December 31st, 2008
04:19 PM ET

For Auld Lang Syne and Rod Blagojevich's Bangs

[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."]
Jack Gray
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.

Bill and Hillary Clinton will also be on hand in Times Square tonight.  They’ll be helping Michael Bloomberg with the Ball Drop.  So don’t be surprised if instead of lighting up to display “2009” at midnight the ball will light up to display “Hillary 2016.”

And it’s certainly shaping up to be an exciting new year in Chicago, what with Governor Rod “The law said no but my feathered bangs said oh yes” Blagojevich’s appointment of Roland “I applaud the efforts to remove Rod Blagojevich from office unless of course he decides to appoint me” Burris to the United States Senate and all.

And the New Year is getting off to an exciting start in Alaska, too. Bristol Palin and her beau Levi Johnston welcomed a baby boy into the world this week.  The newborn’s name is Tripp, which is Alaskan for “My parents just scored $300,000 from People magazine for my baby photos.”  The governor's grandson was sent home from the hospital after the standard two days, at which time he promptly shot his first moose.

And here’s some exciting news:  I’ve been given the green light to live blog the Golden Globes on Sunday January 11th and the Academy Awards on Sunday February 22nd.  I know you’ll have lots of live blog options for those nights but I hope you’ll choose to join me here on AC360.com because, well, I don’t want to brag, but I did once work at a video store/tanning parlor so I’m basically an expert on Hollywood.

In the meantime, Happy New Year.  Here’s to good health, good luck and bold gubernatorial hairstyles.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Jack Gray • New Year's Eve 2008 • Raw Politics
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. EJ (USA)

    Happy New Year Jack.

    January 1, 2009 at 5:15 am |
  2. David, Indiana

    I've read your posts Jack but have never posted a comment here, but I thought I would try. First of all Happy upcoming in a few minutes New Year to all of you there at 360 and at CNN and everyone blogging and everyone. Times square always looks like a total blast. I'd love to be there sometime on New Year's eve. Why not more world wide coverage of the New Year's peach coming to earth in Atlanta?

    December 31, 2008 at 11:29 pm |
  3. Megan Dresslar- Shoreline, WA

    Hellooo Jack!!!
    Happy New Year to you!!!!!! I hope you have fun party time!!!! Right now I am watching Anderson and Kathy on CNN-TV at home..... I am so exciting get ready new year 2009!!!!!!!!! I am pump up myself to see 2009!!!! Happy New Year to all of you, Jack, Anderson, Erica, Kathy,
    Don, Ed, and best bloggers!!! Have fun party!!!!!

    December 31, 2008 at 11:20 pm |
  4. Brandi - bottom of the boot

    Dearest Jack,

    i already know im not going to enjoy this evening. my chihuahua had a seizure earlier from the fireworks already being set off and they have only gotten louder and multiplied 100 times so she has now had a half a xanax and has earplugs in trying to keep her calm so she does not have another seizure. also, my own disaronno has not seemed to ease my anxiety.

    so, could you just pencil me into andersons make-up NYE schedule??? 🙂

    December 31, 2008 at 8:55 pm |
  5. Helen Bullen, Reading, UK

    Hey everyone, me again! Well, Big Ben has bonged to bring in the New Year and I'm in bed, having managed to see my way through a bottle of rosé (I'm a classy bird, you know, I don't do boxes!) and copious amounts of chicken nuggets. Have a great time y'all, embrace the hangover x x

    December 31, 2008 at 8:35 pm |
  6. jrq

    Happy New Year Jack. And thank you for all of your wonderful blogs. You seem to be the only one we can count on not ripping us off.

    I'll toast you and AC on my sofa this year!

    December 31, 2008 at 8:17 pm |
  7. Jaime M. Mesa,AZ

    Hey Jack and 360krew,
    Thanks for 2008 for when I have been well enough to watch, you all delivered, hope the next year brings HAPPY news and you lucky dog to cover the Obama inaug and the GG!
    sincerely jmedvm ps good luck keeping the BLEEP outta the broadcast!(and any non giggle comments from your soon to be Blushin' Cooper!)

    December 31, 2008 at 7:46 pm |
  8. Mary, Dublin, Ireland

    I want to wish everyone a very happy 2009, and hope its as good as the 2008 I just had. And to those of you who have had a rough time, new year means new start, we all get a do-over so lets make the most of it.

