When new leadership takes over a company, there are usually major changes to long-standing traditions. Sometimes, those are good changes. And sometimes, they are just uncalled for. Unfortunately, for fans of fun, CNN chairman and CEO Chris Licht has decided to take away one of our most beloved holiday traditions: drunk Don Lemon.
If you actually have plans on New Year’s Eve, and don’t get to enjoy the spectacle that is the newsman counting down to midnight, allow me to enlighten you: Every Dec. 31, CNN schedules Lemon to anchor its NYE coverage after 12:30 a.m. ET. And like any hilarious uncle, as the night goes on he drinks more and more until the normally buttoned up anchor turns into the life of the party. Sadly, I guess, the new boss wants to put an end to all the alcohol-fueled shenanigans.
According to Variety, on Tuesday, Licht held a town-hall meeting where he told employees he “felt on-camera drinking eroded the credibility of CNN personnel and damaged the ‘respectability’ they may enjoy among viewers.” Apparently, Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen will still be allowed to consume alcohol on the primetime Times Square broadcast, but everyone else will have to sober up for the night.
First of all, no one is looking for “respectability” in their New Year’s Eve coverage. Secondly, the only reason anyone watches CNN that night is to see Don Lemon get sloppy drunk. In fact, the loosened up vibe actually helps viewers relate to the anchors as regular people. I understand Licht wants to change the perception of the network and its personalities, but this seems like an overcorrection. New Year’s Eve TV is supposed to be about lighthearted fun and cool musical performances. You can bring back the responsible, respectable CNN on Jan. 1.
If Don Lemon is not on my TV getting his ear pierced or ranting about being a “grown ass man” I have absolutely no reason to hang out with CNN. I have zero interest in more gossipy, overdramatic Real Housewives stories from Andy Cohen.