In what many see as a poor choice, CNN has chosen to crack down on the practice of its anchor team taking part in alcoholic drinks for its “New Year’s Eve Live” show.
While carrying out a company town hall, Chris Licht, the CNN chairman and CEO, explained to the news titan’s staff that he would be putting a halt on the vast majority of the drinking that has usually been one of the prime experiences of the New Year’s Eve programming for CNN. Prime Time hosts such as Anderson Cooper will be allowed to continue with the practice of drinking, but all anchors and correspondents such as Don Lemon will be banned from drinking throughout the broadcast. This change in policy was first brought to light this past Wednesday by Variety.
This coming celebration will be the first New Year’s Eve show under the new management of Licht since he took his current role over this past February. While carrying out the meeting, Licht reportedly explained to all staffers the practice of partaking in alcohol on air worsened the credibility and “respectability” of the presenters.
Anderson Cooper, the flagship anchor of CNN, has been the host of the program since all the way back in 2002. Andy Cohen, a radio and TV host that happened to be Cooper’s friend, joined the show in 2017, taking the place of comedienne Kathy Griffin. Lemon, and many other hosts, often do their broadcasts from other locations across the nation. The program has become widely known for the tipsy antic that the hosts end up getting into. Well-known instances of this include: CNN reporter Bill Weir getting a tattoo on air; reporter Randi Kaye following a group of pot smokers on a “Puff, Pass, and Paint party” while riding on a bus; Griffin completely encasing Cooper in tin foil to celebrate 10 years hosting the show together; Lemon having his ear pierced live on air.
This past year, a large amount of controversy sparked as both Lemon and Cohen devolved into alcohol-induced rants while still live on air. To kick things off, Lemon complained to Alisyn Camerota, a fellow host, and Dulce Sloan, a comdeian, about the level of criticism he routinely gets. “I don’t give a — what you think about me, what do you think about that?” exclaimed Lemon. “I’m a grown-a** man. I don’t care what you think about me.”
“I am who I am,” Lemon went on. “I’m a grown, successful black man who a lot of people hate because they’re not used to people seeing me — and people like me — in the position that I am. To be able to share what I … my point of view on television, it freaks people out. And you know what? You can kiss my behind. I do not care. I don’t care. I really don’t care. I have one life, and this is who I am, and I feel very, um … blessed and honored to be in this position to be able to do this. So all the hate I get? It’s motivation to me. Bring it. I don’t care.”
Additionally, Cohen chose to take a shot at the annual New Year’s Eve program for ABC, which could be seen from where the CNN broadcast was being taken. “If you look behind me, you’ll see Ryan Seacrest’s group of losers performing,” chuckled Cohen. “I’m sorry, but if you’re watching ABC, you’re watching nothing.”
This choice from the CEO was chidded by social media users as they highlighted that the various drunken antics from the anchors was the main reason they chose to watch at all.