    Happy New Year to everyone at AC360 and CNN!


    December 31, 2008 at 7:25 pm |
  9. Roweena D'Souza, Mangalore

    delectable as always 🙂 Will try to catch the show, although it is past 2009 already here.

    Jack, hope you have a fun time and Happy New Year 2009.

    December 31, 2008 at 7:16 pm |
  10. Annie Kate

    Hey Jack

    Seems just like yesterday we were watching Anderson ring in 2008 in NYC. The year certainly went fast; I guess all that politics kept us all busy and we didn't notice the time slipping past us so fast. Do you have resolutions – or does Sammy? My cat Oscar has resolved to start meowing for his supper earlier each night; after all it has to be 6pm somewhere in the world, right?

    I get tickled at this hair fetish everyone has about Blagojevich's mop of hair. I really think he in reality doesn't have that much – he just knows how to inflate it to make it look like a lot. Anderson ought to get his secret; when he gets his hair cut he looks positively bare in places. Does he go to a barber college to get his hair cut – you know the kind where a student cuts your hair and the further back in the room you go the cheaper it gets because the experience level drops precipitously. I figure Anderson goes to the very back where haircuts are free and no evenness in the cut is guaranteed...or even possible since he is their first guinea pig.

    You and Sammy have a great New Year and if you have to beep out the objectionable things Kathy says I hope your finger won't be sore tomorrow because it will get a lot of work out tonight!

    December 31, 2008 at 6:59 pm |
  11. Don, WA

    What's a new year without predictions – Jack Gray's beloved dog Sammy will quit smoking (cigarettes). Jack Gray will stop drinking out of paper cups. Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffen will star in the movie version of "I Love Lucy." Erica Hill will be asked to be the new white house press secretary when she gets the Blagojevich exclusive and boldly asks "what's that thing on your head?" Ed Henry will move to hawaii to write novels and surf. Women will vote David Gergan as 2009's sexiest man alive. Larry King will star in ghostbusters 3 (or 4, whatever) and Wolf Blitzer will start wearing suspenders. Oh and Beat 360 will redesign its t-shirt.
    Happy New Year!

    December 31, 2008 at 6:53 pm |
  12. anne,nfld,canada

    Happy New Year to Anderson,and the entire 360 team,crew,and staff.....

    Bill and Hillary are helping to press the "BUDDON" this evening??LOL

    ......."if not,Anderson will personally come to your house,re-do the countdown........."

    Is THAT a promise,Jack???


    December 31, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  13. Gene Penszynski from Vermont

    P.S. and Oh by the way (BTW) Jack .... El Blago may just surprise everyone here ........ This is far from being a slam dunk case folks and his 'choice' for President-elect Obama's senate seat may just hold up in court . Stay tuned ............

    December 31, 2008 at 4:46 pm |
  14. keri

    "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."

    I'm not having fun.

    December 31, 2008 at 4:41 pm |
  15. keri

    This could be like The Gong Show

    December 31, 2008 at 4:39 pm |
  16. Gene Penszynski from Vermont

    Jack great as always. thanks fro bringing some cheer into our lives :-).

    December 31, 2008 at 4:34 pm |
  17. Lorie Ann, Buellton, California

    Happy New Year, Jack. Oh my, is it Auld Lang Syne time again? As they say, "Nostalgia takes the potholes out of Memory Lane." I'm glad the Waterford crystal ball company doesn't need a bailout too. I'd hate to hear that next year the big ball will be made of recycled glass chips imported from the dump. Sometimes in life, you just have to spend the big bucks to remember what the big bucks looked like. Ahh, Nostalgia. Take care

    Lorie Ann, Buellton, Calif.

    December 31, 2008 at 4:31 pm |
  18. Jennifer in DC

    Hmm, is that all it takes to get Anderson and his jar of confetti to come visit, feeling "disappointed" already. 🙂

    Just one word of advice... with Kathy on hand, be on your toes and near that buzzer. Looking forward to watching tonight! Have fun yourself and stay warm.

    Happy New Year Jack! Oh and Happy New Year to Sammy too!

    December 31, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  19. Dulcie

    Hope you have fun producing Anderson & Kathy this year! I can't imagine what that might be like after last night's show. Big job.

    I'm curling up with a box of quality wine to watch the entertainment. I can't wait – I get to leave work in an hour or so to prepare.

