During an interview on the New York Times podcast “Sway,” host Kara Swisher asked Lemon if he was “worried about the viewership fizzle.”
“No. I’m not worried about it,” Lemon responded. “The reason I’m not worried about it is because it beats the alternative. The alternative of him being in there and us having to figure out how we deal with lies, and bigotry, and hate, and the toxicity that was the Trump administration. Which has nothing for me to do with my ideology or politics because people have accused me of being conservative. It has nothing to do with politics.”
“Trump was a horrible person. And he was terrible for the country. And it is better for all — for the world that he is no longer the President of the United States,” Lemon continued. “So if that means that cable news ratings go down? Aww. So I’m not really that concerned about it. I would prefer that my ratings go down and Trump not be in office than my ratings be sky-high and him be there. That’s the honest truth.”
Lemon also acknowledged that his program “CNN Tonight” served as “therapy for Trump haters.”
“The difference between me and I think other people is that I tell the truth. But I do it through emotion and I may — you know — a bit more animated,” the anchor told Swisher.
CNN has been hemorrhaging viewers since Trump left office, losing roughly half of its audience in key measurables since January following a brief post-Election Day spike.
CNN averaged 2.5 million primetime viewers from Nov. 4, the day following the presidential election, through Inauguration Day. But viewers fled the liberal network once President Biden took office, and CNN has averaged only 1.6 million primetime viewers from Jan. 21 through March 15.
CNN’s viewership during the primetime hours of 8-11 p.m. ET dropped 36% since Biden took office after a spike following Election Day. CNN’s primetime viewership decline was even sharper among the key demographic of adults aged 25 to 54, plummeting 47% during the same period.
Fox News’ Brian Flood contributed to this report.