How X Is Trying to Win Over Influencers

The last time Don Lemon sat down to film a TV segment in April, he perched on a stool in front of the glaring lights of a CNN studio. When he starts filming again after a nearly yearlong hiatus, Mr. Lemon will have a different backdrop — and he will be calling his own shots.

He will begin his next act, “The Don Lemon Show,” on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. The former CNN anchor, who was fired by the network last year, is among several politicos, celebrities and reporters who X has wooed recently as part of a plunge into original video content.

In its former life as Twitter, the social media service never quite figured out how to attract influencers — and the money that comes with them. Linda Yaccarino, X’s chief executive, is now relying on her television industry ties to make the site a destination for video creators. If successful, the effort could bring advertisers and eyeballs back to the platform after its owner, Elon Musk, excoriated brands and told them not to spend their money with X.

Ms. Yaccarino spent three decades at Turner Entertainment and NBCUniversal before joining X last year. Her vision for influencers on the social media platform is less TikTok, more TV.

Linda Yaccarino sits at a table in a hearing room. People sit on either side of her.
Linda Yaccarino, the chief executive of X, is trying to make the site a destination for video creators.Jason Andrew for The New York Times

She has focused on signing up celebrities with dedicated audiences to make shows that run for up to three hours, a departure from X’s niche of 240-character text snippets, according to interviews with an X executive and representatives for the creators. She has at times relied on the business relationships that she forged during her previous career to lock down talent and negotiate bespoke deals.

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