It’s no secret that when it comes to New Year’s Eve programming on cable news, CNN reigns supreme. For the last five years, the network has walloped Fox News and MSNBC in the ratings, particularly among the all important 25-54 year old advertiser coveted demographic in the critical 10 p.m. to midnight hours.
This year, however, Fox News is hoping to break the cycle with network cool kids Kennedy and Jesse Watters leading the channel’s coverage from Times Square for the big moment. It’s the first time the pair will host the main event as a duo.
Kennedy currently hosts her own eponymous program “Kennedy” on Fox Business, while Watters co-hosts “The Five” and his own weekend show “Watters World.”
“The plan is to maximize the amazingness for people viewing at home,” Kennedy told TheWrap. “They’ll have something that’s patriotic, that’s lovable, adorable, conversational and alluring.”
CNN is facing headwinds this year after they were forced to drop Kathy Griffin from the event after images emerged of the comedian holding a bloodied head resembling President Trump. Griffin was swapped out from the blockbuster New Year’s Eve pairing with Anderson Cooper and replaced by Andy Cohen — a solid, but untested choice for the network.
Kennedy said she saw an opportunity.
“There’s obviously a great fissure over at CNN and out of desperation they’re throwing Anderson and Andy together,” she said.
“I don’t think that’s going to translate to TV. Jesse and I have this sort of natural chemistry that laboratories have tried to replicate and bottle for decades. Anderson and Andy simply don’t have the same kind of chemistry.”
A CNN spokesperson did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment on the barb.
The Kennedy/Watters team replaces the unfortunate pairing of Eric Bolling and Kimberly Guilfoyle, who led coverage in 2016. Bolling left Fox News in 2017 under a cloud of sexual misconduct accusations.
Kennedy promised a “60/40” mix of planning and spontaneity would be in store for the big night.
The network’s New Year’s extravaganza will run from 8 p.m. ET until 1 a.m. ET.
Before Kennedy and Watters take the stage, they will be preceded by a “Countdown to 2018” special featuring channel regular Ed Henry alongside contributor Lisa Boothe and actor Dean Cain.