Sad news today for anyone who loves bringing in the new year by watching Don Lemon give successively fewer fucks as the night goes on: CNN has apparently issued a dictate to its reporters, ordering them not to drink during the news network’s annual New Year’s Eve coverage.
This literally buzz-killing mandate was apparently handed down during a network townhall meeting by recently-minted CEO Chris Licht, who was installed in his position amidst the Warner Bros.-Discovery merger that’s shaped so much of the entertainment industry in recent months. Licht, a former MSNBC veteran, expressed concerns that having correspondents and anchors drink on camera “eroded the credibility of CNN personnel and damaged the ‘respectability’ they may enjoy among viewers.” Thus, the call came down: A much drier broadcast from Times Square, which will definitely help CNN compete with Ryan Seacrest’s annually rating-dominating broadcast over at ABC.
(We’d argue that seeing stolid news-givers cut loose once a year—especially Lemon, who once got his ear pierced on a New Year’s broadcast, and who is generally delightful when in his cups—is actually profoundly humanizing in a way that only helps the network connect with people, but we have to admit that we, personally, have never been chosen to run anything by the Warner Bros. Discovery gods.)
There is one silver-haired lining to this joy-crushing proclamation, though: Said ruling apparently only applies to reporters, not “hosts,” which means Andy Cohen and Anderson Cooper are apparently exempt from the televised teetotaling. Which means that our personal holiday tradition—of watching Cooper become increasingly plastered across an evening’s entertainment as the far-better-at-holding-his-liquor Cohen tries to keep the wheels just barely on the broadcast—remains blessedly intact.