Ryan Seacrest talks on-air drinking for New Year’s Eve, Andy Cohen jab


Ryan Seacrest isn’t a fan of boozy New Year’s Eve broadcasts.

The host of ABC’s “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” applauded CNN in an interview with Entertainment Weekly Monday for the network’s decision to reportedly reduce drinking on-air, which has led to some live TV antics from CNN co-hosts Andy Cohen and Anderson Cooper.

“I don’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)” Seacrest said.

The TV host was the target of New Year’s Eve revelry last year, after Cohen and Anderson took tequila shots during the special. At one point, Cohen dissed Seacrest and his “group of losers performing.”

“I’m sorry, but if you’re watching ABC, you’re watching nothing,” the “Watch What Happens Live” host said. Cohen later regretted the moment, saying on his SiriusXM show “Radio Andy” that he was “just stupid and drunk and feeling it.”

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Seacrest referenced the dig, telling EW, “I think there’s a serious journalist and then a friend of mine who has a lot of fun, but it’s probably a good idea (to reduce alcohol). Although the viewers probably wish they would drink more. But I think they had something to say about my show at one point, which was I’m sure from the alcohol because, I don’t think they would say what they said about our performers if they weren’t drinking.”

“I think our show’s a bigger, broader show and we will not drink until 1:05 in the morning,” he added. “Although, I might send them some Casa Dragones Tequila just to tempt them while they’re on the air.”

What have CNN, Andy Cohen said about the drinking? 

CNN’s new CEO, Chris Licht has reportedly called for coverage with less booze. Variety says that during a November town hall, Licht expressed to staff “on-camera drinking eroded the credibility of CNN personnel and damaged the ‘respectability’ they may enjoy among viewers.” 

Cohen later told The Hollywood Reporter that nothing about their celebration will change. “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,” the Bravo host told the outlet. “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.”

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What else did Cohen and Cooper say during the NYE special?

Cohen’s drunken criticism on New Year’s Eve last year was also extended to the rock band Journey, former New York City mayor Bill de Blasio and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (“You are messing with all of us”). The “Watch What Happens Live” host criticized Journey’s performance on “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” since Steve Perry was not involved and that it wasn’t an authentic representation of the band.

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In 2020, the pair’s broadcast bid farewell to the first year of the pandemic. Cohen memorably called it the “end of a fecal year.”

However, it hasn’t been all slights and barbs.

Cohen and Cooper both took time during the 2021 broadcast to acknowledge the death of actor Betty White, who died early on Dec. 31. “First, we need to pay tribute to the great Betty White who passed away today,” Cohen said, with Cooper adding, “What an incredible, incredible person, what an incredible life.”

How long have Cohen and Cooper been hosting together?

The co-host’s boozy New Year’s Eve show has been a staple on CNN since the friends teamed up in 2017. Cohen replaced Kathy Griffin after she was fired for posting a video of herself holding a mask styled to look like the severed head of then-President Donald Trump. Cooper and Griffin hosted together from 2007 to 2017.

Cohen and Cooper’s CNN show will once again compete with Seacrest’s ABC festivities with both broadcasts starting at 8 p.m. EST/PST. Despite the chatter around CNN’s 2021 show, ABC still dominated its competitors with the most viewership, according to the Nielsen company. 

Contributing: Erin Jensen, Edward Segarra, Bill Keveney, Bryan Alexander USA TODAY; The Associated Press

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