CNN demoted Don Lemon last month for setting primetime lows and undermining a network push to establish itself as a credible news agency. CNN moved Lemon to the morning, removed his name from the title of a show, and paired him with Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins.
Lemon promised a fun and informative program that’d be popular among CNN viewers. Of course, the show is neither.
But we begin with its popularity, or lack thereof The debut episode of “CNN This Morning” drew just 387,000 viewers Tuesday. “Morning” averaged 71,000 viewers in the advertiser-coveted 25-54 age demographic.
Despite heavy promotion, the revamped morning program failed to match the previous average of “New Day,” the show it replaced. “New Day” averaged 404,000 viewers in October, topping only the now-defunct “Don Lemon Tonight.”
For comparison, MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” drew 793,000 viewers head to head from 6 to 9 am ET. “Fox & Friends” swept the floor with both, averaging 1,450,000 viewers.
No show across CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News ranked lower than Lemon’s on Tuesday:
To answer your question, yes, CNN is tanking that badly. And doing so each day anew.
Perhaps new CNN CEO Chris Licht buried Lemon in the morning as a means to avoid firing him, to which Lemon would presumably declare racist. By contrast, Licht fired Brian Stelter, Jeffrey Toobin, and John Harwood for their partisanship.
That said, Licht had to have known viewers would not appreciate someone like Don Lemon so bright and early.
Morning television thrives with likable personalities. Lemon is not likable.
Morning viewers prefer light-hearted banter mixed with humor. Lemon is not funny. He’s screechy and hyperbolic.
Finally, viewers tune into morning television for a recap of the overnight news and look ahead to the day’s events. Lemon doesn’t much do the news. He’s a partisan hack who bloviates with indifference to the facts.
His interviews are also perpetually awkward. See for yourself:
This is why CNN can’t put smart people or people not down with his lies on air with Don Lemon.— Bobby Burack (@burackbobby_) September 20, 2022
They embarrass him.
Updated list of the worst shows on cable news, from worst to least worst:
1. “All White People are Racist with Joy Ried.”
2. “CNN This Morning.”
3. “Rachel Maddow Show.”
4. “All White People are Racist on the Weekend with Tiffany Cross.”