Don Lemon is out at CNN.
CNN said on Monday that it was parting ways with Mr. Lemon, a star anchor who was a fixture of the network’s prime-time lineup before enduring a short but controversial tenure as a morning show co-host.
“CNN and Don have parted ways,” the network said in a statement on Monday. “Don will forever be a part of the CNN family, and we thank him for his contributions over the past 17 years. We wish him well and will be cheering him on in his future endeavors.”
The network said Mr. Lemon’s morning show, which he hosted with Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins, would continue. “‘CNN This Morning’ has been on the air for nearly six months, and we are committed to its success,” CNN said.
Mr. Lemon, 57, appeared on air on Monday morning as normal.
“I was informed this morning by my agent that I have been terminated by CNN,” Mr. Lemon said in a statement that he posted to Twitter. “I am stunned. After 17 years at CNN I would have thought that someone in management would have had the decency to tell me directly. At no time was I ever given any indication that I would not be able to continue to do the work I have loved at the network.”
One of CNN’s most recognizable stars, Mr. Lemon had a reputation as a fiery political commentator during his eight years as a prime-time anchor. But inside the network, he began to lose support after he made remarks in February about women and aging that were widely perceived to be sexist. The incident generated a national uproar and a rare public rebuke from CNN’s chairman, Chris Licht.
Mr. Lemon had asserted on-air that Nikki Haley, the 51-year-old Republican presidential candidate, “isn’t in her prime, sorry,” adding, “A woman is considered to be in her prime in her 20s and 30s and maybe 40s.” He dismissed the objections of his female co-hosts by responding, “I’m just saying what the facts are — Google it.” He later apologized to the CNN newsroom and agreed to a corporate training program to address his on-air behavior.
Allies of Mr. Lemon had hoped he would turn the page from the incident. But executives at CNN gradually concluded that his future at CNN had become untenable, according to two people who spoke on condition of anonymity because the internal discussions were sensitive.
In recent weeks, CNN’s bookers had discovered that some guests did not want to appear on-air with Mr. Lemon, and research on the morning show reviewed by CNN executives found that his popularity with audiences had fallen, one of the people said.
Monday’s announcement capped a dramatic fall for Mr. Lemon, who just seven months ago was happily ensconced in a prime-time anchor chair. His long-running 10 p.m. program, “Don Lemon Tonight,” drew fans for his spiky exchanges and pull-no-punches commentary on politics and the Trump White House.
Mr. Lemon imported that persona to “CNN This Morning,” but it was an awkward fit for an hour when many viewers — making breakfast and getting children off to school — want easygoing patter, not thundering monologues.
Tensions also emerged between Mr. Lemon and one of his co-anchors, Ms. Collins. In December, “CNN This Morning” crew members were rattled after a backstage incident where Mr. Lemon accused Ms. Collins of interrupting him too often.