CNN, in its distinct New Year’s Eve style, rang in 2020 by celebrating around the country with correspondents in various stages of intoxication, much to the delight of viewers.

Journalist Anderson Cooper and TV personality Andy Cohen hosted the news network’s coverage together for the third year in a row, and they pivoted to CNN anchors, musical guests, and correspondents at New Year’s Eve parties across the country, including in Palm Beach, Fla., Nashville, and Las Vegas. Cohen continued his tradition of plying Cooper and various guests with shots of liquor during the broadcast, including tequila and Jägermeister.

The duo started drinking on air just after 8 p.m.


Cooper, whose news program “Anderson Cooper 360," has won nine Emmys, has a habit of making horrified faces while drinking, and CNN appeared happy to capitalize on his viral reactions, which continued throughout the evening. After one of several shots, taken while speaking to rapper 50 Cent in Miami, Cooper held his face together long enough for the camera to cut away from their guest. Then he gagged.

“I didn’t want to explode in front of 50 Cent,” he sputtered. “I was trying to seem cool in front of him.”

Later in the show, just before midnight, the Peabody Award-winning anchor asked the age-old question: “What is Jäger?”

Cooper has hosted the network’s New Year’s Eve programming for more than a decade and was joined for years by comedian Kathy Griffin, known for countering Cooper’s normally serious demeanor with raucous behavior and R-rated jokes, including appearing on stage in her underwear in 2011.

Since Griffin’s firing from the cohost spot in 2017, Cohen has taken on a lead role on the Times Square set. CNN hosts Don Lemon and Brooke Baldwin have anchored the show’s Central Time countdown and shot their segments from New Orleans, where they have had no trouble finding the party. Lemon notably got drunk and pierced his ear on New Year’s Eve 2016, before discussing his dissatisfaction with his love life.


Lemon and Baldwin were in Nashville to ring in 2020 and celebrated with musicians and partiers alike. Just before midnight Eastern Time, Lemon teased a big reveal akin to his ear piercing.

It turned out that Lemon had a pair of tattoos – though they appeared temporary – on his forearms that read “Lemon 2020." Baldwin was among those surprised by Lemon’s “announcement,” before dismissing the tattoos (and Lemon’s campaign) as fake.

“What is happening?” she asked. “Normally we’re in on this together. You are genuinely surprising me.”

The network didn’t deploy breathalyzers on the air so it’s unclear whether or not the journalists and hosts involved were actually intoxicated, but they looked to be having a party to close out 2019.

Peter Bailey-Wells can be reached at peter.bailey-wells@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @pbaileywells.