Based on ratings, it’s clear few people remain interested in anything Don Lemon has to say over at CNN. After being demoted from his primetime slot due to cratering numbers, rather than pink slip him like so many others, CNN propped him up in the morning spot with two co-hosts where he has likewise tanked.
Yet, despite his obvious struggles and new ownership’s purported desire to steer away from its TDS-fueled rage fest, the network refuses to let him go. And this was before Lemon’s myriad on-air and well-documented issues, including one moment of reducing his younger, female co-host to tears over a rant about interrupting him and the more recent debacle of suggesting Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley was past her prime in her 50s.
Media insiders are starting to ask out loud how and why Lemon is hanging around, with one source saying “one of the biggest mysteries in TV news” is what motivations exist for Lemon to get a paycheck at all anymore.
“Well before the Variety article appeared, it’s been one of the biggest mysteries in TV news why CNN keeps Don Lemon around. He rates poorly, he is a source of constant embarrassment and his new morning show is an unqualified disaster,” the media inside source related to Fox News Digital.
The Variety article in question exposed yet another rumored disaster about Lemon, which suggests Lemon harassed an unnamed coworker with “threatening text messages” a;ong with exhibiting “misogynistic” behaviors at work.
Fox summarized that embarrassment, writing:
CNN’s latest defense of the embattled anchor came last week when Variety published a bombshell report revealing scandalous allegations about him such as sending threatening text messages to a colleague from a burner phone and repeatedly exhibiting misogynistic and “diva-like” behavior. A spokesperson on behalf of Lemon ripped the claims in a strongly worded statement distributed by CNN that blasted the report as “riddled with patently false anecdotes” and “based on unsourced, unsubstantiated, 15-year-old anonymous gossip.”
Clearly, something is not adding up. Taken as a whole, the sum total of Lemon’s laundry list of out-of-bounds behavior would easily result in the dismissal of anyone else. So between his behavior and ratings, what gives?
The most plausible answer is that Lemon has “dirt” on somebody important.
“Now his long history of degrading women has been laid bare,” Fox’s media insider continued. “What mysterious hold does he have over his bosses that explains his longevity?”
Fox continued with the inside quotes, capturing the sentiment of several CNN employees likewise fed up and baffled by what they see happening. Fox continued:
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.
Whatever the case, while there is a certain amount of schadenfreude watching Lemon’s ego crash as he checks each release of the latest ratings, he is still collecting a big paycheck. Only when he gets cut loose will the real celebration begin.
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