Musk’s X inks content deals with former CNN host Lemon, Tulsi Gabbard

By Sheila Dang

(Reuters) -Social media company X on Tuesday announced three new content deals with former CNN anchor Don Lemon, former U.S. congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and sports radio host Jim Rome, part of an effort to grow video content on the site.

The Elon Musk-owned platform, formerly Twitter, has struggled to retain advertisers amid of series of controversies ever since the billionaire bought the company in 2022, and is betting brands could return alongside the three personalities.

In a blog post on Tuesday, X said it was now a “video-first platform” and users were watching videos in 80% of their sessions.

“The Don Lemon Show” will have three 30-minute episodes per week, covering politics, culture, sports and entertainment, X said in a post on the platform.

The new show marks Lemon’s return after he said he was fired from CNN in April. CNN in a statement at the time said it had parted ways with Lemon but did not give a reason for his departure.

“I know now more than ever that we need a place for honest debate and discussion without the hall monitors,” Lemon said on X, calling the platform “the biggest space for free speech in the world.”

Gabbard said she was partnering with X on a series of short films to share stories of people “whose voices are silenced.”

Rome, host of “The Jim Rome Show,” will stream a new show on X five days a week starting after the Super Bowl, X said.

The company partnered with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson last year for an exclusive show following his departure from the network after a damaging lawsuit over false claims of election fraud.

(Reporting by Sheila Dang in Austin; Editing by Mark Porter)