When the clock strikes twelve and the ball drops in Times Square on Monday, many will lean in to their partners (or strangers!) for a New Year’s kiss. Ryan Seacrest, on the other hand, will most likely be turning to his cameraman — and millions of viewers around the world.
“Usually the person in closest proximity to me at midnight is the gentleman who holds the Steadicam,” the longtime Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest host tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue, on stands now. “The two of us lock eyes, and we’re the first to congratulate each other on the New Year.”
Though his girlfriend, model and personal chef Shayna Taylor, 26, has to share him with the world in that moment, Seacrest, 43, says she doesn’t mind.
“[Shayna] is used to it, she’s bored of me and she’s fine with me doing it,” he says, adding, “She’s wonderful keeping up with my hectic schedule. … All is good!”
After dating several years ago, Seacrest and Taylor reconnected over the last year and moved in together in May.
Since this will be Seacrest’s 12th year hosting the New Year’s Eve special, which is in its 46th year, he is prepared for any type of unpredictable New York weather that might come his way.
“I’ve been in Times Square for 52° weather and -2,” Seacrest says. “All of it can be fun. But when it’s cold, I’m constantly trying to shove heat rocks in my boots and gloves!”
He continues: “And I wear long underwear. About three days out we really get a handle on what’s going to happen.”
During the broadcast, Seacrest says that he and his co-host Jenny McCarthy are able to warm up at a tent with heaters in between commercials but that “there really is no backstage” for them to take a break.
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“We’re in Times Square and there are 2 million people on set,” he says. “We are truly, from 8 [p.m.] until 12:35 [a.m.], running up and down Times Square looking for different people who have been waiting from all over the world, who are celebrating for the first time, it’s on their bucket list [and] that kind of thing.”
When the production is over, the whole crew heads over to Nobu 57 for a celebratory dinner.
“At 1:30 in the morning, we go for sushi and everyone who has worked all night is served dinner,” he explains. “It’s fun!”
- For more on Ryan Seacrest and Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now
As for his wishes for the upcoming broadcast, Seacrest says: “I hope the ball goes down smoothly. I hope we all hug and toast for a new start, new year, new beginnings — and let the diet wait until Jan. 2.”
Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest airs on Dec. 31 on ABC at 8 p.m. ET.