Don Lemon to Get ‘Formal Training’ After Controversial ‘CNN This Morning’ Comments

Don Lemon co-hosts CNN This Morning (Credit: CNN)

Don Lemon will return to CNN This Morning on Wednesday after making controversial comments last week about women “in their prime,” according to multiple published reports.

The longtime CNN anchor has been off the air since Friday, Feb. 17.

In an effort to put the scandal behind him, Lemon has agreed to undergo “formal training,” read a memo CNN Chairman and CEO Chris Licht sent to  staffers on Monday night.

“To my CNN Colleagues, I sat down with Don and had a frank and meaningful conversation,” Licht wrote in the memo obtained by The Daily Beast. “He has agreed to participate in formal training, as well as continuing to listen and learn. We take this situation very seriously.”

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Lemon has faced anger, both inside CNN, and among some conservatives who criticized him for comments he made on the Feb. 16 episode of CNN This Morning.

While discussing former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Lemon said the 51-year-old politician is not “in her prime.”

His comment came in reaction to Haley’s presidential campaign kickoff speech a day earlier when the Republican White House hopeful called for “mandatory mental competency tests for politicians over 75 years old — essentially taking shots at President Joe Biden, who is 80, and former President Donald Trump, who is 76.

Lemon told his two female co-hosts he had a problem with Haley’s comments. “She says people, politicians are not in their prime,” he said. “Nikki Haley is not in her prime, sorry. A woman is considered to be in her prime in her 20s, 30s and maybe her 40s.”

Critics seized on his comments and accused Lemon of being sexist, prompting him to apologize.

Both Lemon and his boss Licht are under intense pressure as the ratings for CNN This Morning struggle since the show was revamped.

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Licht, who previously executive produced CBS This Morning and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, announced in September 2022, that he was rebooting CNN’s morning news program and replacing John Berman and Brianna Keilar — who hosted the previous iteration of the show called New Day.

Lemon now co-hosts the newscast with little-known CNN talent Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins.

Since CNN This Morning launched on Nov. 1, 2022, the newscast has averaged the lowest viewership in the key adults 25-54 demo for CNN’s morning news block in nearly a decade, according to Nielsen data.