Former CNN host Don Lemon announced Tuesday the launch of a new media company in addition to the pending release of that company’s first project: “The Don Lemon Show.”
The show, he said, will be available first on Elon Musk’s X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.
In a post viewed nearly three million times, Lemon called X the “biggest space for free speech in the world.”
“I know now more than ever that we need a place for honest debate and discussion without the hall monitors,” he said. “This is just the beginning, so stay tuned.”
Lemon — who co-hosted CNN This Morning — was fired by the media company in April, several months after making sexist comments on-air about Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley.
Lemon’s show will feature three 30-minute episodes each week; though it does not seem limited exclusively to X, it will appear on the platform first.
X also announced partnerships with sports commentator Jim Rome and 2020 presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard to bring exclusive video content to the platform.
The addition of these new shows to X comes in the midst of ongoing struggles with advertisers as Musk has worked to reshape what once was a microblogging platform into an everything app.
Not long after facing criticism for highlighting anti-semitic conspiracy theories, Musk told advertisers fleeing the platform to “go fuck” themselves. Fidelity, meanwhile, has marked down its investment in X by 71.5%.
In a blog post shared Tuesday, X said that it is “now a video-first platform,” with people watching videos in eight out of 10 user sessions.
The blog post added that a new X feature — Immersive Video, a TikTok competitor — now has more than 100 million daily users. The post added that X has paid more than 80,000 creators through its ads revenue sharing program in the past year, though the size of each of these payments can vary widely.
Don Lemon joins Tucker Carlson
But rather than taking an extended leave, Carlson announced on May 9 that he would be bringing a new version of his show directly to X.
In a monologue posted to X that was viewed more than 130 million times, Carlson echoed several points that were mentioned in Lemon’s announcement.
“Speech is the fundamental pre-requisite for democracy. That’s why it was enshrined in the first of our Constitutional amendments,” Carlson said. “Amazingly, as of tonight, there are not that many platforms left that allow free speech. The last big one remaining … is Twitter, where we are now.”
He has since published 62 episodes on X. A recent episode posted on Jan. 6 received 11 million views; the episode preceding it garnered 6.3 million. His first-ever episode posted directly to X was viewed more than 119 million times.
While those numbers seem bigger than Carlson’s average Fox viewership of three million people in March, the calculation of a “view” is much thinner at X than it is on Cable News.
On X, all it takes to get one view is for a user to simply scroll past a given post. Cable TV instead measures the average-minute audience, determining how many viewers there are watching an average minute of content. Carlson’s Jan. 6 episode has only 84,000 likes and fewer than 5,000 comments.
Though the details of X’s partnership with Lemon remain unclear, Musk said in a post that “creator rewards will increase significantly this year.”
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