Don Lemon Announces New Gig As CEO Chris Licht Steps Down


OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.

Former CNN prime-time host and morning show co-host Don Lemon has announced a new gig as Chris Licht, the now-former CEO of the network, said he has stepped down.

According to Page Six, “On June 16, Lemon will celebrate Pride Month by hosting Emil Wilbekin’s 7th annual Native Son Awards at Barry Diller’s IAC building in New York.”

In a statement, Wilbekin said: “For this year’s awards, we really wanted to shine a light on those who are using their platforms to bring visibility to all the beautiful ways in which Black, queer men show up in the world.”

Lemon was among the inaugural recipients of the awards, which were established in 2016 to recognize the accomplishments of Black gay and queer men who serve as leaders in their respective fields, Page Six noted.

“Having Don host this year’s award feels like a full circle moment for Native Son,” Wilbekin told the outlet. “He is one of the most visible Black gay men in media and his presence reinforces the importance and impact of our community.”


The organization stood with Lemon after Licht fired him in April on the same day that Fox News took star host Tucker Carlson off the air.

“As one chapter closes, a new one will open. We thank you Don Lemon for speaking truth to power,” the group said at the time.

Lemon told Page Six he has been lying low since his dismissal and that he plans to “enjoy my summer, spend it on the beach and have a great time.”


“That’s it!” he added.

CNN ousted “Licht after a tumultuous year leading the struggling news network that culminated in a damning magazine profile and the growing realization that he’d lost the confidence of the network’s journalists,” The Associated Press reported.

“The change was announced at CNN’s editorial meeting Wednesday morning and came just two days after Licht said he would ‘fight like hell’ to earn the trust of those around him,” the report added.


Meanwhile, Fox News contributor Joe Concha responded to CNN CEO Chris Licht leaving the network on Wednesday, telling “America’s Newsroom” that a town hall last month featuring former President Donald Trump “broke” the dam at CNN’s headquarters, in addition to a scathing article published by The Atlantic that “ultimately brought him down.”

“He had inherited a network that had lost 75 percent of its audience. When you’re comparing early 2021 with the spring of 2022 when he came in and new leadership there gave him marching orders, basically saying, move this network back to the center, the network,” Concha continued.

“It was under Bernard Shaw, Aaron Brown, and a guy named Bill Hemmer,” he said, referring to Hemmer, now a co-host on America’s Newsroom.


“Right. Less provocative opinion, more solid reporting, more Republicans on the air. But that did not sit well with many at the network, and the dam broke over at that headquarters in Hudson Yards, just south of you, when they had the audacity of hosting Donald Trump, the clear frontrunner for Republican nomination, a former president that received 74 million votes in 2020 for a town hall,” he added.

“And these are the same people internally who had zero problem putting Trump on their air for countless interviews and multiple town halls back in 2016 because he was great for ratings and great for clicks. And now there is this moral outcry over the May 2023 town hall, and that was borderline hilarious to witness. But to your point, it was that Atlantic piece that came out just a few days ago that ultimately bought him down,” Concha said.

Licht barely lasted a year on the job after replacing former CEO Jeff Zucker.

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