Don Lemon gets a new executive producer

Maria Spinella has been named executive producer of CNN Tonight with Don Lemon, according to a TVNewser report following the departure of Jonathan Wald to MSNBC.

She has been with CNN for ten years and most recently served as the senior broadcast producer for Lemon’s primetime show.

In a statement to TVNewser, Spinella said, “This is a great opportunity and I am looking forward to continuing the success of the show.”

Jonathan Wald leaves CNN, returns to NBC

Don Lemon’s executive producer of CNN Tonight, Jonathan Wald, is returning to NBC News, where he previously served as a senior vice president of CNBC. He joined CNN to be the EP of Piers Morgan Tonight.

He will be the senior vice president of programming and development at MSNBC, reporting directly to MSNBC president Phil Griffin. He will work alongside fellow CNN alum Janelle Rodriguez.

In Griffin’s memo, obtained by TVNewser, he said, “In this new role, Jonathan will help us build on MSNBC’s success in primetime, develop new programming including long-form, and special events. He is joining MSNBC at a pivotal time.”

One of Wald’s memorable moves at CNN Tonight includes having Lemon interview a llama.

Don Lemon on being Don Lemon: “It ain’t easy.”

In a very thorough profile for Metro Weekly, CNN Tonight anchor Don Lemon talked about his scandals, his desire to join Tinder and to date, and his thoughts on the 2016 election.

The profile points out that he is, as they describe it, a “new breed of journalist — one with an opinion on just about everything and yet one who proffers it only to elicit all points of views from every possible angle.”

Noting some of his controversies, Lemon explained, “I’ve had to develop a very thick skin in this business, especially being…” He trailed off before adding, “If you look around, you will see that I’m the only person like me in Prime Time, a Black man who happens to be gay — so I get it from everybody. It’s tough. It ain’t easy.”

Just a few weeks ago, at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, comedian Larry Wilmore called Lemon an “alleged journalist,” to which Lemon flipped him the bird.

Read the full Q&A at MetroWeekly.

Don Lemon: I’m not a provocateur; I’m a journalist

CNN Tonight anchor Don Lemon answered some very candid questions from the New York Time magazine, touching on some of his recent controversies, including Lemon calling for more facts before jumping to any conclusions in the Spring Valley high school incident. (Subsequently, a petition to fire him sprung up).

Defending his journalistic bonafides, Lemon explained his decision. “If you look at the segment, I said it was horrible and that there does not seem to be any justification for what the police officer is doing. I said that I wanted more information. I want to know about his history, I want to know what precipitated it, I want to know what the school is like, I want to know if he’s done it before. That’s what a journalist does.”

Again defending his journalistic bonafides, he said, “No one asks Jake Tapper or Wolf Blitzer to be the spokesperson for any particular group. I’m not an advocate or an activist. I’m a journalist.”

“I am not setting out to be a provocateur,” he added at one point.

If Lemon could ask himself one question, it would be: “Why on earth would anyone want to do this job” as a television anchor.

(H/t New York Time magazine)

Nothing was off-limits in Larry King’s interview — except Piers Morgan

In an extensive interview for the New York Times, Larry King agreed to discuss anything with reporter Mark Leibovich — that is… anything except for ex-CNN host Piers Morgan.

When King’s show, Larry King Live, ended, Morgan was selected to take over for him. And since then, they’ve had an on-again off-again Twitter feud going on.

As Leibovich reports:

No topic between King and me was off-limits except one: Piers Morgan. King’s publicist, Jen Hobbs, requested that I refrain from asking King anything about the host who succeeded him on CNN. Things had become ornery between King and Morgan, whose own show was canceled last year. King said in an interview with Howard Stern that watching Morgan flame out in his slot was like when ‘‘your mother-in-law goes over the cliff in your new car.’’ Morgan then called King a ‘‘poisonous twerp’’ and a ‘‘graceless, petty little man’’ on Twitter.

You can read the full interview at the NYT.

(H/t TVNewser)

CNN prez Jeff Zucker defends Don Lemon’s “n-word” sign

In a town hall conducted on Wednesday, CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker was asked about Don Lemon’s n-word sign on CNN Tonight from back in June. Although chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour condemned Lemon’s usage, and former HLN news anchor Richelle Carey publicly mocked Lemon, Zucker is on Lemon’s side.

Conceding that it isn’t appropriate for every day usage, a CNN insider said, according to TheWrap, “Zucker said it’s not something for a daily basis, but Don was trying to make a point.”

Is Don Lemon shopping for a new gig?

Is CNN’s so-called “lightning-rod” Don Lemon shopping for a new gig — at another network? According to former Chicago news anchor Diann Burns (who is, evidently, no fan of the CNN Tonight anchor), he is…

On her private Facebook page, as a tipster sent in, Burns posted about his use of the “n-word” on CNN, as well as calling this efforts “desperate for attention” and “embarrassing.”

When someone pointed out that he was probably ready to leave CNN, the former Chicago anchor revealed that “he’s actually trying to get his own show.”
dian burns don lemon
What gig is he shopping for?

Dog the Bounty Hunter returns to Don Lemon’s show

Duane Chapman the Bounty Hunter seems to have a recurring segment on CNN Tonight with Don Lemon — which is apparently the only CNN program that will allow him to come on. (That said, he did appear on Megyn Kelly’s Fox News program).

There’s no news value to his appearances… yet the appearances continue.