Don Lemon may only be 56 years old, but he has already garnered more fortune than many people will make in their lifetime. This is thanks to a stellar career that has seen him go from local TV stations to working for CNN and becoming the only black prime-time anchor on American TV. From tsunamis to presidential inaugurations, Lemon has covered it all and has received several accolades for his work. He has also made strides as an author and has a New York Times bestseller to his name. It has been an exhilarating journey filled with several challenges, but you can be sure that Don Lemon wouldn’t have it any other way as he continues to impact his community. It doesn’t also hurt that he has acquired a net worth of $12 million along the way.
Don Lemon Began His Career as an Anchor/Reporter for Local TV Stations in Philadelphia and Alabama
Don Lemon currently has a net worth of $12 million, and he worked for every inch of it starting from his early life. During his high school days in Baton Rouge, Lemon was a standout student and was voted class president in his final year. He continued his remarkable ways throughout his college days at Louisiana State University and Brooklyn College and snagged his first job while still in school. Don Lemon started his career with a TV channel known as WNYW (New York) in the mid-90s. He served as a news assistant for the Fox-affiliated TV station, and the experience he gained there helped him to land the position of a weekend news anchor at yet another Fox-affiliated station, WBRC, in Birmingham, Alabama.
From Alabama, Don Lemon later joined other TV stations such as WCAU (Philadelphia) and KVTI (St. Louis) as anchor and anchor/investigative reporter, respectively. All these stations were equally local TV channels, which had affiliations to the big networks, and the salary that Don Lemon was earning at this point couldn’t have been much. It is estimated that local news anchors in American earn around $62,194 per annum on average, and Lemon would have been earning something similar to this. He likely used up a greater chunk of this amount for his living expenses, leaving only a small portion for savings. His net worth would have amounted to no more than tens of thousands of dollars at that period.
He Also Spent Several Years at MSNBC and NBC in the early 2000s
After years of paying his dues on local TV, Don Lemon got a deserved step-up in his career when he was hired by a major network, NBC, in the early 2000s. He would spend about five years with them, during which he served as a correspondent for several of their programs, namely NBC News, The Today Show, and NBC Nightly News. He additionally worked as an anchor on Weekend Today and MSNBC. By 2003, the head honchos at NBC were sufficiently satisfied with Lemon’s work, so he gave him a position as an anchor and reporter for NBC5 News in Chicago. He then went on to become the co-anchor of the popular 5 pm newscast on that channel.
Over the course of this stint with NBC, Don Lemon covered various stories of national and global importance, such as the 2003 SARS outbreak in Canada. He also covered the disastrous explosion of the Columbia space shuttle, which killed all seven crew members. By this point, Don Lemon was possibly earning an average of $78,285 per annum or even more, which was an improvement from his days at local TV. This enabled him to take his net worth into the hundreds of thousands of dollars range.
Don Lemon Currently Hosts his Own CNN Show Called Don Lemon Tonight
Don Lemon has been working at CNN since 2006. In that time, he has covered several breaking news stories such as the Orlando nightclub shooting, the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, the George Zimmerman trial, the Arab Spring, the Japanese tsunami, the death of Osama Bin Laden, and the presidential inauguration of Barack Obama. He presently anchors his show, Don Lemon Tonight, since 2014. The show is a late evening news program featuring news and commentary. In all that he does at CNN, Lemon has endeavored to use his platform to give special coverage to issues affecting black folks.
His courage and brilliance have fetched him several awards. It has also seen him become a famous personality in the U.S. Don Lemon is also among the highest-paid anchors at CNN. Sources have it that some highest-paid personalities at the cable news network include Anderson Cooper – $12 million, Wolf Blitzer – $11 million, Erin Burnett – $3 million, and Jake Tapper – $2 million. Don Lemon’s current salary is $4 million, which means that he is amongst the highest-paid anchors at CNN.
- The 2002 Edward R. Murrow award for outstanding achievement in electronic journalism
- 2006 Chicago/Midwest Emmy Award for outstanding achievement within a regularly scheduled news program – specialty report: business/consumer
- 2006 Chicago/Midwest Emmy Award for outstanding achievement within a regularly scheduled news program – soft news feature series
- 2006 Chicago/Midwest Emmy award for outstanding achievement for alternate media/ new media interactivity
- Ebony Power 150: the most influential blacks in America (2009)
The CNN Anchor is a New York Bestselling Author
Aside from his regular paychecks, another source that has contributed to Don Lemon’s $12 million net worth is his books. The CNN anchor has found time out of his busy schedule to pen about three books to date, namely Everybody’s Scrapbook Curious Facts: A Book of Odd Moments, Transparent (2011), and This is the fire: What I Say to My Friends about Racism (2021). This is Fire chronicles the legacy of slavery in Lemon’s heritage, his upbringing in the shadows of segregation, the slave uprising in Louisiana, and the Widespread Protests against Police Brutality in 2020.
The book was especially poignant given all that America was going through at the moment. This spurred many people to buy it, and it went on to become a New York Times bestseller atop the non-fiction list. This means that it has sold at least 20,000 copies. Going by the standard royalties rate, it means that Lemon has possibly earned up to a quarter of a million dollars from all his books.
Don Lemon is also an Adjunct Professor at His Alma Mater – The Brooklyn College
Don Lemon is also working hard to ensure that he passes his expertise, experience, and knowledge to the next generation of journalists. The CNN anchor serves as an adjunct professor at Brooklyn College, New York, where he teaches and participates in a curriculum designed around new media. It is unknown if this particular role is a paid one, as Lemon could be doing this solely on a charitable basis. However, if paid, then he will likely be earning in the region of $67.58 per hour that he spends in class.
Lemon is undoubtedly well achieved in ramifications, but his high-profile career has not come without some controversies. He has been accused of sexually charged assault and battery. The matter is expected to make it to court in 2021, and he has denied all wrongdoing. The CNN anchor has also faced death threats online, laced with racial slurs. He refuses to bow down though but continues to carry out his responsibilities impeccably.