CNN anchor Don Lemon is being mocked and berated for conducting what many see as a publicity stunt and fake news concerning his show on the network.
Seemingly out of desperation over plummeting ratings, he renamed his show, and many see a very similar correlation to Fox News Channel’s ratings hit, “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
Friday, Lemon repeatedly alluded to a major announcement on “CNN Tonight,” phrasing it as an “end of an era.” The calculated staging of the announcement for the new show led many viewers to believe that Lemon was departing CNN after seven years. He appeared to knowingly create an uproar on social media.
Before ending his show on Friday, Lemon stated that “CNN Tonight with Don Lemon” was no more: “It’s been really, really great. This is the last night that will be ‘CNN Tonight with Don Lemon,’” he stated. “So, I appreciate all the years of ‘CNN Tonight with Don Lemon.’ But changes are coming. And I will fill you in.”
The announcement predictably created an intense buzz on social media and journalists went into a frenzy over it.
Not long after that, Lemon tweeted to his viewers that he was not leaving CNN: “So, I got back down to my office after the show. Everybody calm down. I didn’t say I was leaving CNN. I just said it was an 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!”
Hey everyone. Not what you think. I’m not leaving CNN. Tune in for the handoff on Monday at 10pE and I’ll explain. pic.twitter.com/oOwDferY2i
— Don Lemon (@donlemon) May 15, 2021
Later, he would go on to reveal that his show “CNN Tonight with Don Lemon” was being rebranded to “Don Lemon Tonight.”
“Didn’t mean to set the internet on fire. What I said last night was true,” Lemon tweeted out on Saturday morning. “CNN Tonight with Don Lemon is no more. I’ll be back on Monday with my newly named show Don Lemon Tonight.”
Didn’t mean to set the internet on fire. 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. pic.twitter.com/89GFXULV9m
— Don Lemon (@donlemon) May 15, 2021
Conservatives thought the ploy was basically a cheap stunt meant to draw in viewers for Lemon’s abysmal ratings. Becket Adams at the Washington Examiner called it a “shameless self-promotion” to “resuscitate” his “flailing ratings.”
“Lemon knows exactly what he is doing. All the hype following his teased ‘announcement’ isn’t an accident. Lemon deliberately orchestrated a self-serving mini-news cycle to get people to tune into his stupid TV show,” Adams charged on Sunday
The Daily Wire’s Ben Johnson labeled it as “fake news”: “CNN ended last week the same way it ends every week: by misleading its viewers,” Johnson remarked.
NewsBusters analyst Nicholas Fondacaro was even harsher concerning the tactic by Lemon: “So, CNN and Lemon tried to pull off a ridiculous media stunt to get people to tune into his show again, while they appear to copy the name of the very popular Fox News Channel show “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” Fondacaro noted. “What a joke. This is CNN.”
Lemon is reportedly the only primetime news anchor who isn’t exceeding 1 million viewers. Tucker Carlson massively outperformed him with 3.2 million viewers. The CNN anchor’s show ranked 39th.
The rebranding of Lemon’s show just looks like a desperate attempt to stay relevant in the media marketplace.
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