CNN experienced quite the blunder during its New Year's Eve coverage. As Deadline reported, the network missed its own countdown to the New Year in the central time zone. Instead, viewers watched as Don Lemon danced to Juvenile's "Back That Azz Up" as the clock struck midnight.
Lemon was in New Orleans for New Year's Eve. Even though the anchors were banned from drinking on the air, he still appeared to have a great time. Although, he did miss the biggest moment of the night. As he danced with the crowd and threw out beads, those in the central time zone celebrated the New Year. Deadline noted that Lemon appeared to mumble something about the countdown shortly after midnight. After the clock hit midnight, someone could be heard saying, "Are y'all ready for this countdown?"
CNN has redeemed itself by ringing in the new year in New Orleans with "Back That Azz Up" and not acknowledging the stroke of midnight in any way pic.twitter.com/tieCeHc4sA— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) January 1, 2023
CNN then showcased celebrations from other locations in the central time zone. It's unclear what led to the mishap. On social media, some users speculated that Lemon had trouble hearing producers during the broadcast. Regardless, it led to a moment to remember for CNN's New Year's Eve coverage this year.
Leading up to the broadcast, there was much talk about how the network would handle the celebrations. It was reported that the anchors would not be allowed to drink on the air. Originally, it was reported that Andy Cohen and Anderson Cooper would still be allowed to drink. Cohen even spoke with PopCulture.com in November and said that he would still be living it up during the show, saying, "People thought that I wasn't going to be drinking. I'm like, 'have you met me?' I will be drinking responsibly on New Year's Eve, but I will be leaning into the spirit of the night as I always do."
However, days before the show, it was announced that the decision was subsequently reversed. Cohen told Page Six, "We aren't drinking, but we're going to have a BLAST." Instead of having a few alcoholic beverages, Cohen and Cooper decided to drink mystery shots throughout the show at the top of every hour. They got to enjoy pickle juice, apple cider vinegar, bloody mary mix, and buttermilk. None of the shots went over particularly well, with Cooper remarking after taking the apple cider vinegar that it tasted like "the squeezed juice of a leather shoe." Cohen then joked, "I need tequila! Honestly!"