Dan Lemon, CNN’s star anchor, is leaving the network abruptly

Don Lemon quit on CNN.

Mr. In an announcement that Lemon said “stunned” him, CNN announced on Monday that it was ending a long relationship with Mr. Lemon, a star anchor who was part of the network’s prime-time lineup before enduring a short but controversial tenure. Co-host of the morning show.

“CNN and Dawn have parted ways,” CNN president Chris Licht said in a statement. “Dan 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 encourage him in his future endeavors.”

About the events of the day Mr. That pejorative language contrasted starkly with Lemon’s description. In a poignant message on Twitter, Mr. Lemon told the audience that he was suddenly informed by his talent agent that “I was fired by CNN.”

“I was stunned,” said Mr. Lemon wrote. “After 17 years at CNN, I would have thought someone in management would have had the authority to tell me directly. At no time was I given any indication that I would not be able to continue doing the work I wanted at the network. (CNN denied Mr. Lemon’s account, saying the anchor “was offered an opportunity to meet with management, but instead issued a statement on Twitter.”)

Mr. Trump hired aggressive Hollywood lawyer Brian Friedman to handle his eviction. Lemon retained. His contract with CNN runs through 2026, according to two people with direct knowledge of his contract.

Hours before the fight reports, the 57-year-old Mr. Lemon appeared in her usual anchor chair on “CNN This Morning,” a show she has co-hosted since November with Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins. He showed no signs of anxiety and smiled and friendly to the audience, signing “Welcome to all”.

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One of CNN’s most recognizable stars, Mr. During her eight years as the prime-time anchor, Lemmon gained a reputation as an incisive political commentator. But within the network, she began to lose favor in February after making widely considered sexist comments about women and aging. The incident created a national uproar and Mr.

Mr. Lemon insisted that 51-year-old Republican presidential nominee Nikki Haley was “not in her prime, sorry,” and that “a woman in her 20s and 30s is considered prime.” And maybe 40s.” He dismissed his female co-hosts’ objections by replying, “I’ll tell you what the facts are — Google it.” He later apologized to the CNN newsroom and agreed to a corporate training program to address his on-air behavior.

Mr. Lemon’s associates hoped he would turn his back on the incident. But executives at CNN gradually decided that his future at CNN was unlikely, according to two people familiar with the internal discussions.

In recent weeks, CNN’s bookers, some of whom have asked Mr. They found that they didn’t want to appear live with Lemon, and research on the morning show reviewed by CNN executives found that his popularity among viewers had fallen, one said.

In its Monday report, CNN said its morning show — Mr. Licht’s main effort – said to continue. “‘CNN This Morning’ has been on the air for nearly six months and we are committed to its success,” the network said.

However, Mr. Lemmon’s exit raises the possibility of a major shift. Former White House Correspondent Ms. Collins recently earned solid ratings during a weeklong run as substitute host at 9 p.m.

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Mr. For Lemmon, his sudden ouster marks a dramatic fall for a host who was happily attached to primetime seven months ago. His long-running 10 p.m. show, “Don Lemon Tonight,” drew fans for his spiky exchanges and pull-no-punches commentary on politics and the Trump White House.

Mr. Lemon imported that personality to “CNN This Morning,” but many viewers — making breakfast and getting the kids to school — were a poor fit for the hour.

Mr. Lemon and one of his co-hosts, Ms. There was also tension between Collins. In December, after an incident involving “CNN This Morning” crew members backstage, Mr. Lemon Mrs. Collins accused him of frequent interruptions.

In recent weeks, CNN leaders Mr. They were hoping that Lemon would adjust to his new morning-show role and that the ratings would follow.

Last Wednesday, however, Mr Lemon was back in the headlines Very controversial A plane exchange with Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramasamy. The division worsened as the men fiercely debated questions of black history and the Second Amendment; Mr. Lemon’s co-anchor, Ms. Harlow can be seen sitting quietly next to him, at times looking elsewhere and scrolling through her smartphone.

The incident angered several CNN executives, the people said.

Mr. Lemon joined CNN in 2006 from a local NBC station in Chicago. In 2011, he made waves when he admitted in a memoir what many of his colleagues already knew: He was gay. At the time, few national television news broadcasters were in public. Mr. Lemon has been open about what he describes as the dangers of coming out as a black man, sharing his concerns that “people might avoid me.”

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“CNN This Morning” will succeed Jeff Zucker as president of CNN in May 2022, with former morning show producer Mr. A major initiative of Licht. A mega media affiliate. Dozens of CNN employees were fired and some key producers and anchors left.

“CNN This Morning” has gotten off to a slow start in the ratings and has struggled to keep pace with its predecessor, “New Day.” During an appearance at the Paley Center for Media last week, Mr. Licht said mornings are the “most competitive” times in television.

“Starting a new program takes time,” Mr. Licht said. “So it absolutely has growing pains, and it will continue to evolve.” The project will now evolve without Mr. Lemon.

In a happy announcement in September, Mr. Lemon described the opportunity to host a new morning show as “a thrill” and praised Mr. Admired Licht. “I was honestly floored when Chris Licht asked me to do this, and I’m honored by his faith in me,” the host wrote at the time.

“Set your alarms guys,” mr. Lemon added, “Because we’re going to have a lot of fun.”

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