Don Lemon Absolutely Beaming as Replacement Co-Anchors With Him Amid 'This Morning' Issues

Don Lemon was in high spirits last week with a replacement co-anchor on CNN This Morning. Lemon was joined by correspondent Sara Sidner while his usual co-hosts, Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins took the day off. Fans couldn't help but compare Lemon's rapport with Sidner to his viral moments in recent months – especially with Collins.

Friday, Dec. 23 found Lemon sharing the news desk with Sidner, who he explained is a long-time friend of his. The two smiled and laughed and seemed very excited for a light-hearted morning on air together, especially with the holidays drawing so close. Lemon warned viewers: "Look at us! This is about to be trouble – Sara and I have known each other forever. I'm so happy to have her here. Poppy and Kaitlan are off. Are you ready for this weather? Are you ready for this corduroy suit?"

Lemon has been with CNN since 2006 and has risen some of the highest successes cable news offers. He became a primetime news anchor in 2014, so it struck many viewers as odd when he began to take some job changes earlier this year. In February, he hosted a talk show on the short-lived streaming service CNN+, and in September the network announced that Lemon would move from primetime evening news to the new morning show.

At the time, Lemon refuted claims that he was taking a "demotion," saying that he was excited for the chance to help build This Morning from the ground up. However, that hasn't stopped viewers from reading between the lines of his performance and at times questioning his enjoyment. In particular, some viewers seem to cringe at his awkward moments with Collins.

According to a report by Puck News, there is some tension behind the scenes at CNN – not just from Lemon but from many veteran journalists who dislike the new direction under network head Chris Licht. However, Licht praised Lemon and Collins heavily in an interview with The New York Times last week, saying: "They obviously like each other. The chemistry is great. I love the collaboration. Every day, it evolves. It's not like me giving orders. It's so much fun."

That would seem to indicate that Licht has no intention of changing the lineup on This Morning, in spite of sporadic comments about the chemistry on social media. The morning show continues to air on weekdays starting at 6 a.m. ET on CNN.