Under CEO Chris Licht’s rule for the last year or so, CNN has been desperately trying to rebrand itself as a “centrist” network after years of dedicating itself to the Democratic Cause™ and over four years of relentless bashing of then-President Donald Trump.
To say Licht hasn’t been successful would be an understatement. The new line-up has failed to gain traction with what’s left of CNN’s miniscule amount of viewers, with CNN’s “This Morning” program featuring co-hosts Kaitlan Collins, Poppy Harlow, and Don Lemon being among the biggest failures of them all.
But as RedState readers will recall, Lemon – who was one of the most partisan hosts at CNN – unceremoniously got the boot on April 24th, the same day Tucker Carlson and Fox News “parted ways.” Along with that came a whole lot of teeth-gnashing from Lemon, who demonstrated that he still hadn’t learned his lesson after months of criticism over how badly he treated his colleagues, especially female ones like Collins, who Lemon was said to have screamed at after a December show didn’t go the way he wanted it to.
But as Lemon’s star has fallen, Collins’ has risen. Not only will she be hosting the Wednesday New Hampshire town hall featuring Trump, but Licht reportedly is preparing to offer Collins the opportunity to have her own prime time program slot – something that was yanked away from Lemon just months before CNN gave him the boot:
This week, I learned that the CNN chief plans to offer Kaitlan a new contract to serve as the host of the network’s 9 p.m. primetime hour, which was once the province of Chris Cuomo (and, very briefly, Jake Tapper). The move, which could be announced as early as next week, would be the culmination of Collins’ rapid ascent from a twenty-something Trump White House correspondent to the network’s marquee star, and, at just 31 years old, the face of Licht’s New CNN.
As I noted a week ago, Kaitlan is now the primary talent on which Licht is staking his pivot to the middle, since the ill-fated Tapper primetime experiment obviously didn’t get him there.
Kaitlan’s offer is not contingent on her performance at tonight’s town hall, but, given the Trump X-factor, those 90 minutes have the potential to modify, accelerate, or stifle the arc of her career. (Just ask Megyn Kelly.) At the very least, her performance tonight will set the tone for a new Collins era at CNN, which, barring any f**k-ups, will run at least through the 2024 presidential election.
I’m imagining Lemon’s sour-faced reaction to the news that the anchor he apparently liked the least at his former employer has now been offered the opportunity that was (rightly) taken away from him to succeed where he and fellow-ex CNNer Chris Cuomo failed and failed bigly.
As Outkick’s Bobby Burack pointed out, “Don Lemon, who already doesn’t like women, must be fuming.”
Indeed. And frankly, it couldn’t be happening to a more deserving media figure, all things considered.
Flashback: CNN’s Don Lemon Went on Drunken ‘Grown A** Man’ New Year’s Eve Rant That Needs to Be Discussed
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