Just after news broke that Tucker Carlson and Fox News Channel would be parting ways, CNN’s Don Lemon took to Twitter to announce that he had been fired by the network.
He posted a picture of a statement about the situation, in which he complained that no one in management had told him directly and suggested he had been given no warning of his termination, saying:
I was informed this morning by my agent that I have been terminated by CNN. I am stunned. After 17 years at CNN I would have thought that someone in management would have had the decency to tell me directly. At no time was I ever given any indication that I would not be able to continue to do the work I have loved at the network. It is clear that there are some larger issues at play. With that said, I want to thank my colleagues and the many teams I have worked with for an incredible run. They are the most talented journalists in the business, and I wish them all the best.
— Don Lemon (@donlemon) April 24, 2023
CNN CEO Chris Licht confirmed the news in a memo to network staffers, The Daily Beast reported. In that memo, he said, “CNN and Don Lemon have parted ways. Don will forever be a part of the CNN family, and we thank him for his contributions over the past 17 years, We wish him well and will be cheering him on in his future endeavors.”
The news comes as no real surprise given that Fox News Digital recently reported that CNN insiders were baffled that Don Lemon still had a job there given his many issues and that there are plenty of qualified people that could fill the role. In that article, Fox News Digital reported:
Current CNN employees are also wondering why their network has kept Lemon on the payroll despite all the headaches.
“There are plenty of people just as talented and popular with viewers that are not such a heavy lift,” one CNN insider told Fox News Digital
When asked whether Lemon is worth the trouble for CNN, another insider replied “I’m honestly not sure,” adding that it’s “no secret” that he has done “moronic things.”
One insider close to CNN boss Chris Licht told Fox News Digital he thought the Variety report was “rough” while insisting it wasn’t substantiated, a position the network echoed in its response to the story.
Further, his morning show was doing terribly. CNN This Morning, featuring Don Lemon, Kaitlan Collins, and Poppy Harlow, has been struggling to gain viewership since it launched last fall. The show recently dropped to its lowest level of viewership in the key demographic age range of 25-54 and overall average viewership. According to reports from Mediaite:
February saw CNN hit lows in the demo not seen in over ten years. CNN prime time demo average of 122,000 viewers, while still above MSNBC’s 119,000, marked the network’s smallest audience since 2013. Additionally, CNN’s 89,000 total day demo viewers was its worst showing since 2012. CNN saw a 41 percent drop in total day demo viewers from January, while Fox News dropped 35 percent and MSNBC was down 6 percent.
CNN’s new morning show, CNN This Morning, also saw its lowest numbers since its launch last fall. CNN This Morning brought in 360,000 average total viewers and 73,000 average demo viewers for the month. By comparison, Fox & Friends averaged 1.2 million total viewers and 170,000 average demo viewers for the month. MNSBC’s Morning Joe brought in 895,000 total viewers and 107,000 demo viewers.
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