Relax. Don Lemon is not leaving CNN: ‘Didn’t mean to set the internet on fire’
Longtime CNN anchor Don Lemon has big news to share — but don’t worry: It’s not what you think.
Lemon took to social media Saturday morning to set the record straight after delivering what many believed to be a farewell message to CNN during Friday’s installment of “CNN Tonight.” It turns out that interpretation was a false alarm, according to Lemon, who clarified that he is not leaving the network and will instead continue hosting his show under a new name.
“So, earlier, I told you I had an announcement, and I do,” Lemon said at the conclusion of Friday’s broadcast.
“It’s been really, really great. This is the last night that we’ll be ‘CNN Tonight With Don Lemon.’ So, I appreciate all the years of ‘CNN Tonight With Don Lemon,’ but changes are coming. And I will fill you in.”
Don Lemon talked about his book on race, “This is the Fire,” in a Times Festival of Books panel that was cut short by the Chauvin verdict announcement.
After the show, viewers instantly assumed that Lemon was exiting the broadcaster, causing widespread panic on Twitter.
“I knew when @donlemon said he was announcing something at the end of the show I knew it was him saying he was leaving but goodness,” one person tweeted, along with some single-tear emojis.
“I feel like I was just broken up with!” wrote another. “Why is Don Lemon leaving, where is he going. I love him. It can’t believe my ears... I need answers, heartbreaking.”
Within hours, Lemon hopped online to reassure his followers that he wasn’t going anywhere and “Didn’t mean to set the internet on fire.” The real announcement, he revealed, is that “CNN Tonight With Don Lemon” will henceforth be called “Don Lemon Tonight.”
“I didn’t say I was leaving CNN. I just said it was the end of an era for ‘CNN Tonight With Don Lemon.’ I’m not leaving CNN, so you will have to tune in Monday ... to see. That’s it. So, relax. I’m not leaving.”
“I’m not leaving!” he shouted one more time for the people in the back.
The Louisiana native, who joined CNN in 2006 and is the only Black cable news anchor in prime time, is clearly energized by having a role in shaping the current national discourse on race relations.
Still reeling from the initial shock, Lemon’s loyal fans breathed a collective sigh of relief on Twitter.
“Phew, I was about to have a full on cry fest!” one person tweeted. “I’m so happy you’re not leaving @CNN I look forward to following you on your new adventure.”
“Whew!” echoed another. “So glad you’re not leaving CNN! And I’m glad you cleared that up before I told my mom! She’s 92, and she loves you!”
The newly rebranded “Don Lemon Tonight” will debut Monday at 8 p.m. Pacific on CNN.
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