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CNN morning show co-host Kaitlin Collins appears to be ready to move on to something else thanks largely to a worsening relationship with colleague Don Lemon.
According to sources who spoke to RadarOnline.com, Collins, 30, has “had private conversations about returning to Washington, D.C., leaving her on-air frenemy Don Lemon, 57, and Poppy Harlow, 40, in the dust. The revelation comes three months after Lemon blew up on Collins, ‘screaming’ and accusing her of ‘interrupting’ him after their December 8 broadcast.”
After Lemon’s outburst, several witnesses noted that Collins appeared “visibly upset,” and “shaken.” Now, according to the report, Collins wants to limit her work with Lemon as much as possible. Furthermore, Collins — who became CNN’s youngest White House correspondent in the network’s history — has distanced herself even more by parting ways with her United Talent Agency agent, Jay Sures, who also represents Lemon.
According to a report from the New York Post, several sources said that Lemon “screamed” at Collins following the incident on the set of “CNN This Morning,” adding that Lemon, apparently, is unhappy sharing on-air duties with Collins and Harlow.
The Post noted: “According to two sources with knowledge of the situation, the 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. 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.’”
“Don screamed at Kaitlan, who was visibly upset and ran out of the studio,” one source with knowledge of the incident told The Post.
CNN’s Kaitlan Collins Threatens to Return to Washington DC After Morning Show Explodeshttps://t.co/eg6PhKkKfg
— Cagacart (@CagacartDesign) March 16, 2023
“Kaitlan Collins dumps Don Lemon’s agent amid ‘CNN This Morning’ upheaval” https://t.co/vjNf7iuPgE
— Jason Miller (@JasonMillerinDC) March 16, 2023
Radar Online went on to report that there was additional drama from Lemon stemming from that incident after CNN mentioned it in a company newsletter.
“Don lost his mind internally and went ballistic at staffers after the CNN newsletter highlighted a story about him screaming,” an “insider” told Radar Online.
“At this point, Kaitlan wants to be on set with Don as little as possible,” one source with knowledge of what’s going on told the New York Post separately. “It’s messy.”
Previously, another network insider told The Wrap that the three co-hosts also appear to be frustrated with the show’s progression after Licht hand-selected them for the gig.
“The show can’t decide strategically what exactly it is, so it’s trying to be everything that can create whiplash for a viewer when segments seem off-brand in tonality,” the insider said. “The audience for morning news on network TV is different than the cable news audience, and since we’re not gaining new viewers, we definitely need to retain our legacy ones.”
CNN’s upper management also pulled Lemon from headlining a major network gig in February after he made what many considered to be sexist remarks about GOP presidential contender Nikki Haley earlier in the month.
Lemon was originally planned to serve as moderator for an “Agents of Change” event in New York last week to commemorate Black History Month, but his previous offensive comments towards Haley and women, in general, tainted his public image and resulted in his removal as moderator from the event, according to TMZ.
“We’re told Don was worried about his current news coverage overtaking the event, and our sources tell us event coordinators at Douglas Elliman agreed … so he bowed out,” the outlet reported, adding he was replaced by real estate broker John Gomes.
Lemon survived calls to have him fired after he made his remarks about Haley and his blow-ups at Collins. Network officials said he returned to the airwaves after he underwent “formal training” for sexism, The First TV reported.
“I sat down with Don and had a frank and meaningful conversation. He has agreed to participate in formal training, as well as continue to listen and learn. We take this situation very seriously. It is important to me that CNN balances accountability with fostering a culture in which people can own, learn and grow from their mistakes. To that end, Don will return to CNN This Morning on Wednesday,” Licht told staff last month, the streaming network said.