New Year’s Eve is supposed to represent a fresh start heading into a new chapter. It’s one final night to celebrate accomplishments earned throughout the past 365 days — or to make plans to try again and do better in the next. And for CNN New Year’s Eve correspondents Anderson Cooper, Andy Cohen, and Don Lemon, it’s usually a time to close out a year of covering news by getting drunk on national television live from Times Square. But CNN, unfortunately, hates fun and has pulled the plug on the boozy festivities heading into 2023.
During a recent town-hall discussion held by CNN chairman and CEO Chris Licht, staffers were told that the extensive on-camera drinking had negatively impacted the network’s “respectability,” calling into question their credibility as a news source, Variety reports.
Last year might have been the final straw for the long-standing tradition. In viral clips from New Year’s Eve heading into 2022, after quite a few shots, Cohen tried to persuade Cooper to come over after the show to drop acid with him, asked if he would date a guy from a sword-swallowing segment, and affectionately coined the nickname “Vanderbilt boy.” Meanwhile, the show’s interviewing segments featuring Regina King and Snoop Dogg were only elevated by the utter chaos of the host’s drunkenness.
“Let’s just say I’m having a great time. I am in control,” Lemon said back in 2018 after getting his ears pierced during the New Year’s Eve broadcast. “I do consume alcohol, but I’m never out of control.”
The tradition never waivered over the years, even while the pandemic kept the normally packed audience at home for a year. “I certainly pledge to get Anderson as drunk as I can — and which isn’t hard to do, I should add, as we have seen from previous years,” Cohen joked in 2020. And clips of Anderson’s shot-taking face went viral as the anchor struggled to keep the alcohol down.
Still, CNN will reportedly allow Cooper and Cohen to pre-game during the primetime portion of the night, but they’ll need to be in functioning shape before they hit Times Square. Boo.