DON Lemon is a veteran reporter and has been a CNN anchor and correspondent for 16 years.
CNN has announced the longtime anchor will be moving to a new show in the primetime slot.
Who is Don Lemon?
Don Lemon has been a successful anchorman on CNN since 2006, but before that he worked for numerous news outlets and has written several bestselling books.
Over the course of his career, Lemon has covered the death of Osama Bin Laden, the Colorado Theatre and Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, the Boston Marathon bombing, the George Zimmerman trial, and countless other breaking news stories.
He also anchored CNN's coverage of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and reported for the media outlet's documentary Race and Rage: The Beating of Rodney King.
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However, his coworkers and viewers were most surprised when Lemon during a CNN interview with young members of a church in Atlanta, whose pastor was accused of sexually assaulting some young men.
The members told Lemon they did not believe the pastor, Bishop Eddie Long of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, was guilty because he didn't look like an abuser or molester.
Lemon retorted that abusers come in all shapes and sizes, and in a 2011 interview with NPR, Lemon said: "And I said the reason I know that is because I had an abuser when I was a child."
He told the outlet that everyone on set went completely silent, adding: "To have someone who is an anchorman say that on television…I didn't realize the impact of that."
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His bestselling book, Transparent, delved into his past, revealing that he had been sexually assaulted by his mom's friend's son.
He also used the book to share that he is gay, saying in the interview that May 16, 2011, the day the book came out, marked the first day of his life.
"I want to go and take trips. I want to do things with my boyfriend. Before, I just isolated myself and worked all the time. Now the job… it's not as important," he said at the time.
He continued: "My relationships are more important. I'm more connected. I'm happier. Whatever happens with my career, I'm going to prosper no matter what."
Lemon published two other books after Transparent. The Hundred was published in 2019 and revealed what it was like for Lemon to hit rock bottom in the wake of the 2016 presidential election.
Lemon published This Is the Fire: What I Say to My Friends About Racism in 2021, and it became an instant bestseller only a week after it's release.
“I want to thank everyone who inspired me to write this book,” Lemon said in a video posted on Twitter after his book topped the New York Times bestseller list.
“All the people who bought it, all the support, and mostly to the people who have having the conversations that I talk about in this book. It’s very, very important.”
A spokesperson for the publisher Little, Brown and Company told The Wrap: “As America’s only Black prime-time anchor, Lemon and his daily monologues on racism and antiracism, on the failures of the Trump administration and of so many of our leaders, and on America’s systemic flaws speak for his millions of fans.
"Now, in an urgent, deeply personal, riveting plea, he shows us all how deep our problems lie, and what we can do to begin to fix them.”
How long has Don Lemon been on CNN?
Don Lemon has been with CNN since 2006 and took up the mantle of the 10pm EST news anchor in 2014.
He was formerly the anchor of his self-named show, CNN Tonight with Don Lemon during weekday prime-time and still serves as a correspondent across CNN/US programming.
Since 2014, Lemon has also co-hosted CNN's New Year's Eve special from New Orleans with Brooke Baldwin.
Over the course of his career, he has won multiple awards for his journalistic coverage. In 2002, Lemon won the Edward R. Murrow Award for his coverage of the capture of the D.C. area sniper, and other awards for reports on Hurricane Katrina.
When Jeff Zucker stepped down from his position as CNN president, Chris Licht stepped in to make ample changes to the media outlet.
He was brought in as the new CNN chief executive in May 2022, and that month, Lemon sent a memo to his fellow employees, telling them that “too many people have lost trust in the news media.”
The New York Post reported that in the memo, Lemon said: “I think we can be a beacon in regaining that trust by being an organization that exemplifies the best characteristics of journalism: fearlessly speaking truth to power, challenging the status quo, questioning ‘group-think, and educating viewers and readers with straightforward facts and insightful commentary, while always being respectful of differing viewpoints."
He added: “First and foremost, we should, and we will be advocates for the truth."
What is Don Lemon's new show?
CNN announced Lemons will be leading a new morning news show alongside Kaitlan Collins and Poppy Harlow.
After the announcement, Lemon endorsed the move and said in a statement: “The last eight years have been an incredible ride. I’ve had the opportunity to work with one of the best show teams in the business, but it’s time to shake things up."
He continued: “I was honestly floored when Chris Licht asked me to do this and I’m honored by his belief in me.
"It’s going to be a thrill to take on this challenge with Poppy and Kaitlan. I’ll get to work with two of my dearest friends.
"Set your alarms folks, because we’re going to have a lot of fun.”
Furthermore, he had his final primetime show on Friday night, October 7, 2022.
He stated in his concluding remarks: "I was not always perfect, because no one is perfect.
"There are immense pressures that come with this job and in particular this time slot at 10:00 o’clock when people are going to bed. So sometimes all I could do – I am going to be honest with you – was just smile and just get to the commercial break sometimes."
He continued: "Sometimes, it was exhausting. Because some of the things that we discuss here are so personal and so consuming, all-consuming. So, I hope I made you proud. And I thank you for tuning in all these years. And I hope that you are going to join me in the morning.
"So I will simply say good night, and I will see you soon."
He concluded: "All right, so I’m going to leave, and I am going to go upstairs. Bye"
The new show's name and date it will air have not been released, but it will take the place of New Day, which is the lowest-ranking show on CNN, according to The New York Times.
New Day currently fills the 6am to 9am EST time slot but will be replaced later this year.
“There is no stronger combination of talent than Don, Poppy, and Kaitlan to deliver on our promise of a game-changing morning news program,” Licht said in a press release.
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He added: “They are each uniquely intelligent, reliable, and compelling; together they have a rare and palpable chemistry."
In a memo to employees, Licht said: “We spent considerable time looking at talent from both inside and outside the network, and in the end, we determined the very best trio was already here at CNN.”
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