September 16, 2022

More big changes at CNN. A revamped morning show is on the way with prime-time host Don Lemon as one of the anchors. He will be joined by daytime anchor Poppy Harlow and CNN White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins.

The New York Times’ John Koblin wrote, “The new show represents Chris Licht’s biggest programming move since taking over as CNN’s chairman in May, and it has big implications for the network’s prime-time lineup, too. Mr. Licht is still searching for a host for the 9 p.m. role that Chris Cuomo occupied before he was fired late last year, and he will now need to fill Mr. Lemon’s 10 p.m. hour, too.”

Licht told Koblin, “This demonstrates our commitment to the morning and how important it is to me. The show will set the tone of the entire day, and it will set the tone for the news organization.”

Right now, CNN’s morning show is called “New Day,” and it airs from 6 to 9 a.m. Eastern. The new show will get a new set and a new name. The current morning anchors, John Berman and Brianna Keilar, will take on new assignments at the network. There is no timetable for when the new morning show will debut, but it’s expected to happen before the midterm elections in November.

Interestingly, Licht does have extensive morning programming experience. He was the co-creator and first executive producer of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” And he once worked on “CBS This Morning.”

Koblin wrote, “‘New Day’ has the smallest viewership among the cable news channels in its time slot. On Tuesday morning, Fox News’s ‘Fox & Friends’ averaged more than a million viewers, and MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” averaged right around a million viewers. ‘New Day’ drew fewer than half of that. Mr. Licht has said that ratings are not the top priority. If CNN has a strong journalistic reputation, he can attract blue-chip advertisers, he has told associates.”

The more interesting part of this story is what’s going to happen in prime time. The prevailing thought is that CNN, with new owners and Licht now in charge, is trying to become more nonpartisan and straightforward in its coverage. Lemon has never been afraid to voice his opinion on his show, but now he shifts to mornings and we all await to see who fills the anchor seats in the key hours between 9 and 11 p.m. Eastern.

So Lemon still has a job at CNN, but some see moving from prime time to mornings as a demotion. For what it’s worth, Lemon said all the right things in a statement, saying, “it’s time to shake things up. He added, “I was honestly floored when Chris Licht asked me to do this and I’m honored by his belief in me. It’s going to be a thrill to take on this challenge with Poppy and Kaitlan. I’ll get to work with two of my dearest friends. Set your alarms folks, because we’re going to have a lot of fun.”

A sad passing

I heard from several of those in the journalism world, including colleagues at Poynter, who were heartbroken to hear about the sudden death of former Los Angeles Times assistant managing editor Henry Fuhrmann. He died this week after a brief illness. He was 65.

Fuhrmann was a self-described “word nerd” who sought fairness in language and famously fought against using the hyphen in writing “African American” or “Asian American,” for example. In a 2018 essay, Fuhrmann wrote, “… to many of us in the trade and, more to the point, many of the people we write about, those hyphens serve to divide even as they are meant to connect. Their use in racial and ethnic identifiers can connote an otherness, a sense that people of color are somehow not full citizens or fully American: part American, sure, but also something not American. ‘Hyphenated Americans’ is one derogatory result of such usage.”

The Los Angeles Times’ Thomas Curwen wrote, “Tenacious and principled, Fuhrmann campaigned against its usage in newsrooms around the country and succeeded in persuading the profession’s high court, the Associated Press Stylebook, to rescind its dictate on the hyphen when referring ‘to an American person’s heritage.’ At a national meeting of copy editors, Fuhrmann, who was an assistant managing editor for The Times until his retirement in 2015, received an ovation for his efforts.”

There was much more to Fuhrmann’s career, which you can read about in Curwen’s remembrance.

Media tidbits

President Joe Biden being interviewed by “60 Minutes” Scott Pelley. (Courtesy: CBS News)

Now some notable journalism for you to catch up on over the weekend …

Esquire’s Kate Storey with “Ron DeSantis Flew Immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard, Echoing a Racist Stunt From Exactly 60 Years Ago.” And The Boston Globe’s Kevin Cullen with “Ron DeSantis plays games with human beings.”

The Los Angeles Times’ Henry Chu with “After Queen Elizabeth II, it’s a long line of kings. Will that matter?”

The Washington Post’s Hannah Allam with “Missing people, buried bones at center of Oklahoma mystery.”

One of my favorite newspaper writers is The New York Times’ John Branch. For months, along with photographer Nina Riggio and graphics editor Scott Reinhard, Branch chased and studied fog in and around San Francisco for this superb and visually-stunning piece: “The Elusive Future of San Francisco’s Fog.”

Oh, and bonus John Branch. His writing sets up a photo package from the Times that looks at tennis great Roger Federer through the years. Federer announced his retirement on Thursday. Here’s what Chuck Culpepper and Cindy Boren wrote for The Washington Post. And the always readable Jason Gay, sports columnist of The Wall Street Journal, with “Roger Federer isn’t going anywhere.”

The headline and subhead alone on this story will make you shake your head. For GQ, it’s Chris Gayomali with “I Wish I Was a Little Bit Taller. A growing number of men are undergoing a radical and expensive surgery to grow anywhere from three to six inches. The catch: It requires having both your femurs broken. GQ goes inside the booming world of leg lengthening.”

Slate’s Nitish Pahwa with “Everything You Could Possibly Want to Know About the Cheating Scandal Roiling the World of Chess.”

If you’re a baseball fan, you know about Jomboy, who breaks down controversial baseball plays and ejections in YouTube videos. Now he’s turned that into a media business that includes podcasting. The New York Times’ Zach Schonbrun writes about Jomboy (whose real name is Jimmy O’Brien) in “A Sports Media Empire Runs on ‘Good Vibes Only.’”

Have feedback or a tip? Email Poynter senior media writer Tom Jones at

More resources for journalists

The Poynter Report is our daily media newsletter. To have it delivered to your inbox Monday-Friday, sign up here.

Follow us on Twitter and on Facebook.

Support high-integrity, independent journalism that serves democracy. Make a gift to Poynter today. The Poynter Institute is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, and your gift helps us make good journalism better.
Tom Jones is Poynter’s senior media writer for He was previously part of the Tampa Bay Times family during three stints over some 30…
Tom Jones

More News

Back to News