Brian Stelter will leave CNN as his ‘reliable sources’ are canceled

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CNN chief media correspondent Brian Stelter is leaving the company, and the network will cancel the 30-year-old weekly media news show he has hosted since 2013.

Sunday’s episode of “Reliable Sources” will be the last, network spokesman Matt Dornic said. “We appreciate his contributions to the network and wish him well as he embarks on new projects,” he added.

CNN executive Amy Entelis in a separate statement said Stelter “leaves CNN an impeccable broadcaster” and the company is “confident [his team’s] the impact and influence will long outlive the spectacle.

The news of the cancellation, which was first reported by NPR, is the first major programming shake-up under new network boss Chris Licht. The veteran news producer and television executive began serving as president and CEO of CNN Worldwide in May, replacing Jeff Zucker, who was ousted by parent company management in February.

Licht, under the supervision of the managing director of Warner Bros. Discovery’s David Zaslav has indicated he wants to steer CNN in a more neutral and less opinionated direction, though he’s been slow to embrace big changes, taking time to study current programming and speak up. with the employees.

“Reliable Sources,” launched in 1992, dives into the biggest news stories of the week, bringing together journalists, politicians and pundits to discuss how the news is covered and how it affects society. In recent years, the show has become more politically charged, as the focus has shifted to the growing influence of conservative cable rival Fox News and the right-wing disinformation efforts of former President Donald Trump and his allies. As Stelter talked more about it on Fox — the subject of his 2020 bestselling book “Hoax” — he himself was frequently criticized and ridiculed by Fox News hosts such as Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity.

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His show was one of only two national television news programs devoted to reporting and analysis of the media industry. The other, Fox News’ “MediaBuzz” show, is hosted by Howard Kurtz, who ran “Reliable Sources” for 15 years before Stelter.

Between August 2021 and the end of July, “Reliable Sources” averaged 748,000 total viewers, topping CNN’s schedule on Sundays and ahead of the competition on MSNBC at 11 a.m. — but trailing Kurtz’s show on Fox News. Licht has, however, made other recent changes to CNN’s weekend lineup, including the decision to dedicate the 7 p.m. hour on Sunday nights to former Fox News anchor Chris Wallace, who came to the network to host a show on the CNN Plus streaming service which was shut down only weeks after its launch. CNN Plus also hosted a daily version of “Reliable Sources”, hosted by Stelter, before it was shut down.

Stelter, 36, joined CNN from The New York Times in 2013, where he established himself as one of the media’s top reporters from an early age; he got his start in the field by starting his own widely read TV news industry blog, TV Newser, while a student at Towson University. In addition to its weekly show, Stelter also produced an influential daily media newsletter for CNN.

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Jeremy Littau, an associate professor and sociologist of media at Lehigh University, hailed “Reliable Sources” and Stelter’s work in particular as a rare broadcast platform for media introspection. “He’s part of a dying breed of institutional self-criticism,” Littau said. “He wasn’t afraid to put his own network to the test sometimes and be self-critical of the network.” Also noting the decline of newspaper ombudsmen, Littau said criticizing your own industry or institution is “always a high-flying act.”

In a statement Stelter shared with The Washington Post, he said he was “grateful for my nine years with CNN, proud of what we’ve accomplished on Reliable Sources, and so grateful to the viewers who tuned in every week. for our examination of the media, the truth and the stories that shape our world. He added that “it was a rare privilege to lead a weekly news-focused show at a time when it has never been more consequential”.

Oliver Darcy, a senior media reporter for CNN, will continue to work on the network and run the network’s nightly newscast, CNN spokesperson Dornic said. The small staff dedicated to working on the weekly TV show will have the opportunity to apply for new jobs at CNN.

Licht’s next big decision will come in picking a 9 p.m. host to replace Chris Cuomo, who was let go in December. He also said he plans to revamp the network’s morning show, “New Day.”

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