CNN host Don Lemon is getting a new gig after being moved out of his nightly solo slot to a morning gig as part of a panel.
But he insists he’s not being “demoted.”
As CNN’s new president, Chris Licht, continues to shake up the poorly performing network, longtime hosts and contributors have been getting the boot or, in Lemon’s case, moved to a different timeslot and given a different show format.
“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…and Poppy Harlow,” The Daily Caller reported, adding that Collins used to work for the outlet.
Licht added that “there is no stronger combination of talent than Don, Poppy and Kaitlan to deliver on our promise of a game-changing morning news program.”
Lemon addressed the programming change while insisting that losing a solo hosting gig during primetime in lieu of becoming co-host of a morning program isn’t a step down.
“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,” he continued. “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.’”
CNN’s @DonLemon on being demoted from primetime to the AM: “I was not demoted” pic.twitter.com/WgatfCzPLT
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) September 16, 2022
“I was not demoted, this was an opportunity,” he added, calling it an opportunity to create “something around me.”
Earlier, he said he was “honestly floored” when first presented with the morning show slot.
“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,” he said.
Social media users were not as convinced that Lemon’s new role is a step up for him.
“He wasn’t demoted but he was moved to the mornings and now he shares a stage with two other anchors. In other news, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you!” one user wrote.
“Reminds me of the Russians saying their ship wasn’t sunk, it was repurposed as a submarine,” another quipped.