CNN wins New Year's Eve ratings race despite ousting Kathy Griffin

CNN wins New Year's Eve ratings race despite ousting Kathy Griffin
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CNN's New Year's Eve Special with Anderson Cooper and new co-host Andy Cohen paid big dividends for the cable news network in the ratings department.

"New Year’s Eve Live with Anderson Cooper & Andy Cohen was CNN’s most-watched New Year’s Eve special ever," according to a release from CNN's public relations department.

Some observers believed the loss of ousted co-host Kathy Griffin would lead to a drop in viewers for the network. The network dropped Griffin from the special, a long-standing role, after she appeared in a photo shoot holding up a prop made to look like President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: I hope voters pay attention to Dem tactics amid Kavanaugh fight South Korea leader: North Korea agrees to take steps toward denuclearization Graham calls handling of Kavanaugh allegations 'a drive-by shooting' MORE’s decapitated head.

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"Cooper and Cohen rang in the new year as No. 1 in the time period in ALL of cable in total viewers and in the demos on Sunday night," CNN said.

The CNN special ranked as the top-rated program on basic cable, drawing 3.284 million total viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research.

The Cooper-Cohen duo received mostly tepid viewer reviews, but the show was up by eight percent in total viewers during the hours of 11 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. over 2016, and up one percent in the key 25 to 54 demographic advertisers covet most with 1.296 million viewers in the category versus 1.284 million last year.

The numbers in both categories make it the most-watched New Year's Eve Special ever for the 38-year-old network.

CNN also featured reporter Randi Kaye covering a "Puff-and-Pass" marijuana bus party in Colorado, which included Kaye lighting a bong for one attendee.

Fox News, which featured new co-hosts Jesse Watters and Lisa "Kennedy" Montgomery, finished second with 2.423 million viewers and 608,000 in the key demographic.

MSNBC, which offered a repeat of the special, "The Year's 10 Most ... with Brian Williams and Nicolle Wallace" finished third with 286,000 total viewers and 65,000 in the 25-54 demographic.