Every year, the most-watched New Year’s Eve coverage is ABC’s “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” hosted by Ryan Seacrest since 2006, and CNN’s coverage of the holiday, which has been hosted by Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen since 2018. This year’s CNN broadcast promises to be a slightly less boozy event than usual — and in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Seacrest weighed in on the decision from his show’s closest rival.
“I don’t advocate drinking when one is on the air. I don’t know how that started as a tradition, but it’s probably a good idea [to scale back], CNN,” Seacrest said.
During last year’s coverage, Cohen threw a few digs at the ABC show and Seacrest while inebriated on air, referring to the show as “Ryan Seacrest’s group of losers that are performing behind us” and saying, “I mean, with all due [respect], if you’ve been watching ABC tonight, you’ve seen nothing. I’m sorry.” Cohen later apologized for his remarks on his SiriusXM radio show.
“There’s some pretty respectable people or at least one, right? I think there’s a serious journalist and then a friend of mine who has a lot of fun, but it’s probably a good idea,” Seacrest said, seemingly referring to Cooper and Cohen, respectively. “Although the viewers probably wish they would drink more. But I think they had something to say about my show at one point, which was I’m sure from the alcohol because I don’t think they would say what they said about our performers if they weren’t drinking. But, you know, I think our show’s a bigger, broader show and we will not drink until 1:05 in the morning. Although, I might send them some Casa Dragones Tequila just to tempt them while they’re on the air.”
In November, it was reported that in a town hall meeting, CNN CEO Chris Licht, who took control this May, told staffers that he wanted his first New Year’s Eve at the channel to be a sober affair out of worries that past incidents damaged the “respectability” of the company as a news source. In past years, the channel’s coverage has generated considerable social media buzz for the looser restrictions on anchors and correspondents working during the night, leading to some memorably chaotic segments from usually buttoned-up CNN talent. Don Lemon, in particular, has made headlines in the past for getting his ear pierced on camera and going on rants against his “haters.”
Cohen, during a “Watch What Happens Live!” episode soon after reports of the town hall came out, said in response that he plans to “party harder” than in past years on December 31. So presumably, we may still get a segment like last year, where the “Real Housewives” executive producer called Bill de Blasio the “crappiest” mayor in New York City history.