OPINION | This article contains commentary that reflects the author's opinion.
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As promised by incoming CNN boss Chris Licht, the network is making significant changes and moving in a new direction — with less bias.
Viewership has plummeted for the network as a growing number of people have criticized the network’s obvious bias and political agenda in its reporting.
After eight long years, the “Don Lemon Tonight” show hosted by Don Lemon is being canceled.
Lemon is losing his prime-time show on weeknights and he’s been moved to a morning spot where he will co-anchor with two others, including Poppy Harlow and White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins.
Although morning shows can be popular, this change is certainly a massive demotion for Lemon who is losing his prime-time show in exchange for co-anchoring a morning slot.
Licht announced, “There is no stronger combination of talent than Don, Poppy and Kaitlan to deliver on our promise of a game-changing morning news program.”
“They are each uniquely intelligent, reliable and compelling; together they have a rare and palpable chemistry. Combined with CNN’s resources and global newsgathering capabilities, we will offer a smart, bold and refreshing way to start the day,” he added.
In response, Lemon said that it had been an “incredible ride” and now he agrees it’s “time to shake things up.”
“I am so appreciative of the ‘Don Lemon Tonight’ team, my wonderful, loyal viewers and everyone who has believed in me,” Lemon said.
“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,” he said.
This demotion for Lemon comes on the heels of CNN firing outspoken liberal host Brian Stelter.
A CNN spokesperson said, “CNN will end its ‘Reliable Sources’ program on Sunday, August 21st. As a result Brian Stelter will leave the company. We appreciate his contributions to the network and wish him well as he embarks on new endeavors.”
Licht has signaled that he is making major waves against blatant bias, anti-Trump personalities like Stelter. Licht is demanding that the liberal network become less partisan and stir away from the angry years seen during the presidency of Donald Trump.
If both on-air personalities and their programming doesn’t comply, they could be fired. Three sources familiar with the matter confirmed to Axios that on-air talent needs to adjust to a less partisan tone and strategy. If not, they could be ousted.
Licht reportedly wants to feature more personalities that are less polarizing. This approach is much different than former CNN president Jeff Zucker.
Zucker was accused of programming that engaged in disrespectful interviews and “PR stunts.” Under Zucker, producers and bookers focused less on nuance and mostly on noise.