Viewers tuning into New Year’s Eve coverage on television would have found familiar offerings on the broadcast and cable news networks.
CBS and MSNBC both forewent New Year’s Eve coverage. CBS viewers were treated to local programming while MSNBC became the place for news, especially with the breaking news out of Istanbul that the other New Years Eve-focused programs largely ignored.
On Fox News, Kimberly Guilfoyle and Eric Bolling hosted the annual All-American New Year from 10 PM until 1 AM. Earlier in the evening, Kennedy (Lisa Montgomery) and Jesse Watters started coverage at 8 PM, going until 10. During the 9 PM hour, a Marine proposed to his girlfriend on-air and she accepted. Later in the 11 P.M. hour, a military family was given a custom-built house. However, Fox News also sprinkled in some more bizarre moments, such as a cameo from Times Square street performer, Robert Burck, otherwise known as the Naked Cowboy. Reporters also joined from across the country, reporting on New Year’s festivities.
On CNN, Kathy Griffin and Anderson Cooper returned for their tenth year of hosting, an anniversary that they marked throughout the night. The duo started at 8 PM and went until 12:30 AM. Throughout the night, they were joined by Brooke Baldwin and Don Lemon, who continued their New Orleans-based tradition. Baldwin and Lemon also anchored coverage from 12:30 until 1 A.M., ushering the Central timezone into 2017. Lemon, who noted how #DrunkDonLemon trended last year, seemed intent to make his antics all the more wild. He served tequila shots to patrons (the two aired live from a bar) and partook in several himself. Throughout the night, the two asked if Lemon should get a tattoo or piercing and CNN viewers were able to watch a drunk Lemon get his ear pierced live on television. The piercing was one of the most reported on moments from New Year’s coverage, after Mariah Carey’s performance. CNN’s format was relatively standard. Griffin and Cooper were on the majority of the time. Griffin’s antics were relatively calm as she wrapped Cooper in tin foil (the tenth anniversary is marked with tin), but she did try to escape CNN’s railed area and get at ABC’s Ryan Seacrest. Griffin has claimed on-air for the past several years that Seacrest is out to kill her. The two were joined by reporters from across the country and puppet likenesses of themselves. However, the Kathy Griffin puppet was “politically correct” while the Anderson Cooper puppet was more suggestive. Richard Quest reported from Times Square and had a different outfit each hour, celebrating a different element of New York City. Randi Kaye reported from Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas and said she would visit every one of the ship’s cruises. Kaye even broadcast the making of a Cranky Anchor, an alcoholic drink complete with Jeffrey Lord ice cubes.
On NBC, Carson Daly continued to anchor the New Year’s Eve festivities with co-host Melanie Brown. His special was an hourlong, going from 11:30 PM to 12:30 AM. However, the night kicked off with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb and their A Toast to 2016!, a two hour retrospective of the year. At 10 PM, NBC did something new and different and had a special edition of Late Night with Seth Meyers. Meyers had Kelly Clarkson, Leslie Jones, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Jennifer Lawrence on. Daly’s program boasted of performances from Pentatonix, Jennifer Lopez, Alicia Keys, and Blake Shelton.
ABC continued with their dominant Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest. The special, which marked its 45th anniversary, started at 8 PM. Seacrest was also joined by singer Fergie and Jenny McCarthy. There were several performances, but the most talked about was Mariah Carey’s. The pop culture phenomenon sang “Auid Lang Syne” and then went to sing “Emotions.” However, she struggled to sing the song and then stopped. As the music continued playing, she paced on the stage, complaining about the lack of a proper sound check, and then said, “Let the audience sing,” before holding out the microphone to the audience. Carey then tried to move onto the next song, “We Belong Together,” but another technical error caused her to stop singing.
“It is what it is,” she said. Then she continued, “It just don’t get any better,” before she and 2016 departed. After that ball drop, the actual ball fell and 2017 was ushered in.