Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen are ringing in 2024 in a decidedly less sober manner than last year after CNN apparently lifted its short-lived no-booze-on-the-broadcast mandate Sunday night for on-air personalities.
Cooper and Cohen threw back shots of tequila in Times Square just after 8 p.m., while promising to do the same every hour—as per tradition.
“So we’ve been here for seven years doing this, and for most of those years…” Cohen said before trailing off.
“Are you asking about alcohol?” Cooper replied.
“I guess I’m just wondering, does daddy get his juice?” Cohen joked, breaking out shots of tequila just moments later.
Last year CNN’s crew of on-air personalities had been barred from enjoying their traditional New Year’s Eve libations via an edict from the network’s new CEO, Chris Licht.
But the policy seems to have reverted following Licht’s ouster back in June—and after months of pleading by Cohen, who told reporters during a red carpet appearance in November that he believed 2022’s sober experiment had been an unequivocal flop.
“It’s New Year’s Eve!” he told E! News reporter Justin Sylvester last month. “[The no-drinking policy] didn’t go well last year in terms of viewer happiness. People really cared and I hope CNN gives the people what they want.”
Sunday night’s festivities are also taking place under the shadow of planned pro-Palestinian protests that are expected to coincide with the annual New Year’s Eve celebration in New York City Sunday night.
The New York Police Department and several major television networks—including CNN—spent the last few days preparing for the worst.
Cops in the Big Apple previously declared a “heightened threat environment” in the wake of Hamas’ brutal Oct. 7 attack on Israel.
Unruly demonstrators already managed to interrupt the city’s annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade last month—putting police on high alert Sunday for a repeat performance. A source within the NYPD told Deadline that they expect the law enforcement presence at Sunday’s celebration to be “significantly greater than usual.”
Mayor Eric Adams said Sunday at a press conference that there was no specific threat police were preparing for—but that the city is still taking every precaution. He pointed to a bloody attack which took place during last year’s New Year’s Eve celebration, in which a machete-wielding teen slashed three NYPD officers. The 19-year-old later claimed his opposition to U.S. support for Israel as motivation for the attack.
“As we saw last year, after having no specific threats we get a threat, and we are going to be ready,” Adams said of the preparations for Sunday’s festivities. “The full complement of our public safety apparatus will be on display.”
A protest titled “Shut It Down! For Palestine” is scheduled to begin Sunday evening in Columbus Circle, the site of CNN’s New York City headquarters. Though the network—as well as ABC, which hosts its own annual New Year’s Eve live coverage in New York City—deferred to the NYPD on questions of security when contacted by Deadline, a source close to the cable networks told the trade publication: “We are prepared for anything and everything, especially when it comes to the safety of our team.”
Up to 1 million people expected to flock to Times Square for the festivities.
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