CNN's Don Lemon Insists 'I Was Not Demoted' Don Lemon (Getty Images)
By Charlie McCarthy | Friday, 16 September 2022 01:02 PM EDT
CNN prime-time host Don Lemon insists that being moved to mornings was a "promotion" and that he "was not demoted."
Lemon, current host of "Don Lemon Tonight," will become one of three hosts on a new show expected to start airing in late October.
It's the latest network change under new Chairman and CEO Chris Licht, who reportedly has been attempting to return the left-leaning network to its more mainstream and newsgathering roots.
Brian Stelter, a critic of former President Donald Trump and host of media affairs show "Reliable Source," was fired last month.
CNN announced Thursday that a new show will be co-hosted by Lemon, Poppy Harlow, and Kaitlan Collins.
"I was presented with an opportunity that I can’t pass up at this network," Lemon said Thursday night on CNN. "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 then addressed reports that the new job represents a demotion.
"For all of those who are out there saying, 'Oh, he moved me without my …' — he asked me and I said yes," Lemon said. "I could have 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. And, by the way, this is not someone saying, 'You must move to the right, Don Lemon. You must not be so … give so much of your perspective.' None of that has happened."
Lemon said reports of a demotion simply were "fodder" for Twitter.
"I was not demoted. None of that," he said. "This is an opportunity, this is a promotion. This is an opportunity for me to create something around me and I get to work with two great ladies, who you know."
Moving Lemon to mornings will create another hole in CNN's prime-time lineup, which still hasn’t found a full-time replacement for Chris Cuomo.
Cuomo was fired in December 2021 for aiding his embattled brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, amid sexual assault allegations.