CNN boss signals “time of change” after Brian Stelter’s departure

CNN boss Chris Licht told staff that “more changes” are coming after it was announced this week that “Reliable Sources” host Brian Stelter is leaving the network and his show will be cancelled.

“This is a time of change and I know it’s troubling,” Licht said of Stelter’s exit during a staff meeting on Friday, adding, “There will be more changes and you may not understand it or you may not like it. “

Addressing Stelter, who has hosted the media analytics program since 2013 and whose final show airs Sunday, Licht said, “I really appreciate everything Brian has done to build the media punch for CNN. He’s a great person and a good person. I wish him all the best in his new venture.”

Licht, who joined CNN in May to replace disgraced CNN CEO Jeff Zucker, asked staff for patience.

“We will continue to report media stories, including on television, when warranted,” Licht said. “Give us some time, see how things develop and then give us feedback.”

Brian Steller
CNN’s top media analyst, Brian Stelter, left the cable news network Thursday after his show “Reliable Sources” was canceled.
CNN world headquarters in Atlanta
Under new leadership, CNN will focus more on fact-based reporting than opinion-based analysis.
LightRocket via Getty Images

A representative from CNN confirmed Licht’s recent comments previously reported by the Daily Beast, adding that they are similar to previous statements previously reported by the media.

CNN’s cancellation of Reliable Sources comes as the 11 a.m. Sunday show stretched ratings. It also follows a major push under Licht to make CNN’s reporting more centrist and less left-leaning. The host of Reliable Sources, for example, has been outspoken about his views on former President Donald Trump, a holdover from Zucker’s tenure at CNN.

The executive noted that the Reliable Sources newsletter will be relaunched under reporter Oliver Darcy and that CNN will be “expanding” its coverage.

Brian Steller
Stelter has been outspoken about his views on ex-President Trump, as well as conservative issues and media, which clashed with CNN’s new mission under light.

Zucker, who was boosting CNN’s opinion-based reporting, was ousted over an office romance with his lieutenant, Allison Gollust, who also quit.

Hired by CNN’s new parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery, Licht has slowly made a name for itself at the behest of CEO David Zaslav and influential shareholder John Malone.

Last week, Jeffrey Toobin, CNN’s scandal-ridden legal analyst, left the network. Previously, Licht introduced a number of changes to editorial policies to increase CNN’s journalistic credibility. These included reducing the use of “breaking news” banners on air, using less partisan terms to describe Trump’s false election claims, and a recall of partisan rhetoric on air. CNN boss signals “time of change” after Brian Stelter’s departure


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