Ex-CNN Host Lemon To Receive $24 Million Payout

Details of the agreement reached between CNN and ex-host Don Lemon are beginning to leak out and could represent a windfall for one of the mainstream media’s liberal icons.

TheWrap first revealed that Lemon, 57, has agreed to a separation deal with CNN for approximately $24.5 million, which would be the full complete pay from his final contract which extended 3.5 years from the date of his departure.

Lemon, a 17-year CNN veteran, had been hosting Don Lemon Tonight, which aired from 2014 to 2022 and built a steady viewership who tuned in to see Lemon’s pointed commentary on the Trump administration.

Lemon’s abrupt move to the new CNN This Morning program with Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins, which premiered on Nov. 1, 2022, quickly resulted in friction with his co-hosts and network executives.

After three months, the show was only averaging 331,000 viewers compared to competitors Fox & Friends and MSNBC’s Morning Joe which drew nearly 1 million and 760,000 viewers apiece across the same time period.

In February 2023 Lemon made controversial comments about Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley, which were widely seen to be misogynistic and led to an on-air rebuke by his co-hosts.

In April, Lemon’s reputation took additional hits from an investigative report by Variety that documented Leon’s history of controversial comments and actions that dated back years but were dismissed by Lemon’s agent as “old gossip.”

Lemon’s sudden firing on Apr. 24, 2023, led to days of back-and-forth statements by the network and Lemon contesting the details and timeline of Lemon’s departure.

While Lemon’s ouster only occurred after his move to the morning slot, his history of biased statements and reporting was nothing new to conservative media observers.

The Media Research Center documented many of Lemon’s on-air rants including this tirade on Jan. 14, 2021, “If you voted for Trump, you voted for the person who the Klan supported. You voted for the person who Nazis support. You voted for the person who the alt-right supports. That’s the crowd that you are in. You voted for the person who incited a crowd to go into the Capitol and potentially take the lives of lawmakers, took the lives of police officers, took the lives– innocent lives who were there at the Capitol that day. You voted on that side.”

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