It’s Andy Cohen vs. Jesse Watters.
That’s the new battle in the New Year’s Eve cable television war that will unfold this weekend. CNN, which has typically reigned supreme as the ball drops, will now have to repeat its ratings victory against a pair of new hosts from Fox News and without the comedy of Kathy Griffin, who had co-led CNN’s big broadcast for a decade.
These shows are all about chemistry. But after Griffin’s now-infamous tweet about beheading Donald Trump, CNN quickly threw her overboard and set out to find a new partner for Anderson Cooper. They settled on Andy Cohen, who has developed some chemistry with the cable host (who he even, at one point, almost dated).
CNN last year claimed 3.04 million viewers, outperforming the audience for Fox News by about 300,000.
This year, Fox has also revamped its go-to act. Gone is Kimberly Guilfoyle. Gone is Eric Bolling, who Fox discarded amid a sexual harassment scandal. In their place is Fox Business host Kennedy and Watters, the pugilistic and often offensive correspondent.
The Fox pairing sees the turnover at both networks as an opportunity to shake up the rankings on a marquee night for television.
“There’s obviously a great fissure over at CNN and out of desperation they’re throwing Anderson and Andy together,” Kennedy said in an interview with The Wrap. “Jesse and I have this sort of natural chemistry that laboratories have tried to replicate and bottle for decades.”
Enjoy the smack talk.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.