CNN’s Don Lemon has withdrawn from moderating an upcoming event on race and real estate in New York City due to backlash over his recent on-air comments in which he called Republican 2024 presidential candidate Nikki Haley “past her prime.” TMZ reported that Lemon had stepped away from the event, with concerns that his negative press would overshadow it. The event coordinators at Douglas Elliman agreed with Lemon’s decision, and he has been replaced by real estate broker John Gomes.
Haley herself has responded to Lemon’s misstep, commenting last weekend on Fox News’s “Sunday Morning Futures” by saying, “The Liberals’ heads explode at the thought of me getting into the race. What I said was, ‘if you think I’m past my prime, hold my beer.’ We started selling koozies on NikkiHaley.com, and I think we turn lemons into lemonade, and I’ll keep doing this.”
Lemon has apologized for the comment, but his relationship with his co-hosts on “CNN This Morning” has also come under scrutiny. However, Lemon is one of many problems at CNN, which is currently experiencing its lowest monthly audience among the highly coveted demographic of adults aged 25 to 54 since June 2014, according to Fox News.
"Don Lemon's re-education camp is a farce. It's a lie and we know it. And for them to continue tolerating it makes them part of the problem."@MegynKelly on CNN refusing to fire Don Lemon. pic.twitter.com/MMxPtk1g5j
— The Megyn Kelly Show (@MegynKellyShow) February 21, 2023
CNN’s ratings have gone from bad to abysmal, with shows such as “Anderson Cooper 360,” “The Lead with Jake Tapper,” and Wolf Blitzer’s “Situation Room” seeing their smallest audiences among the critical demo since the same month in 2014. “Inside Politics” is on track to have its least-viewed month in the category since August 2005. “CNN This Morning” is set to finish the month with its smallest monthly audience yet, among total viewers and the demo since it launched last year.
In contrast, “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on Fox News has 465,000 demo viewers during the same time slot. Likewise, CNN has struggled to fill the 9:00 p.m. slot since Chris Cuomo’s departure in 2021, with a series of specials, fill-in anchors, and various town halls failing to resonate with audiences.
Jake Tapper hosted a CNN town hall in East Palestine on the train derailment last week. Still, it was one of the least-viewed programs for the network in recent memory, being outdrawn by Bravo’s “Vanderpump Rules,” ESPN’s 2 a.m. edition of “SportsCenter,” reruns of “Golden Girls,” and “Beavis and Butthead.”
Lemon’s comment about Haley has not helped CNN’s ratings, but the network’s problems run deeper than the controversial host. It will be interesting to see what lengths the increasingly irrelevant leftist media will go to in the lead-up to the 2024 election cycle.