CNN Launching New Primetime Show Amid Growing Don Lemon Drama

Don Lemon is in hot water at CNN. After losing his primtetime new show Don Lemon Tonight last year and being switched to a morning show alongside two co-hosts, the longtime beloved anchor and commentator's slot is reportedly close to being filled. It's also been an issue since the firing of Chris Cuomo, who held a show during the 9p spot. He was ousted in 2021 after news that he aided his brother, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, during his sexual misconduct scandal. Variety reports that in an effort to compete with right wing FOX News' 8-10p time slot, CNN is prepping to launch a new late-night show, CNN Primetime. The show will air during the 9p time period. Per an official logline, the show is described as follows: "Join CNN's top anchors for special events and unique conversations about the issues that matter the most." The report notes that the show title and the programming descriptions are already shown in interactive schedules that subscribers to cable and satellite services. 

A source close to the network alleges that CNN Primetime is supposed to rely less on storytelling, scoops and surprises – versus a centering on the actual host. This is one of the latest changes in effect since Chris Licht has taken over as CEO. the report also notes that Licth has been in conversation with staffers regarding not wanting the show to resemble a traisitonal news series. Instead executives are seeking out someone, or multiple people, who might offer perspective or analysis, even "informed opinion" on hot subject matters.

The launch of the new idea comes amid CNN scrambling to combat what's been happening with CNN This Morning, which Lemon co-hosts. On Friday, Feb. 17, Lemon was asked to apologize to staffers after remarks he made on the previous show about when women are in their "prime," suggesting that per Google's research, a woman 50+ is dated. 

There was much backlash and conversation about ageism and sexism on Lemon's part. As a result, he was absent from Friday's show. The show just launched in Nov. 2022. He is reportedly on the choppping block due to the recent comments, and other issues that occured prior.