by Jack Davis
After CNN issued a memo to ensure its New Year’s Eve hosts did not foul up their shows for on-air drinking, CNN host Don Lemon missed the boat on ushering in 2023.
Lemon was hosting a live show in New Orleans aimed at welcoming 2023 in America’s Central Time Zone.
As Juvenile’s “Back That Azz Up” was playing on the speakers and the crowd began reacting to the stroke of midnight, Lemon was throwing beaded necklaces into the crowd.
After saying “that’s how we started,” Lemon asked the crowd if they were “ready for this countdown.”
The incident earned CNN a round of mockery on Twitter.
The Washington Post noted that CNN boss Chris Licht had asked hosts Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen not to drink on air this New Year’s Eve.
Last year, Cohen went on a live rant about outgoing New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio after saying he was over-served. Other incidents involving Lemon and Cooper dotted past coverage.
The Post said it was told by a source that Licht in November had ruled out on-air drinking.
“I’m not looking for a bunch of my respectful talent to be out there all night doing shots. That will be different. I don’t think that builds credibility,” he said.
Former CNN anchor Carol Costello, who teaches journalism at Loyola Marymount University, agreed.
“I never liked the idea of anchors getting tipsy on air. Maybe I’m old school, but I don’t want to see the person informing me about civilian deaths in Ukraine and why they’re happening sloshed,” she said.
Frank Sesno, a former CNN Washington bureau chief, said drinking on TV is “simply out of character with personalities they try to be the rest of the year.”