CNN is undergoing a revamp with all its operations, supposedly in a move to make the network more geared toward unbiased journalism—think Bernard Shaw days. Some insufferable clowns have already been fired, but this will be a long-term project if it’s genuine. In the meantime, all doesn’t appear well on CNN’s This Morning set, where Don Lemon reportedly got into a shouting match with co-host Kaitlin Collins.
That blow-up occurred on December 8, allegedly ruining late-night plans with the cohosts before a White House Christmas party. Poppy Harlow, another co-host, seems trapped in the middle. The off-air spat comes from other reports that Lemon is bossy and requires notes reminding him to shut up and let other people speak. The show is said not to have gone off smoothly (via NY Post):
Tensions on the set of “CNN This Morning” have recently boiled over, with Don Lemon allegedly “screaming” at co-host Kaitlan Collins off-camera during an ugly December incident that has left the cast and crew rattled ever since, The Post has learned.
According to two sources with knowledge of the situation, 56-year-old Lemon approached 30-year-old Collins following the show’s Thursday, Dec. 8, broadcast — and unloaded on her in front of staffers as he accused her of “interrupting” him on air.
“Don screamed at Kaitlan, who was visibly upset and ran out of the studio,” one source with knowledge of the skirmish said.
News of the explosive incident made its way up to CNN CEO Chris Licht, who is said to have been appalled by Lemon’s behavior, according to a source. A second source said a producer talked to Lemon at the behest of Licht and told the anchor to take the next day off to “cool off.”
Late last month, Eric Hall, executive producer of “CNN This Morning,” was reportedly ousted from the helm of the show and moved to a new role at the 11 p.m. hour of “CNN Tonight.” CNN didn’t comment on the move. Earlier this week, the network tapped former CBS producer Chris Russell to replace Hall.
Collins and Lemon, meanwhile, have been on set together less frequently since the purported dustup. Lemon was most recently sent to Memphis to quarterback coverage on the death of Tyre Nichols. Collins had been working remotely from Washington, DC, on and off in January.
To address tensions, a second source told The Post, “Don has been given notes” by the show’s producers “to not talk so much, to let other people talk.”
“Don’s a bossy guy and difficult to work with — even he would admit that. He was a solo act before. He doesn’t want to be in Destiny’s Child,” the source added, referring to the music group headlined by Beyoncé in the early aughts.
Others close to Lemon confirmed the former primetime anchor is “not happy” about sharing the limelight with Harlow and Collins.
To add more palace intrigue, while the December 8 spat blew up the trio’s plan to arrive at the White House Christmas party together—the late-night rendezvous added more drama. Lemon had dinner with his agent Jay Sures that night, who also happens to represent Ms. Collins, who met up with Harlow afterward.
Lemon was a late-night host, but CNN CEO Brian Licht canceled it, moving Lemon to the mornings, which some saw as a demotion. Lemon has ferociously fought back against that narrative. Mediaite added that while CNN’s statement about the NY Post’s report overhyping the screaming fest is true, the other parts can be corroborated.