It may be less boozy than usual, but CNN is still planning to ring in the new year. The cable news giant is gearing up for its traditional end-of-year coverage of New Year’s Eve celebrations across the country.
CNN will begin New Year’s Eve live coverage starting at 8 p.m. ET on Friday, December 31. Viewers who pay for the cable channel can stream live via CNN’s website, CNN OTT, CNNgo, or other mobile apps. The special will also be available on demand the day after the broadcast via CNN.com, CNN apps, and cable operator platforms.
From 8 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. ET, coverage will be hosted from New York City’s Times Square by Anderson Cooper, a role he has held on the channel since 2002. With him will be “Watch What Happens Live!” host Andy Cohen, who has been the second host of New Year’s Eve for the channel since 2018, after CNN fired Kathy Griffin following the decapitated Donald Trump head controversy in 2017.
At 12:30 a.m. ET, Cooper and Cohen will hand over coverage to Don Lemon, current host of CNN This Morning. Lemon will report live from New Orleans as the Central Time Zone city hits New Year’s Eve.
A variety of live musical performances and interviews with celebrities and actors will be peppered throughout the evening. Ava Max will perform live from Times Square, while a performance from Usher’s Las Vegas residency at Park MGM will be broadcast. Ellie Goulding will also perform. Other guests slated to appear throughout the evening include Kevin Hart, Patti LaBelle, REO Speedwagon, Nick Cannon, Jenifer Lewis, John Stamos, Jack Black and Kyle Gass from Tenacious D, Jean Smart, and Cheri Oteri.
Although Cohen and Cooper will reportedly still be allowed to down a few drinks throughout the night, CNN is reportedly encouraging sobriety among other reporters during this year’s New Year’s Eve coverage. 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. Lemon in particular, has made headlines in the past for getting his ear pierced on camera and going on rants against “haters.”
In a November town hall meeting, CNN CEO Chris Licht, who took control of the channel this May, reportedly 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. 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. However, while some may hope for a segment like last year, where the “Real Housewives” executive producer called Bill de Blasio the “crappiest” mayor in New York City history, Cohen most recently told Page Six that he’ll be pulling back on the booze this year.
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