Don Lemon joins new show and it hits rock bottom

The debut episode of CNN’s flashy new morning show, which is co-hosted by Don Lemon, Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins, has hit rock bottom and completely bombed in the ratings. According to Nielsen ratings, “CNN This Morning’s” first show drew a mere 387,000 viewers and averaged 71,000 viewers in the advertiser-coveted 25-54 age demographic, despite heavy promotion from the network.

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To compare, MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” amassed 793,000 viewers head to head from 6 to 9 am ET. Meanwhile, Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” came out on top, averaging nearly 1.5 million viewers. Across CNN, MSNBC and Fox News, no show has ranked lower than Lemon’s program.

The name of the new show is “CNN This Morning,” and the broadcast was pitched as the left-leaning network’s re-entry into the competitive morning show landscape. And amid reports that he was being demoted, the show was heralded by Lemon as a “promotion.” “CNN This Morning” even failed to match the previous average of “New Day,” the show it replaced, despite big promises from CNN boss Chris Licht, who is known for his prowess in revamping morning programming.

“New Day” averaged 404,000 viewers in October, and was co-hosted by John Berman and Brianna Keilar. “There’s not a morning show on television today that was a ratings success on day one. Reporting on ratings failures or successes of an entirely new program after a single day is absurd and cheap,” a spokesman from CNN said, when asked about the poor debut, said NY Post.

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“That’s not the way this works. We’re entirely focused on developing a smart, compelling and relevant show that’s already having outsized impact. Anyone pushing an alternative narrative knows what a threat this talent lineup is,” the rep added. Licht was brought in to shake up CNN’s ratings-challenged programming. He is a seasoned TV producer, and he also helped launch MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” and the reboot of “CBS This Morning.”

Licht gave Jake Tapper the network’s coveted 9 p.m. slot, formerly occupied by the disgraced Chris Cuomo, aside from moving Lemon to the morning. But CNN announced recently that Tapper would move back to his 4 p.m. time slot amid tanking ratings.

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