Andy Cohen Recalls Backlash After Taking Over Kathy Griffin on CNN’s New Year’s Eve Special

Andy Cohen is becoming the king of late-night television. Not only is the Bravo personality the host of Watch What Happens Live, he is also the presenter of CNN’s New Year’s Eve special. Cohen hosts the celebration to ring in the new year with pal Anderson Cooper and the duo is heading into its third year. It wasn’t all fun and games for Cohen as the first year that he fronted the special he received major backlash.

Kathy Griffin and Andy Cohen
Kathy Griffin and Andy Cohen | Michael Tran/FilmMagic

Kathy Griffin had hosted the special for 10 years with Cooper, starting in 2007. In 2017, the comedian was fired from the gig after she posted a photo of her holding a severed Donald Trump head. As a replacement, Cohen stepped in to take hosting duties but it was not all celebratory for him.

“The first year was pretty negative on Twitter,” Cohen revealed on Jeff Lewis Live. “On that first [New Year’s Eve] where we were trending, and [a media outlet] wrote ‘Twitter hates Andy Cohen,’ on [New Year’s Eve] and they put together a slide show together of 30 of the meanest tweets about me on… I would say that was rough for me. It was kind of debilitating.”

View this post on Instagram

Let’s hang out on New Year’s Eve! #Applejacks

A post shared by Andy Cohen (@bravoandy) on

Cohen called his mom to get her perspective on his job on air but she confessed she only “saw half of it” while the rest was left recorded.

“I’m really depressed and upset,” Cohen recalled telling his mom. “I think it was so bad and people are really saying it was bad or whatever.”

Although the Real Housewives producer was bummed the Twitter comments were negative, Bravo announced it was the highest-rated telecast.

“The cloud over my head lifted. It was later that night that they emailed. They go, ‘It was the highest-rated in CNN history,” Cohen revealed.

View this post on Instagram

Spend New Years Eve with friends! #CNNNYE

A post shared by Andy Cohen (@bravoandy) on

Andy Cohen hints at ‘RHOC’ shakeup

Elsewhere in the Cohen universe are The Real Housewives of Orange County. During the same interview with Lewis, he dropped hints of cast changes to the original Housewives franchise.

“I will tell you this. The casting for next season is some of the best casting we’ve had,” Cohen told Lewis. “I have not been this excited about casting in a long time.”

The current lineup for RHOC includes Shannon Beador, Tamra Judge, Gina Kirschenheiter, Emily Simpson, Kelly Dodd, and Braunwyn Windham-Burke. Vicki Gunvalson, the OG of the OC, was only a “friend of” in season 14 and not a full-time housewife.

Gunvalson’s spot for season 15 is not yet known, but Cohen insists that the casting is going to be great.

“No matter how it shakes out, it’s going to be great because we have great casting. It’s hard to make moves when you don’t have a bench, both on the show and casting wise,” Cohen added.

The Bravo producer said it’s always a tough call to make changes in the cast because there are great people waiting and great people on the show now.

“What I mean is, it’s like Bethenny leaving, it’s like Vanderpump leaving… there’s already a great bench of superstars,” Cohen continued. “So ultimately, you’re upset that those people are leaving. You might have to make a hard call on Orange County, but there are great people on the show right now and there are great people waiting. You have to figure it out.”

The new season of RHOC is set to start production in the first quarter of 2020.