THE GRAND CANYON SKYWALK
A Happy New Year wish from on the Grand Canyon Skywalk 4,000 up.
NEW YORK CITY
Victor Tate, that is his wife Tina, of Virginia, spending New Year's Eve in Times Square for the first time.
Anderson getting ready for the show.
COURTESY: Jack Gray
New Year's Eve revelers in Times Square.
COURTESY: Aspen Steib
The AC360° crew interviews people in the crowd.
COURTESY: Aspen Steib
CNN's Erica Hill and Aspen Steib in Times Square.
COURTESY: James Brierton
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/12/31/nye.crowd.stage.jpg caption="Check out Anderson and Kathy's view from the stage in Times Square."]
Executive Producer, New Year's Eve with Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin
It has taken months of preparation, planning, technical support… but the moment will soon be here. Hundreds of CNN producers, technicians, and staff have come together to put on a great show for viewers to usher in the new year. The year 2008 has been one of epic history. An unforgettable election, a new President about to take office, an economy that has tested our resilience. Anderson and Kathy are excited. And so are we. Join us, and have fun. Fun is the theme of tonight’s show. Enjoy the show.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/12/30/illinois.senate/art.gov.gi.jpg caption="I need not remind you that my hair is innocent until proven guilty."]
AC360 Associate Producer
It’s finally here, the last day of 2008. You didn’t think you’d make it, did you? Especially after you went on that bender in March and took the millions you made from that offshore monkey-fighting tournament and bet it all on Chris Dodd winning the presidency. But you toughed it out and survived. And now the only thing standing between you and a fresh start for the New Year is the 50/50 chance that sometime tonight you’re going to catch your significant other making out with your neighbor. Yeah, good luck with that.
I myself am taking a break this year from the New Year’s Eve party circuit. And by party circuit I mean sitting on my couch with my dog Sammy drinking warm beer out of a Dixie cup. Instead I’ll be producing for Anderson on location in Times Square as he hosts CNN’s New Year’s Eve Celebration alongside the wonderful Kathy Griffin. My duties will include guarding the champagne and making sure Dick Clark and Ryan Seacrest somehow wind up in New Jersey.
The show starts at 11:00pm Eastern Time and you’re guaranteed to have fun. If not, Anderson will personally come to your house, re-do the countdown in your living room while tossing authentic Times Square confetti and singing New York, New York in his best Larry King voice.
CNN Senior National Editor
What’s the spread on the big game?
At this writing the University of Florida is a three point favorite to beat Oklahoma University for the mythical championship of college football.
But let’s consider another spread. This one has the Gators at minus-346 and the Sooners at minus-238.
What’s this all about? We’ll get to that in a moment, but first a digression.
Years ago, a half dozen or so sports fans who work at CNN had a heated discussion over lunch regarding college sports.
What is the purpose of a university, a cynic asked, to educate or to put a top 10 football team on the field?
Listen, that football team provides publicity for the school and brings in money that supports other, “lesser” sports, one stalwart replied.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/CRIME/12/31/recession.robberies/art.robbery.nypd.jpg caption="A surveillance camera captures a bank robbery suspect in New York on December 2."]
CNN Financial News Producer
We wrap up 2008 with a rare bit of unexpectedly positive news. The number of Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits fell sharply last week as a year filled with layoffs draws to a close. Initial filings for state jobless benefits fell to 492,000 for the week ended Dec. 27, a decline of 94,000 from the prior week. It's the first time claims were below 500,000 since the week ended Nov. 1. But don’t pop the Champagne just yet… the number of unemployed that continue to draw benefits increased by 140,000 to 4.5 million. That’s the most since December 1982, when the country was emerging from a deep recession.
Stocks opened higher today as investors prepare for the New Year's holiday and react to a jobless claims report that was lower than expected. Wall Street is getting ready to close the books on the worst year for the Dow and the S&P 500 since 1931, and the worst year ever for the Nasdaq.
At 2:15 p.m. at the New York Stock Exchange, traders will gather on the floor and sing “Wait ‘Til the Sun Shines, Nellie.” Traders have sung this song on Christmas Eve and on the last trading day of every year going back to the 1930’s. It’s a song of hope for better times ahead.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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