We’ve just started the holiday season, but it looks like CNN is already thinking about the end of the year. The network just made an announcement about what their viewers can expect from the annual New Year’s Eve broadcast: no on-air drinking.
CNN’s Boozy New Year’s Eve Broadcasts
The broadcast is typically hosted by Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen, both of whom report live from Times Square. Throughout the night, they cut to other anchors at different locations around the country.
Last year, Don Lemon reported from New Orleans, where he seemed to be having a very good time. The CNN anchor downed shots on a camera, and as the night progressed, the conversations between him and his guests got increasingly hilarious—but not necessarily appropriate for CNN.
New CNN Director Says Drinking On Camera Damages Their ‘Respectability’
It looks like the fun might be coming to an end. Earlier this month, CNN held a town hall meeting between network employees and Chris Licht, the company’s CEO and director. This will be the first New Year’s Eve broadcast under his leadership.
Variety reported that at the meeting, Licht told CNN employees that he felt the on-air drinking damaged their credibility as a network and impacted the “respectability” they have with their viewers. Essentially, this means the anchors will no longer drink during the evening’s broadcast—on camera, or off.
Don Lemon On Crazy NYE Broadcasts: ‘The Idea Is To Have Fun’
Many think Lemon’s NYE antics might have been the catalyst for this decision. He isn’t the only CNN anchor that tends to get a little too into the New Year’s Eve spirit while on the air, but videos of him tend to go viral. For example, he got his ear pierced live on camera during one NYE broadcast.
Last year, he addressed the viewers, saying, “[I’m] able to share my point of view on television and it freaks people out and you know what,” he said. You can kiss my behind, I do not care. I don’t care.”
Lemon is well aware of his NYE reputation, but it doesn’t bother him. “The idea is to have fun. What can I do that’s interesting and engaging for the audience?” Lemon told Variety in 2018.
“I do realize if I’m going to get a tattoo, I am making that decision.” There is no word yet on whether or not he will be joining the New Year’s event this year.
The high-ups at CNN might think the on-air drinking damaged the network’s respectability, but many viewers are mourning the end of Lemon and the rest of the CNN crew’s crazy on-air antics.