White House correspondent Abby Phillip squirmed after the reptile began crawling up her body during a debate about the merits of impeaching the US president.
CNN host Jake Tapper interrupted the broadcast to check on Ms Phillip.
"Hold on, Abby, what was that?" he asked.
"There was a lizard climbing on me, sorry," she replied. "I don't think it's OK, but I'm fine."
She later described the incident as "literally my nightmare".
Literally my nightmare just happened on live tv, nbd https://t.co/YabYSM3a1U— Abby D. Phillip (@abbydphillip) April 19, 2019
Some criticised Ms Philip for appearing to kill the reptile as she swatted it away, with one person writing: “How lovely to crush an innocent being on live TV and everyone is convulsed in mirth over it. We are so careless about the beings with whom we share the planet.”
But fellow White House reporter Betsy Klein later confirmed the creature was unharmed.
"The lizard is fine, it slithered off unscathed. (I was an eyewitness)," she tweeted.