Don Lemon and his “CNN This Morning” co-hosts made no mention of any onset turmoil Monday as all three appeared together for the first time since Lemon’s December tantrum was revealed by The Post last week.
Lemon, 56, blew up at his 30-year-old co-host Kaitlain Collins on Dec. 8 and the two have rarely been together in the studio since the incident, The Post reported.
After news of the December dustup broke on Thursday, media watchers noticed that Lemon was off-air the following day. A CNN rep told The Post that Lemon had announced earlier last week that he was jetting off to Los Angeles to attend Clive Davis’ star-studded Grammys party.
Lemon returned to the show Monday in virtually the same black suit he wore to the music executive’s bash on Saturday, swapping out a black bowtie for a dark green tie. The anchor opened the show with a report on the devastating Turkey earthquake before kicking it over to Collins, who covered news of the Chinese spy balloon.
The two anchors appeared to be careful not to cross into each other’s reporting and did not interact much until co-host Poppy Harlow interviewed actor Kal Penn, who joined the trio on the set. Penn, who also served as a former White House aide to the Obama administration, discussed his new climate change-centric series, “Getting Warmer.”
Before the segment was over, Harlow brought up Penn’s upcoming March 13 stint hosting “The Daily Show,” to which Lemon joked: “Can’t wait for our guest appearance on the program!”
“Are you really trying to get on the Daily show right now?,” Harlow playfully said, turning to a laughing Lemon and Collins, who grinned in amusement.
Later the co-hosts had a spirited discussion with entertainment journalist Segun Oduolowu about the Grammys and whether Beyoncé was snubbed for “Album of the Year,” which went to Harry Styles.
But those lighter moments have been overshadowed by a slew of “tense moments” on the set of the show, which launched on Nov. 1, sources have told The Post. The Daily Beast chronicled an awkward Dec. 1 segment, while Curtis Houck, managing editor of NewsBusters, cobbled together a video of tense moments between Lemon and Collins, leading up to Lemon’s Dec. 8 tantrum.
Sources told The Post that Lemon accused Collins of “interrupting” him on air and that once the cameras were off, the anchor “screamed” at a “visibly upset” Collins, who “ran out the studio.” After the incident, Lemon was told by higher-ups to take the following day off, sources told The Post.
Sources said that Lemon, who had recently hosted his own now-defunct primetime show, has had trouble sharing the spotlight with Collins and Harlow.
“Don has an intractable ego,” a source close to both CNN boss Licht and Lemon said. “My understanding is he wants the show to be about him. I don’t know how you fix that. It’s a very difficult situation.”
To address tensions, a source told The Post, “Don has been given notes” by the show’s producers “to not talk so much, to let other people talk.”
“Don’s a bossy guy and difficult to work with — even he would admit that. He was a solo act before. He doesn’t want to be in Destiny’s Child,” the source added, referring to the music group headlined by Beyoncé in the early aughts.