    Thanks for all the great blog entries this year!

    December 31, 2008 at 3:59 pm |
  20. Barbara Foss Florida

    READ MY LIPS: Happy New Year CNN!!!

    December 31, 2008 at 3:56 pm |
  21. keri

    Hey Jack! Happy New Year! Have loved your blogs this year. Looking forward to watching you and Ryan tonight!

    December 31, 2008 at 2:18 pm |
  22. Helen Bullen, Reading, UK

    Greetings all from England! Jack, I'm out tonight and will most likely be tucked up in my old bed back at my parents when you are dropping the ball over there! I must therefore insist that you put Cooperman on the first plane to London (mind you, I reckon he could stick his pants on over his tights and fly himself, ha, ha) where I will be happy to feed him leftover mince pies while he recreates Times Square in my living room. Having said that, dear Jack, you and Sammy have an open invitation to join me on this side of the pond! I'm not that familiar with Kathy Griffin, but reading the blogs I'm getting the distinct impression that people would rather not watch her. I'll reserve judgment till I've watched, but it seems to me that Sammy would be an excellent replacement, should Ms G mysteriously end up in NJ with Dick and Ryan..Anyway, enjoy yourself tonight. Here's hoping that 2009 brings everyone all they wish for! Lots of love to you, Sammy, Anderson, Erica, David G, the bloggers and all at AC360 x x x x

    December 31, 2008 at 2:01 pm |
  23. Carol B., Virginia

    Will there also be holograms tonight? If you're the only one seeing them, just explain to A & K that you're "Not as think as you drunk I am." One of the nice things about getting older is wanting to remember the good stuff with family & friends. Have a great '09!

    December 31, 2008 at 1:38 pm |
  24. Michelle

    Happy New Year Jack. You are one of my blog favs
    I hope in 2009 we on see your blog post on television.
    Maybe it can be a way for CNN to promo 360 during
    the day. Let's hope in 2009 you can get Anderson and
    team 360 to let viewers become contributors by submitting
    news items that can be covered on 360. I will be watching.

    December 31, 2008 at 1:21 pm |
  25. Maria

    Happy New Year Eve
    I like the Hillary 2016, its going to be tradition till 2016… Jack when you will use vlog instead of blog??? No one can deny you are expert in Hollywood, with all the experience you mentioned along with your hairstyle fashion, movie attendance record, Ph.D. (Pizza Hut Delivery), Sammy, Anderson Cooper, and on the top of that you are bold…you are the right person for the vlog…Jack I have question for you, are they going to tax espresso on 2009, if they did, I will behave like Italians and drink cappuccino only at breakfast and I will stop the late night drive thru cappuccino.…
    Finally 2008 will be over, lucky enough; my mind was on holiday for most of the year.
    I wish you all groovy time 🙂 tonight….. I trust 2009 will hold a lot; and I wish it happy, healthy, fruitful and lucky year for all.
    Happy 2009

    December 31, 2008 at 12:45 pm |
  26. Jill

    Looking forward to seeing AC and Kathy Griffin tonight. 2 of my favs!

    December 31, 2008 at 12:26 pm |
  27. Sandra, Ga.

    Happy New Year Jack and all at CNN. I'll be watching, or if I say I'll not watch, will Anderson really show up tonight at my house?

    Another question,Jack. Will the authorities shave Blagojevich's head, for sanitary purposes, before being led to his cell? I heard this is a possibility.

    Don't forget to drink a cup of kindess with Sammy tonight!! See ya.

    December 31, 2008 at 12:23 pm |
  28. EJ (USA)

    The governor’s grandson was sent home from the hospital after the standard two days, at which time he promptly shot his first moose.

    bwahaha – hopefully they made video of that

    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.

    That would be too cool. I'm almost tempted to not have fun so I can see that happen.

    Happy New Year Jack! Have lots of fun tonight.

    December 31, 2008 at 11:43 am |
  29. pati mc., camp hill, pa

    Happy New Year Jack!

    Whoa, so you get to accompany the big guy up on the platform this evening? Sweet gig, dude! I notice that you failed to mention holding Anderson's "blankie" for him so that he stays nice and toasty warm. heh heh. That is if you can pull Kathy off of him for a second. (Smart woman.) She did mention spooning last night on the program.

