By Tribune Staff
NASHVILLE, TN — Contrary to some false reports and unproven Internet speculation, longtime CNN anchor Don Lemon is not leaving the network. Nor has his show been cancelled. Instead, this week it has a new name. Last Saturday Lemon announced his show would be rebranded “Don Lemon Tonight.” That followed the Friday announcement that “CNN Tonight with Don Lemon was ending.” That generated so much Internet buzz and gossip that Lemon went back on the air the next day to straighten out the situation, as well as online.
“Didn’t mean to set the internet on fire,” Lemon wrote in a Twitter post unveiling the refresh. “What I said last night was true. ‘CNN Tonight with Don Lemon’ is no more. I’ll be back on Monday with my newly named show ‘Don Lemon Tonight.’ See you Monday at 10pE.” The post was accompanied with a graphic of the new show title. There’s been no word on format changes to the show.
Prior to the May 14 episode of “CNN Tonight,” Lemon stated on his Twitter page that he had an announcement to make and for people to watch that evening’s show to find out what it was about. He alluded to his possible departure by saying “end of an era.”
As that evening’s program concluded, he finally addressed his audience, saying, “This is the last night that will be ‘CNN Tonight With Don Lemon.’ So, I appreciate all the years of ‘CNN Tonight With Don Lemon,’ but changes are coming, and I will fill you in.”
From there, viewers began to comment on social media about Lemon’s announcement, speculating if he had been fired from CNN or was quitting his nightly post on his own. The comments got to be so profuse that Lemon had to make a new video on his social media pages to set the record straight: he will remain with CNN.
“So I got back down to my office after the show, everybody calm down,” Lemon said. “I didn’t say I was leaving CNN. I just said it was the end of an era for ‘CNN Tonight With Don Lemon.’ I’m not leaving CNN, so you will have to tune in Monday at 10 o’clock to see. That’s it. So relax. I’m not leaving. I’m not leaving.”
Lemon has been hosting “CNN Tonight” since 2014 after getting the job from CNN president Jeff Zucker, according to GQ.
In addition, theGrio reported that Lemon and his CNN counterpart and friend, Chris Cuomo, are launching a new podcast. The podcast will be an unscripted show called “The Handoff,” inspired by their banter during the nightly live transition between Cuomo’s CNN program, “Cuomo Prime Time,” and “CNN Tonight with Don Lemon.”
The new CNN podcast will be available on Apple Podcasts.