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Don Lemon to host new morning program at CNN

A still frame from a broadcast of the CNN program "Don Lemon Tonight."
A still frame from a broadcast of the CNN program “Don Lemon Tonight.” (Image courtesy Warner Bros Discovery, Graphic by The Desk)

CNN is continuing with a wide range of programming changes by moving its prime-time news commentator Don Lemon to the morning time slot.

The move will see Lemon and two other CNN journalists — anchor Poppy Harlow and White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins — host a new morning show that has yet to be named, with a debut date sometime later this year.

The network said Lemon’s prime-time news and commentary program “Don Lemon Tonight” will end as a result of the programming shuffle. CNN’s current morning show, “New Day,” will also end, and the hosts of that show — John Berman and Brianna Keilar — will move to new roles at the network later this year.

The changes come as CNN President Christopher Licht aims to move the network in a less-partisan direction. While the network and its ratings flourished through its coverage of former President Donald Trump and his numerous White House scandals, a more-tepid administration has caused ratings to fall and viewers to look elsewhere for their news.

Licht, who took over following the departure of former CNN President Jeffrey Zucker earlier this year, wants CNN to return to its roots as a non-partisan journalistic institution. One of his earliest edicts was to end the overuse of “Breaking News” lower-third graphics on CNN’s programs.

“Its impact has become lost on the audience,” Licht wrote in a memo distributed among CNN’s staffers, adding that the network should be in the business of “informing, not alarming, our viewers.”

Numerous on-air talent have departed as part of Licht’s new strategy, including media watchdog commentator Brian Stelter, whose program “Reliable Sources” was canceled. John Harwood, CNN’s White House correspondent, resigned earlier this month after two years with the network.

CNN is owned and operated by Warner Bros Discovery, a new company that was formed out of the merger of AT&T’s WarnerMedia and Discovery, Inc. earlier this year.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is an award-winning journalist with more than 10 years of experience covering the business of television and radio broadcasting, streaming services and the overall media industry. In addition to his work as publisher of The Desk, Matthew contributes regularly to StreamTV Insider and KnowTechie, and has worked for several well-known news organizations, including Thomson Reuters, McNaughton Newspapers, Grasswire, Comstock's magazine, KTXL-TV and KGO-TV. Matthew is a member of IRE, a trade organization for investigative reporters and editors, and is based in Northern California.

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