The show will go on, but will the shots? Andy Cohen — and his tequila — have been helping CNN make headlines since taking over cohosting New Year’s Eve Live with Anderson Cooper.
The Real Housewives producer replaced Kathy Griffin for the 2017–18 broadcast, joining his BFF to ring in the New Year on the lengthy show and introducing shots “at the top of every hour.” While social media users always poked fun at Cooper’s facial expressions when he attempted to down the tequila, Cohen’s drunken antics made waves way after January 1 when he threw shade at Ryan Seacrest and Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve on the 2021-22 show.
“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,” Cohen said at the time. “We were doused with confetti from fake Journey on ABC. If it’s not Steve Perry, it doesn’t count! You get it? It’s not Journey! It’s propaganda! It’s propaganda! It’s not Journey! It’s not Journey! No, that was not Journey. Steve Perry is Journey.”
Seacrest wasn’t the only one dissed by Cohen. For the second year in a row, he slammed then-New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“Watching Mayor de Blasio do his victory lap dance after four years of the crappiest term as the mayor of New York — the only thing that Democrats and Republicans can agree on is what a horrible mayor he has been,” he declared. “So sayonara sucka. 2022! It’s a new year because guess what? I have a feeling I’m gonna be standing right here next year, and you know who I’m not going to be looking at dancing as the city comes apart? You!”
While he laughed off the drunk moments the next morning, Cohen later revealed how he felt about the Seacrest dig.
“As I was going on my rant about Journey, I did wind up kind of starting to throw ABC under the bus and that is my only regret from the night because I really like Ryan Seacrest,” the Andy Cohen Diaries author said on The Howard Stern Show, adding that their mutual bestie Kelly Ripa wasn’t upset with him. “He’s a really nice guy. And I was — as they say— in my cups, and I was kind of enjoying the rant. I was like, ‘Wow, it’s really fun being on CNN just ranting like a nutty guy. This is fun.’ So I kept going and that I felt bad about and I texted Ryan the next morning.”
In the days that followed, CNN released a statement in support of Cohen. “Andy said something he shouldn’t have on live TV. We’ve addressed it with him and look forward to having him back again next year,” the network said.
As preparations for the 2022-23 show began, however, Variety reported in November that CNN chairman Chris Licht wanted to sober up New Year’s Eve Live. Amid the speculation, Cohen declared on WWHL that he was going to “party harder” than ever and subsequently confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that he wasn’t kidding.
“What [Chris Licht] said was that he didn’t want the correspondents out there drinking, but that he wanted Anderson and I to do our thing,” Cohen said. “So I’m happy to do our thing. My only directive for years on CNN has been to have fun on New Year’s Eve, and that is absolutely what I plan to do.”
Seacrest, for his part, told Entertainment Weekly in December 2022 that he doesn’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,” he said before addressing Cohen’s diss for the first time. “[I don’t] think they would say what they said about our performers if they weren’t drinking. I might send them some Casa Dragones Tequila just to tempt them while they’re on the air.”
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