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Alison Stine

Booze ban moves Andy Cohen to drink more

New Year Eve's is going to be less alcohol-fueled for some people this year. Namely, the anchors for CNN's televised holiday coverage.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the change was announced to employees by Chris Licht, CNN chairman, at a meeting in November. Though "the alcohol-induced chaos . . . has become a hallmark of its on-air festivities," the Los Angeles Times writes that "Licht told staffers that drinking on camera undermines CNN's credibility." 

CNN's primetime New Year's Eve special is hosted by longtime friends Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen who, in past years, have consumed alcohol on camera and appeared visibly inebriated. Cohen's response to the initial announcement of scaled back drinking was resistance. He told Rolling Stone, "My job is to be a party ringleader for everyone watching us on New Year's Eve. And that is what I will continue to do. And as a matter of fact," he went on, "if the correspondents are not drinking this year, I will be partying even harder on their behalf."  

One anchor famous for hosting New Year's Eve celebrations thinks less alcohol for CNN is a good idea: Ryan Seacrest. Seacrest, host of ABC's "New Year's Rockin' Eve" since 2006, told Entertainment Weekly on Tuesday, "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 drink less.

Of course, Seacrest has a bit of a personal investment in the issue. Last year, Cohen and Cooper's alcohol-fueled insults included Seacrest. On the air, Cohen referred to "Ryan Seacrest's group of losers that are performing behind us," and said, "I mean, with all due [respect], if you've been watching ABC tonight, you've seen nothing. I'm sorry."

In 2021, Cohen and Cooper did tequila shots on air while hosting. Cohen went on a rant about then outgoing New York mayor Bill de Blasio, which he had no memory of. He was shocked to learn, less than an hour later via Twitter, about his tirade. Cohen's rant included, as he related to Jimmy Kimmel, "saying, 'Sayonara, sucka' to the outgoing mayor of New York." Cohen told Kimmel, "It is super fun getting drunk on CNN and just raging on a soapbox."

Drunken raging has been Cohen's thing, with the guests of his Bravo show "Watch What Happens Live" drinking on camera. There's a bar on the set, and Cohen used to drink along with his guests, though starting in 2019 he started to scale back for health reasons. He told "Today," when he was co-hosting, "I had a moment where I was like, I really felt like my suits were getting tight, and it was beach season and I was wearing like button-downs to the beach and I'm like I'm not this guy, I'm not doing this."

Cooper has not spoken publicly about CNN's plan to sober up his and Cohen's New Year's Eve coverage. But Seacrest said, "our show's a bigger, broader show and we will not drink until 1:05 in the morning." As far as Cohen and Cooper's drinking goes, Seacrest told Entertainment Weekly, "I might send them some Casa Dragones Tequila just to tempt them while they're on the air."

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