May 20, 2024
Don Lemon said he was "honored" to move from move primetime to a morning show at CNN amid restructuring at the cable news network.

Don Lemon said he was “honored” to move from move primetime to a morning show at CNN amid restructuring at the cable news network.

At the beginning of his show Don Lemon Tonight on Thursday, Lemon insisted he was not pushed into the new morning show by new CNN CEO Chris Licht.


“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. For all those out there that are saying he moved me — he asked me and I said yes. I could have said no,” Lemon said.

“This is my show,” he added. “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, and you must not give so much of your perspective. None of that has happened. All of that is fodder for Twitter, which is not real, so stop it. I was not demoted — none of that. This is an opportunity. This is a promotion.”

CNN announced Thursday that Lemon, CNN Newsroom anchor Poppy Harlow, and CNN White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins will form a “reimagined morning news program” set to debut later this year.

“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. “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.”

Lemon said he is excited to work alongside Harlow and Collins in his remarks on his Thursday show.

“I get to work with two great ladies who you know, Poppy Harlow, who I have known for more than a decade. I went to her wedding in Slovenia. I know her children. I know her husband. And Kaitlan Collins, same thing, we have been friends since Kaitlan has been at the network. So it’s just really great,” Lemon said.

He also said “the boss” laughed and quipped about how “extra money” is needed in the budget to get Lemon up early in the mornings.


The new morning show is the latest shakeup in the network’s lineup since Licht took the helm, with shows across the network being reworked or canceled, such as the long-running Sunday media program Reliable Sources.

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