perfect for us because my son will be able to stay up, and because of the time difference, it’ll seem earlier for him, and we’ll be able to share the fireworks together and really enjoy that. So I can’t wait. It’s a memory he’ll remember forever.
Nick, will your wife, Mariah Carey, be with you while you’re hosting the show?
Cannon: I’m hoping she’ll be there. She’s actually in the middle of finishing her next Christmas album, so I think she has deadlines and stuff. She’s at our house in Los Angeles, but we’re trying to schedule that right now so she can be with me.
For more info: “Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular” website
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Photo credits: Photo #3: Getty Images. All other photos: NBC.