As CNN continues to shake things up, the network has announced that Don Lemon will be losing his prime-time show on weeknights and will instead co-anchor a new morning show with Poppy Harlow and White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins.
This marks one of the biggest programming changes so far under Chris Licht’s leadership, which began in May when he took over as CNN’s new chairman, The New York Times reported.
The move means a big refiguring of CNN’s morning programming and also the end of the “Don Lemon Tonight” show, which ran for eight years on the network, The Wrap reported.
Morning shows have been a big success for Licht in the past, as he created MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” show and then also helped reconstruct “CBS This Morning,” CNN reported.
Now, Licht is doing similar work at CNN by creating a new morning show with Lemon, Harlow and Collins.
“There is no stronger combination of talent than Don, Poppy and Kaitlan to deliver on our promise of a game-changing morning news program,” Licht said in a press release, CNN reported.
“They are each uniquely intelligent, reliable and compelling; together they have a rare and palpable chemistry. Combined with CNN’s resources and global newsgathering capabilities, we will offer a smart, bold and refreshing way to start the day,” the CNN chairman said.
When Licht took over CNN in May, he announced CNN would reimagine “New Day,” which hit a seven-year low in the ratings in July and has long lagged behind Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” and MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” in both total viewers and the key news demographic of viewers 25-54,” The Wrap reported.
Licht and CNN did not announce any plans for filling the 10 p.m. spot normally taken up by “Don Lemon Tonight” or the 9 p.m. spot, which opened up last year when Chris Cuomo was fired.
“Mr. Licht has said that ratings are not the top priority. If CNN has a strong journalistic reputation, he can attract blue-chip advertisers, he has told associates,” the Times reported.
In response to the announcement, Lemon said that it had been an “incredible ride,” but it was “time to shake things up,” CNN reported.
“I am so appreciative of the ‘Don Lemon Tonight’ team, my wonderful, loyal viewers and everyone who has believed in me,” Lemon said in a news release, according to CNN.
“I was honestly floored when Chris Licht asked me to do this and I’m honored by his belief in me. It’s going to be a thrill to take on this challenge with Poppy and Kaitlan,” the release added.
However, on Twitter, many have commented that Licht’s decision to move Lemon is a demotion for the host.
Some say it is a demotion Lemon deserved.
“CNN has demoted Don Lemon from an evening show that no one watched to a morning show that no one will watch,” Clay Travis, a writer, lawyer, analyst and founder of sports media company OutKick, tweeted.
CNN has demoted Don Lemon from an evening show that no one watched to a morning show that no one will watch. https://t.co/YLIlDFHtKB
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) September 15, 2022
“CNN new morning show announced: Don Lemon, Poppy Harlow, Kaitlin Collins. Head-scratcher. Lemon has already been rejected by audiences in prime. Collins is a White House correspondent, not a morning host. Numbers will look similar after the show settles in,” Fox News contributor Joe Concha also tweeted.
CNN new morning show announced: Don Lemon, Poppy Harlow, Kaitlin Collins. Head-scratcher. Lemon has already been rejected by audiences in prime. Collins is a White House correspondent, not a morning host. Numbers will look similar after the show settles in.
— Joe Concha (@JoeConchaTV) September 15, 2022
But Licht seems confident that reconstructing CNN’s morning coverage will be a great benefit to the network.
“We will reimagine our morning show leveraging our correspondents and unmatched resources in the U.S. and around the world to provide news that viewers need to know as they start their day. [To] be honest there, we are seeking to be a disrupter of the broadcast morning shows in this space, and we believe we have the people and resources who can do it,” Licht previously announced, The Wrap reported.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.