CNN has moved anchor Don Lemon from a weeknight timeslot to a morning show, but he has assured fans that he "was not demoted." Lemon explained the impending change to viewers last week according to a report by The Hill, getting out ahead of presumptions that this was a step down for him. He said that network president Chris Licht offered him the job directly and felt he could not pass it up.
CNN has quite a few changes in the works, and Lemon said that his show will help "kick off the editorial direction of the network every day." He added: "And for all of those that are out there saying, 'Oh he moved me without my...' – he asked me and I said yes. I could have said no. ... I was not demoted. None of that. This is an opportunity for me to create something around me and I get to work with two great ladies, who you know."
CNN's morning show is called New Day, and Licht announced last week that it will be heavily revamped this fall. Lemon will co-anchor the new version with Poppy Harlow and Katilin Collins. Up until now, Harlow has been an anchor on one of CNN's daytime slots while Collins has been a reporter on various assignments.
In general, Licht's changes to the network have been perceived as responses to accusations that CNN has become partisan. Critics say that the network editorializes with a left-leaning bias and misrepresents right-wing ideas. However, Lemon said that this was not a part of the conversation in his case.
"This is not someone saying 'You must move to the right, Don Lemon, you must not be so – give so much of your perspective,'" He assured viewers.
CNN has reportedly seen declining ratings since former President Donald Trump left office, and Licht is intent on reversing that course. Much of Licht's success in the past has come from morning news shows – notably his time producing Morning Joe on MSNBC and CBS This Morning. However, Licht has made many large changes since taking control of the network earlier this year, and that alone has raised some eyebrows.
It's not clear when Lemon will make the move to the morning show, nor who will take his place in the primetime slot. So far, there are no hints about who is in the running.