Aug 18, 2022 - Economy

CNN chief media correspondent Brian Stelter to exit

Brian Stelter attends CNN Heroes at the American Museum of Natural History on December 08, 2019 in New York City. Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for WarnerMedia

Brian Stelter, the host of CNN's longtime media analysis show, "Reliable Sources" is leaving the network, sources told Axios. His last show will be Sunday, Aug. 21. After that, CNN will cancel the program.

Why it matters: Reliable Sources is one of CNN's longest-running programs. The show debuted in 1993, just at the beginning of the cable news era.

  • Stelter is one of CNN's most prolific on-air personalities when it comes to digital reporting. He, alongside CNN media reporter Oliver Darcy, author one of the industry's most authoritative media newsletters.
  • The show's staff has been laid off but the Reliable Sources newsletter will continue, sources tell Axios.
  • In addition to his weekly Sunday program, Stelter briefly hosted a daily weekly streaming media show "Reliable Sources Daily," for CNN's now-defunct streaming service, CNN+.

Details: Inside Politics will re-air in Reliable Sources's 11 a.m. time slot for the time being, following Sunday's last show.

  • The show's staff and Stelter were informed of the decision Wednesday.
  • Around four staff members from the show were laid off.
  • The Reliable Sources newsletter will continue to publish, although it may be rebranded.
  • A source told Axios that subscribers will get a brief update Thursday night about plans for the company's reimagined media coverage, which will likely be more focused on the business side of media.

Catch up quick: Stelter came to Reliable Sources in 2013 after five years as a media reporter with The New York Times.

  • He was hired by then-CNN president Jeff Zucker to replace Howard Kurtz, a longtime media critic who left CNN in 2013 to host a rival media criticism show for Fox News.
  • Stelter was chosen to host the program after a rotation of various media journalists auditioned for the part. His deep rolodex of sources factored into his selection.
  • Stelter rose to prominence in the media industry after selling the TV analysis blog that he started in college, TVNewser, to Mediabistro, which later became a part of Adweek.
  • His expertise in the business of television was made evident in his 2013 book about the drama of the morning television news business 'Top of the Morning," which years later inspired Apple's streaming drama "The Morning Show." Stelter served as a consulting producer on the show.

What they're saying: “We are proud of what Brian and his team accomplished over the years, and we’re confident their impact and influence will long outlive the show,” said Amy Entelis, executive vice president at CNN Worldwide, who called Stelter an "impeccable broadcaster."

  • “CNN will end its Reliable Sources program on Sunday, August 21st. As a result, Brian Stelter will leave the company," a spokesperson said. "We appreciate his contributions to the network and wish him well as he embarks on new endeavors.”

The big picture: The show cancellation comes amid sweeping changes at CNN.

  • CNN's new boss, Chris Licht, has been evaluating whether personalities and programming that grew polarizing during the Trump era, could adapt to the network's new priority to be less partisan.
  • He has also brought in new executives to help reimagine what programming should look like at CNN moving forward.
  • Sources told Axios that Ryan Kadro, a veteran producer and news executive, has been hired as the senior vice president of content strategy and development, reporting to CNN executive vice president Amy Entelis.
  • Kadro, who left the Recount in May, previously led news content at Quibi and was a top producer at CBS. A longtime friend of Licht, Kadro is being brough on to help brainstorm and develop new programming at the network, including CNN's morning show.
  • CNN has been adding new programs to its Sunday lineup. In addition to Chris Wallace's new show at 7:00 p.m. ET, a source told Axios that there is a new long-form show in development for 8:00 p.m.

What to watch: Where Stelter lands.

Disclosure: This author worked at CNN with Stelter on Reliable Sources in 2013.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with new details throughout.

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