CNN’s Don Lemon told viewers Thursday night he was “not demoted” after the network announced it would scrap his evening show and instead put him on a morning table lineup.
The network announced Thursday their plans to scrap the current “New Day” show, which is hosted by Brianna Keilar and John Berman, and replace them with a new lineup featuring Lemon, Kaitlan Collins — a former Daily Caller reporter — and Poppy Harlow.
CNN’s CEO Chris Licht said “there is no stronger combination of talent than Don, Poppy and Kaitlan to deliver on our promise of a game-changing morning news program.” (RELATED: CNN Host & Ken Burns Compare DeSantis Sending Migrants To Martha’s Vineyard To The Holocaust)
Lemon, who hosts “Don Lemon Tonight,” will no longer host the evening show once he assumes his new morning role, but insisted Thursday the career change is not a demotion.
“I was presented with an opportunity that I can’t pass up at this network, and we have a new boss who is a morning show impresario and he wants a morning show that will kick off the editorial direction of the network every single day and I am honored that he asked me to do it,” Lemon said. “For all of those who are out there saying, ‘oh, [Licht] moved me without my-‘, [Licht] asked me and I said, ‘yes.’ I could’ve said no. This is my show, I have a contract for this show, I decided that I would take him up on that and take this journey with him so this is not someone moving me. And by the way this is not someone saying, ‘you must move to the right Don Lemon, you must not give so much of your perception.'”
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) September 16, 2022
“I was not demoted, this was an opportunity,” he continued, calling it an opportunity to create “something around me.”
In an earlier statement, Lemon said he was “honestly floored” when presented with the new role.
“I’m honored by [Licht’s] belief in me. It’s going to be a thrill to take on this challenge with Poppy and Kaitlan.”
There had previously been talk of scrapping “New Day” and replacing it with a roundtable type setting, a source told Radar. NewsCycle Media President Jon Nicosia hinted in August that Keilar, Berman, Lemon and others would either no longer be employed at the network or be reassigned.