Back in November, it was reported that the higher-ups at CNN wanted to clamp down on some of the more notoriously rowdy aspects of their annual New Year’s Eve broadcasts, some of which have become infamous over the years after some of the hosts (anchors at the network) and/or their guests threw caution to the wind and got drunk, and in the process said some not-so-family-friendly things on air.
According to an article from Variety at the time:
While Anderson Cooper will still be able to imbibe during primetime hours — along with his co-host Andy Cohen — while the duo holds forth in Times Square, correspondents and anchors who may have slurped down alcoholic concoctions on camera (or off) in the past will be required to halt the practice.
“[CNN CEO Chris] Licht told employees he felt on-camera drinking eroded the credibility of CNN personnel and damaged the ‘respectability’ they may enjoy among viewers,” Variety also noted in their story.
Though there’s no word yet on whether any CNN personalities will be allowed to smoke a joint on live TV, as happened in 2017 or jump into a liquor-filled tub with a drag queen, which happened in 2019, it appears that longtime CNNer Don Lemon will be hardest hit and has let it be known that he is not happy about it. And the “exception to the rule” thing with Cooper and Cohen being allowed to drink has also reportedly been taken back:
This year, Licht said in one internal meeting that Cooper and Cohen will be permitted to imbibe, prompting Cooper to tell network leadership he’s concerned at the perception that only the two white hosts are permitted to drink.
Licht then walked that rule back: “Chris made an offhand remark in a town hall about drinking during the NYE program,” an aide said. “Shortly after, he proactively reached out to Anderson to clarify that his comments were meant as a joke and that he preferred no drinking on air at all.”
In any event Lemon, who will likely be dispatched to hard-partying New Orleans, was not pleased about the sober state of things, another CNN insider said.
What probably happened is that Licht saw clips of Lemon from past “celebrations” including the 2021 New Year’s Eve Live event, where Lemon went on a wild, drunken rant about being a “grown a** man” and not caring what his critics said about him, to at one point twerking:
— Giselle Phelps (@GisellePhelps) January 1, 2022
Are you this lit yet???
Happy New Year!!! pic.twitter.com/lyx3SRD2W5
— BallerAlert (@balleralert) January 1, 2022
Even worse was this moment, where Lemon pal and co-host/comedian Dulce Sloan had to repeat a crude joke about the male anatomy to Lemon three or four times before he “got it” – on live TV. Language warning ahead:
This is when CNN knew it was time to cut to commercial pic.twitter.com/2dxoIXB13e
— MDG (@MDGGraphics) January 1, 2022
Some would say the NY Eve broadcasts are one of the few times during the year that Lemon actually comes across as being human. Whatever the case may be, thoughts and prayers to CNN’s ten regular viewers who will no doubt be very disappointed to hear the news.