The co-hosts, continuing their annual tradition of reporting live from Times Square in New York City, celebrated early in the live show by each taking a shot of tequila. “It’s the top of the hour and we’ve been here for seven years doing this, and for most of those years at the top of the hour we typically have a toast,” Cohen said during CNN’s New Year’s Eve Live on 31 December.
Turning to Cooper, the Bravo executive producer asked: “I’m hearing from a lot of people and I guess I’m just wondering, does Daddy get his juice?”
“Can Daddy get his juice responsibly?” Cooper asked, to which Cohen replied: “Of course! Always.”
The Watch What Happens Live host then pulled out a bottle of silver tequila and shot glasses from his bag and poured his longtime friend a shot. “Anderson, love you so much. Thank you for having me,” Cohen said. “Cheers everybody, happy new year. Here we go.”
The co-hosts downed the tequila shots, as the Anderson Cooper 360 host visibility winced from the taste.
Cohen and Cooper remained sober during CNN’s 2022 New Year’s Eve coverage, amid the network’s reported scaling-back of the alcohol-fuelled annual broadcast. In November 2022, Variety reported that CNN was making a change to its New Year’s Eve coverage, in an article titled: “CNN Plans to Sober Up Boozy New Year’s Eve Coverage.”
Chris Licht, the company’s chairman and CEO, reportedly told CNN employees during a town hall discussion that drinking on camera damaged the “respectability” of the network. Cohen claimed that the announcement didn’t apply to him or Cooper, who has been hosting New Year’s Eve live since 2002. However, the pair elected to take shots of non-alcoholic beverages while ringing in 2023 in solidarity with the rest of the staff.
In the lead-up to this year’s live show, Cohen subtly made requests that the network allow him and Cooper to drink on-air. Speaking to E! News on 6 November, the producer was asked whether he planned on sneaking alcoholic drinks this year. “Hopefully, I will not be sneaking it,” Cohen said. “I haven’t heard anything yet, but come on, they need to let us drink.”
“It’s New Year’s Eve. That didn’t go well last year in terms of viewer happiness about us drinking,” he continued. “People really cared and I hope CNN gives the people what they want.”
During CNN’s New Year’s Eve Live on Sunday evening, Cohen and Cooper were joined with special appearances by singer John Mayer, actor Jeremy Renner, comedian Amy Sedaris, and Las Culturistas hosts Bowen Yang and Matt Rogers.