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CNN This Morning co-anchors Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins addressed Don Lemon’s firing at the top of the show Tuesday morning, sharing similar sentiments as CNN CEO Chris Licht in wishing Lemon “the best.”
“Of course, Don was a big part of this show over the last six months. He was one of the first anchors on CNN to have me on his show. That’s something I’ll obviously never forget,” Collins said. “I agree with Chris. We wish him the best.”
“Don was one of my first friends here at CNN,” Harlow added. “I’m so thankful to have worked alongside him and for his support for nearly 15 years here, and I wish him all good things ahead.”
Harlow added how “proud” she and Collins are of the show and of the “dedicated team” that works to bring viewers new coverage every morning. The duo then pivoted away from Lemon, to put the focus, they said, back “on the news and where that belongs.”
“Our priority is you — the viewer — who gratefully welcomed us into your home this morning,” Harlow added.
The statement comes a day after Lemon was fired from the weekday morning show, which he co-hosted with Harlow and Collins and airs on CNN, CNN International and HLN. In a statement on his Twitter account Monday, Lemon announced he had been let go from the program and, in a statement, expressed frustration over having been given the news by his agent.
“I am stunned. After 17 years at CNN I would have thought that someone in management would have had the decency to tell me directly,” he wrote.
CNN PR then released a statement on Twitter in response, noting that the former CNN anchor “was offered an opportunity to meet with management but instead released a statement on Twitter” before CNN CEO Licht could release his own statement on the firing.
“Don will forever be a part of the CNN family and we thank him for his contributions over the past 17 years,” the statement reads. “We wish him well and will be cheering him on in his future endeavors.”
CNN This Morning premiered Nov. 1 last year, as a successor show to New Day, the series that ran on weekdays and weekends for nearly 10 years after its launch in 2013, as well as to HLN’s Morning Express With Robin Meade.
CNN This Morning is one of the new slate of shows introduced since Licht took over as chairman and CEO of CNN last April following the departure of former boss Jeff Zucker and amid the merger of CNN parent company WarnerMedia and Discovery. Licht pitched the series as part of his plans to “disrupt” the morning news space, taking Lemon out of his primetime 10 p.m. spot, where he hosted Don Lemon Tonight, and dropping him into the morning show space.
Since that move seven months ago, Lemon generated a series of headlines involving on-air comments about women and aging, made in reference to Nikki Haley, for which he issued a social media apology, as well as for behind-the-scenes dust-ups with his co-anchors, according to The New York Times.
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