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Kathy Griffin takes CNN

Posted by Kara Miller, Culture Club  December 20, 2010 08:58 PM

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Amidst all the seriousness of end-of-the-year lists and heart-wrenching Christmas reunion stories, a note of frivolity.

On New Year's Eve, CNN will reunite its marquis host - Anderson Cooper - with the ever-unpredictable, often-foul-mouthed Kathy Griffin. But why?

Griffin is - to my mind - a brilliant comedienne, though she frequently pushes the envelope with Cooper, often because she seems to reference his sexuality (something I have never known him to do on-air).

“Once again, I’m terrified to be co-hosting CNN’s New Year’s Eve show with Kathy Griffin,” Cooper said of this year's gig in Times Square. “It’s often bitterly cold, and yet after being with her for a few minutes on live television, I find myself drenched in sweat.”

And yet the duo works. In 2009, Griffin and Cooper lured more viewers than Fox News' Megyn Kelly and Bill Hemmer - a coup for CNN, which is almost always crushed by Fox's ratings.

But Griffin uttered an expletive during last year's broadcast, prompting CNN to issue an apologetic email. And the website PopEater quickly reported that the network would not invite Griffin back.

Apparently, though, if Griffin can bring viewers, CNN is willing to take its chances - meaning that this New Year's Eve should make for an intense (and eminently watchable) reunion.

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About the author

Kara Miller is an Assistant Professor of English, specializing in journalism, at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth. She also serves as a guest panelist on WGBH-TV's “Beat the Press” and contributes to 89.7 FM WGBH (NPR). More »

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