OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
CNN anchor Don Lemon just got the news he did not ant to hear. His primetime show on the news network is coming to an end.
The news broke on Thursday that the host will lose his primetime show and be moved to a morning show slot with two cohosts in Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins.
This would appear to be a pretty major demotion for the host as the network continues to make changes to become a less partisan news network.
As for the current morning show, “New Day,” it will be nixed and the current hosts, John Berman and Brianna Keilar, will be given new roles at the network, CNN reported.
“There is no stronger combination of talent than Don, Poppy and Kaitlan to deliver on our promise of a game-changing morning news program,” CNN chief executive Chris Licht said.
“They are each uniquely intelligent, reliable and compelling; together they have a rare and palpable chemistry,” he said. “Combined with CNN’s resources and global newsgathering capabilities, we will offer a smart, bold and refreshing way to start the day.”
“The next chapter of CNN is beginning to shape,” he said. “I am sure there are many questions not answered in this note. We’ll be communicating as much as we can as we refine specifics and ensure this transition is a thorough and inclusive process.”
Don Lemon also responded to news of the end of his show.
“I am so appreciative of the ‘Don Lemon Tonight’ team, my wonderful, loyal viewers and everyone who has believed in me,” he said. “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.”
Fox News reported.
Details of Keilar’s next role were not made clear. She did not immediately respond to a request for comment. It is also unclear what Berman, who is beloved by rank-and-file CNN employees, will do next for the network. He regularly fills in for primetime hosts and is seen as a versatile anchor.
“I am excited for what comes next,” Berman told Fox News Digital.
The move rids CNN of two programs that were known as staples of the network’s Jeff Zucker era but have failed to attract viewers. The fate of “New Day” had long been sealed. Licht, who replaced Zucker earlier this year following the long-planned merger that put CNN under the Warner Bros. Discovery umbrella, told advertisers in May that the struggling morning show would be “re-imagined” at some point.
CNN has been undergoing changes with the idea of getting to a more centrist news style and away from partisan leaning, and that has meant that some CNN personalities have to go.
Neither the network nor Harwood said if he was fired, quit or it was a mutual decision, but the timing had many wondering if his praise of President Biden’s divisive speech was the cause.
Harwood said in a tweet, “personal news: today’s my last day at CNN proud of the work thanks to my colleagues i’ve been lucky to serve the best in American media – St. Petersburg Times, WSJ, NYT, the NBC family, CNN look forward to figuring out what’s next.”
It came hours after Harwood made his opinion known on President Biden’s speech when he appeared on the CNN show “New Day.”
“The core point he made in that political speech about a threat to democracy is true. Now, that’s something that’s not easy for us, as journalists, to say. We’re brought up to believe there’s two different political parties with different points of view and we don’t take sides in honest disagreements between them. But that’s not what we’re talking about,” he said.
“These are not honest disagreements. The Republican Party right now is led by a dishonest demagogue. Many, many Republicans are rallying behind his lies about the 2020 election and other things as well. And a significant portion—or a sufficient portion—of the constituency that they’re leading attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6, violently. By offering pardons or suggesting pardons for those people who violently attacked the Capitol, which you’ve been pointing out numerous times this morning, Donald Trump made Joe Biden’s point for him,” he said.
Before announcing that today was his last day, John Harwood appeared on CNN three times this morning. During one appearance, apparently knowing it was his last day, he told viewers that Biden's "core point" about a MAGA "threat to democracy is true."https://t.co/tRuw2ZkfxB pic.twitter.com/VN24SZOZKc
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) September 2, 2022
Before that, he agreed with the premise of President Biden’s speech on Twitter.
“Biden’s assertion that Trump and extremist Republicans pose a threat to American democracy is, undeniably, true,” he said.