According to a recent story, CNN’s morning program was shaken by a December outburst from co-host Don Lemon.
The New York Post reported on Thursday that Lemon and Collins clashed during the December 8 airing of “CNN This Morning.” He accused Collins of “interrupting” him during the performance, according to the article, which cited an unnamed source.
“Don screamed at Kaitlan, who was visibly upset and ran out of the studio,” one source with knowledge of the skirmish said.
Fox News said that Collins attempted to talk many times during a piece about the release of WNBA player Britney Griner from a Russian jail while Lemon was speaking.
At one point, he waved his finger at Collins and instructed her to “hold on a second”
A source was reported in the paper as alleging that Lemon was “rude” to her after the broadcast.
The Post stated that Lemon was advised to take the next day off once CNN president Chris Licht learned of the incident.
According to the story, as a result of the incident, Lemon, Collins, and co-host Poppy Harlow did not attend the White House media Christmas party together or meet before the party for drinks. Rather, they all went individually.
Collins and Harlow left the party, but Lemon did not accompany them, according to the Post.
“At this point, Kaitlan wants to be on set with Don as little as possible. It’s messy,” a source was quoted as saying.
Collins, a former CNN White House correspondent, has been reporting from Washington since January, according to the Washington Post.
CNN has been attempting to handle the position where Lemon, who had his own prime-time show previous to November, is now one of three co-hosts.
“Don has been given notes” by producers “to not talk so much, to let other people talk,” the Post said it was told by a source.
“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 said, referring to the group that once included Beyoncé until she left it behind.
Similarly, celebrity gossip website Radar Online claimed a source last week as stating that Lemon considered Collins and Harlow to be “his backup dancers.”
According to a source “close to Licht and Lemon” quoted by the Post, the conflict was part of the changeover.
“Don has an intractable ego. 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,” the source said.
Another source noted that it was still early days for the CNN morning show: “It’s never smooth sailing in the beginning. They are all trying to get their sea legs.”
In Fox News’ report on the incident, it quoted a CNN representative as saying the Post’s version of events was “wildly overblown.”
“Don, Kaitlan, and Poppy were friends before they were co-anchors, and they remain friends today,” the representative said.
Tensions on the set are not helped by the show’s sagging ratings, according to Fox News.
In November, “CNN This Morning” averaged 454,000 total viewers. That dropped to 389,000 in December and then to 373,000 in January.