Don Lemon will lose his primetime CNN show on weeknights to co-anchor the network’s reimagined morning show with Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins, the network announced Thursday.
The new morning show will debut later in the year with a new name, format and set — and signals the end of “Don Lemon Tonight” after an eight-year run. CNN did not announce any plans for how it will fill Lemon’s primetime slot, which has long lagged behind Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle” in the ratings.
John Berman and Brianna Keilar, who currently anchor the network’s ratings-challenged “New Day,” will shift to other roles at CNN later in the year.
CNN CEO Chris Licht, who had previously signaled that he planned to shake up the network’s morning programming, praised his newly named team. “There is no stronger combination of talent than Don, Poppy and Kaitlan to deliver on our promise of a game-changing morning news program,” he said in a statement.
Lemon, who has become a lightning rod for conservative critics of CNN for some of his political pontificating on his primetime show, publicly endorsed the move. “The last eight years have been an incredible ride. I’ve had the opportunity to work with one of the best show teams in the business, but it’s time to shake things up,” he said in a statement. “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. I’ll get to work with two of my dearest friends. Set your alarms folks, because we’re going to have a lot of fun.”
Harlow, who already works mornings alongside Jim Sciutto, will shift to an earlier start to anchor the new morning show with Lemon and Collins. “What a gift to be able to sit beside Don and Kaitlan each morning,” she said.
Collins, previously the White House correspondent for CNN during Trump’s tenure in the Oval office, will serve as co-anchor and chief correspondent for the new morning show.
“I am thrilled to start this new adventure at CNN,” Collins said in a statement. “To go from sharing my reporting on their shows to sitting at the desk alongside them is an incredible opportunity and I’m deeply humbled by it.”
Back in May, Licht announced at Upfronts CNN would reimagine the morning show, which hit a seven-year low in the ratings in July and has long lagged behind Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” and MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” in both total viewers and the key news demographic of viewers 25-54.
“We will reimagine our morning show leveraging our correspondents and unmatched resources in the U.S. and around the world to provide news that viewers need to know as they start their day,” Licht said to attendees of the Warner Bros. Discovery Upfronts. “[To] be honest there, we are seeking to be a disrupter of the broadcast morning shows in this space, and we believe we have the people and resources who can do it.”
For the record: A previous version of this story misspelled the name of Kaitlan Collins.