OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
CNN’s “Reliable Sources” host Brian Stelter’s career could be on the line as his show has tanked in viewership and CNN’s new bosses have already made several changes at the network.
His show had its lowest-rated episode since September 2019 on Sunday when only 580,000 viewers tuned into the struggling program.
“Reliable Sources also struggled in the advertiser-coveted demographic of adults age 25-54, averaging only 73,000 viewers from the critical category. Stelter’s program shed 13% of the total audience who tuned into the show that precedes it, Fareed Zakaria GPS, and lost 25% of Zakaria’s viewers among the demo. It was Stelter’s smallest audience since Sept. 15, 2019,” Fox News reported.
“Stelter’s media affairs program turned a blind eye to the jarring lack of coverage the press gave to the aborted assassination attempt of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. The New York Times, ABC, NBC, CBS, and CNN were all criticized by conservatives for downplaying or ignoring the alarming incident, but Stelter paid the story no heed,” the report added.
Partisan CNN hosts Brian Stelter and Jim Acosta, along with other biased hosts, could be gone as the network undergoes changes.
The new boss at CNN, Chris Licht, “is evaluating whether personalities and programming that grew polarizing during the Trump era can adapt to the network’s new priority to be less partisan,” Axios reported.
Three sources close to the situation said that if the talent can not adjust and be more straight news and less partisan they could be gone.
It is reported that he wants to give the current talent a chance to prove that they can do straight news and not tarnish CNN’s reputation, which may be tarnished right now.
“We are truth-tellers, focused on informing, not alarming our viewers,” Licht said to employees in a memo. “If talent cannot adjust to a less partisan tone and strategy, they could be ousted, three sources familiar with the matter tell Axios.”
But that is not the only change. Licht also agrees with others that CNN uses the “Breaking News’ banner far too often.
“Something I have heard from people both inside and outside the organization is complaints we overuse the ‘Breaking News’ banner. I agree,” the new boss said.
“It has become such a fixture on every channel and network that its impact has become lost on the audience. Starting today, CNN has added a ‘Breaking News’ guideline to our stylebook. A special thank you to Sam Feist, who led the team that put the guideline together. It certainly will need tweaks, so we are open to feedback, but this is a great starting point to try to make ‘Breaking News’ mean something BIG is happening,” he said.
Licht wants the cable news giant to focus more on “nuance” rather than “hype.”
Bye-bye, "breaking news" banners.
A month into his tenure as the new leader of CNN, Chris Licht is changing the news network from the Jeff Zucker days, encouraging less hype and more nuance. Some at the network are skeptical. https://t.co/BZhOE135Z5
— The New York Times (@nytimes) June 5, 2022
Another report from TVNewser reveals that Warner Bros. Discovery has begun laying off staffers less than a month after pulling the plug on CNN’s failed streaming service.
“It is unclear how many people are affected in total, but approximately 23 staffers in CNN’s Hudson Yards offices were told today that their positions were being eliminated, according to a source. Another source confirmed that layoffs had occurred, but noted that the company is still trying to place those impacted CNN+ staffers in other positions around CNN and Warner Bros. Discovery,” TVNewser reported.
Licht said in an internal memo that “all CNN+ employees will continue to be paid and receive benefits for the next 90 days to explore opportunities at CNN, CNN Digital, and elsewhere in the Warner Bros. Discovery family.”
“Last month, Warner Bros. Discovery shut down the highly-publicized subscription-based streaming news service CNN+, less than a month after it launched. That decision came less than two weeks after WarnerMedia and Discovery formally merged. Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav has pledged to find $3 billion in cost savings, raising the likelihood of significant layoffs as the companies combine,” the report added.