    Must admit that I am most excited about this evening and I will take it personally should you not at some point appear on camera, smile sweetly and wave to all of we adoring fans. Go practice your wave, you have all day. 🙂 Get Anderson to give you some pointers.

    Now as to being disappointed in the program, I am sure that will not happen. Not that I would not love to have Anderson appear in my living room with offical confetti and all... I promise to treat him well, feed him and make sure that he is comfortable. Then give him a cocktail and get him to dish all the dirt on YOU, my friend. I feel certain there are tales to be told. heh heh. Sammy may beat him to it, unless you cough up some COLD beers for her. Seriously, it is the least you can do, Jack. She is a star and all.

    Enjoy Jack and thank you for the intelligent satire. You so rule and I look foreward to bigger and better in 2009. Love ya man!

    December 31, 2008 at 11:28 am |
  30. Michelle D. Fonthill,Ont

    Hi Jack
    The Govenor Blogojevich is giving Donald Trump a run for his money on haior styles if you can call it that . I can't wait to see Anderson and Kathy out there tonight it's going to be freezing out there make sure to keep the hot choclate coming maybe Anderson and Kathy can play a drinking name game game every time someone says the catch phrases from the year eg maverick.
    or someone calls him Andy .

    Happy New year Jack ,,Anderson , Erica and the loor crew at 360!

    December 31, 2008 at 11:28 am |
  31. Rikki, Fargo, ND

    I still can't believe that Blagojevich actually appointed someone to the Senate. He really can't be that stupid can he? Ok maybe he can but he had to know that any selection he made would be tainted.

    Anyway, Happy New Year Jack! Hope you have a wonderful time tonight producing for Anderson and Kathy. Stay warm...though I will be thoroughly jealous of your 20 degree weather since here in ND we aren't even supposed to hit 0 degrees. Have a great time and I can't wait to see the show tonight!

    December 31, 2008 at 11:20 am |
  32. Pamina

    Hi Jack,
    Looking forward to ringing in the New Year with you, Anderson and Kathy! You gotta get some screen time though! I'll be curious to see the most memorable moments from this year, that could fill a few hours by itself. Have fun and stay warm!!

    December 31, 2008 at 11:01 am |
  33. Jennifer - Michigan

    Hi Jack,
    Happy New Year!!! Have fun tonight working on the show. I'll be watching. I'm looking forward to a nice fire, beer, and oysters on the half shell with horseradish and tabasco sauce! My favorite! Anything from the sea of course.
    Hey, I went to see Madagascar 2 at the movie theatre this weekend with the kids. Man! It was sooooo funny – great movie. Lots of laughs. I know it's supposed to be just for the little ones, but it really was very entertaining for the adults too.
    Anyhow, have a great night tonight, I'll be watching.

    December 31, 2008 at 10:51 am |
  34. Betty Ann, Nacogdoches,TX

    P.S. Hey Jack~ Does 2008 remind you of when your parents said," I'll give you something to cry about"? 😉 Bye 2008. Don't let the shoe hit you in the back~
    XO's and CHEERS!

    December 31, 2008 at 10:35 am |
  35. Presley

    OH EMM GEE, live blogging!
    I predict, 2009, Jack Gray becomes the Czar of CNN.

    Here is my shameless adoration moment:
    Jack, you is FUNNAY! considering you have to keep the snark to a PG-13 rating, you managed and it's harder than it looks, I learned that trying to post at AC360 blogs. Being that I post often at free for all Gossip blog, TRUST PEOPLE, it's REALLY HARD!
    Aside from Anderson Hays, you are a big part of why I come here.
    I ♥ Mah Boo Anderson and you are obviously a reflection of all that surrounds him and it's real and human.
    Have Fun tonight and I can't WAIT for Awards Season now.

    Cheers to you and Sammy and the poor AC people that have to read and edit the comments here.

