Last call for Lemon? CNN is putting end to New Year’s Eve libations… but not for everyone

Bad news for CNN anchor Don Lemon as the boozy New Year’s Eve events infamously displayed on CNN are evidently about to come to an end as the network reportedly is getting ready to crack down on certain staff getting sloshed on-air during its yearly celebration.

CNN chairman and CEO Chris Licht informed staffers during a company town hall that he is nixing the heavy drinking for some that is a hallmark of CNN’s New Year’s Eve programming, according to Variety, which broke the story on Wednesday. The show has become infamous for anchors, correspondents, and hosts such as Don Lemon and Anderson Cooper getting smashed during the broadcast.

Licht, who is now also the official party pooper at CNN, reportedly told staffers that drinking on-air eroded the presenters’ credibility and “respectability.”

Hosts such as Anderson Cooper, who has hosted the event since 2002, will reportedly still be allowed to imbibe. Lemon and other CNN anchors and correspondents often broadcast the celebration from various locations across the country and they will not. The network is known for nutsy antics such as comedienne Kathy Griffin wrapping Cooper in tin foil; Lemon getting his ear pierced; reporter Randi Kaye following a group of pot smokers on a “Puff, Pass, and Paint party” while riding on a bus; and CNN reporter Bill Weir getting tattooed.

Don Lemon and radio and TV host Andy Cohen both really got ripped last year. They went on alcohol-fueled rants during the show, roundly embarrassing themselves and CNN. Lemon drunkenly carped to fellow host Alisyn Camerota and comedian Dulce Sloan about being criticized, “I don’t give a — what you think about me, what do you think about that?” Lemon slurred. “I’m a grown-a** man. I don’t care what you think about me.”

“I am who I am,” he 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.”

Cohen went on to attack ABC’s annual New Year’s Eve program, “If you look behind me, you’ll see Ryan Seacrest’s group of losers performing. I’m sorry, but if you’re watching ABC, you’re watching nothing.”

Twitter users pointed out that the only reason people actually watched the show was for the anchors’ drunken antics. It’s why they tune in instead of going elsewhere.

“Watching news anchors get drunk on CNN is literally the highlight of New Year’s Eve,” wrote one person on Twitter. “Don’t take that joy away!!”

“CNN to Cut Back on New Year’s Eve viewership,” another user only half-kidded.

“Drunk Don Lemon and geeked up Anderson Cooper is some of the best part of the CNN New Year show,” another tweeted.

“Why would anybody even bother watching #CNNNYE if not for hosts being drunk on camera?” someone else declared.

“The only reason I watch CNN on New Year’s Eve is to see all of the news anchors get smashed,” another person tweeted. “Nothing says NYE to me like Anderson Cooper’s drunk laugh and Don Lemon shaking his a**. @CNN BIG mistake-HUGE. You are ratings are going to tank that night. #NewYearsEve.”


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