    XXO ♥

    December 31, 2008 at 10:33 am |
  36. Betty Ann, Nacogdoches,TX

    Yew haw Jack!
    We have almost made it to 2009! Damn 2008! did I sound like the Reverend Wright? So many negative sayings from this year.
    I will remind you of a few: Bailout (rip off), $150 a Barrel (another rip off), Joe The Plumber (was he running?), I can see Russia From My House, (stupid but funny by Tina Fey), The fundamentals of America's Enonomy Are Strong (ha), Drill Baby Drill ( sounds like my dentist), Proposition 8 (homophobes), Hurricane Ike ( bye bye Galveston)
    My personal favorites were: Yes We Can! ( Go Hillary 2016!) I got that one from you! LOL! And finally CHANGE!
    I certainly hope that 2009 brings a better year with peace and goodwill and prosperity for all around the world. Until then I believe that you have job security.
    I will be watching tonight with my dogs, cats, boyfriend and friends in the comfort of my own home. Let everyone else drive drunk. I'm not a fan of jail. I will however offer up my guest room for those who can't make a complete sentence after midnight. Nevermind, most of my friends can't make complete sentences anyway. Whew, this could be tough!
    I am having Champange ( not from a box ) in a proper glass. Should I send you a pic so you and Sammy can see how it works?
    I hope Anderson can keep Kathy under control! NOT!
    Good Luck tonight and good luck in 2009 to you and all @ 360.
    Thanks for the laughs in 2008! You were about all there was to laugh about! Good Job Jack!
    (((hugs)))) and Tail Wags!

    December 31, 2008 at 10:29 am |
  37. Renee

    Jack: I just had a thought! (Sorry for the double post!)

    Why not push for a one hour commercial free NYE next year? A little gift from CNN to all the viewers. The gift from CNN to the viewers for making you all the #1 watched cable news network. You could run 10 minutes of commercials before and 10 minutes after. I can see the ads now. CNN=Politics replaced by CNN=Entertainment. This way the bands would not get cut out and you could enhance the show. Run that up to the Executive Leadership Team and see what you can do for us.

    I don't know the economics of television that well but why not run the numbers and see if it could be done.

    December 31, 2008 at 10:20 am |
  38. Tammy, Berwick. LA

    Blago, schmago-when he leaves another corrupt self-indulging public servant will follow in his footsteps somewhere in the political game. At least Blago's move proves the guy isn't a wimp regardless of what the hair implies.

    Enjoy guarding the champagne. And good luck shipping off your competition to Jersey. I'll be partying with friends.

    Cheers. 2009 has to be better than 2008 for us all.

    December 31, 2008 at 10:16 am |
  39. Ryan Field

    Ah, good for Blagojevich. Burris is a good man, and Blagojevich is only following the rules. And if Harry Reid doesn't like it, he should just go back to this year's primary race and remember how important it was to follow all the rules, especially with Michigan and Florida.

    What Blagojevich did was the most refreshing thing I've seen in American politics in years.

    December 31, 2008 at 9:45 am |
  40. Cindy

    Hey...maybe you can let Sammy take your spot in the NYE show then you can really party. I bet they won't even notice the difference! I mean how hard can your job be tonight!? LOL Guarding Coop's diamond encrusted 2009 glasses should be a breeze for Sammy! And hey...her drinking, smoking and cussing will fit right in with the festivities!

    Come on Jack...give it a try! Now...I'd watch CNN to see Sammy do her thang! LOL


    December 31, 2008 at 9:22 am |
  41. Renee

    You seem to have a little obsession with the Governor's hair. Does it remind you of your own hair? Are you more Governor's style or the Anderson "my scalp is showing" buzz cut? Some days I think the hairs on my legs are longer than the hair on that buzz cut! There has to be some happy balance between hair and no hair on a man.

    One final production request, when the band plays can we get full songs vs. cutting over to an anchor to chat? You would get singing and dancing and poof cut to the anchor to chat! That drove me nuts last year! Jack, don't do that for me, but do that for Blitzer. You know how he loves the bands too!

    Happy New Year to you! Good Luck tonight!

    December 31, 2008 at 9:21 am |
  42. Cindy

    I loved that Blago gave the Senate and everyone else the finger by trying to seat Burris. It's his one last hurrah before he goes to prison and has to face the music. And hey...you know they do make you cut your hair in prison so his trademark bangs will have to go! HMMM...just wonder how hard he'll cry on that!? LOL

    I for one will be watching the peach drop in Atlanta! Sorry that I'll miss Ryan but not so much Coop! Well OK...sorry I'll miss Coop but SO glad to miss Kathy.


    December 31, 2008 at 9:10 am |
  43. Karen from Barranquilla, Colombia

    Jack, good luck on all your endeavors this new year and I sure do hope you'll keep writing such witty and enlightening blogs.

    Here's to Sammy, Anderson, CNN and you!!!! Cheers!!!!

    December 31, 2008 at 8:59 am |