‘Doubling down on failure’: ‘D-lister’ Brian Stelter scores a new gig on CNN and has media execs ‘baffled’

If CNN’s Brian Stelter was super stoked about his new gig on his network’s soon-to-launch streaming service, Twitter has no doubt deflated his ego.

Following the announcement Thursday that the “Reliable Sources” anchor would be bringing a daily version of his Sunday show to CNN+, mocking tweets were launched like missiles, with many wondering what in the world a daily dose of Stelter could possibly have to offer.

“If you like his newsletter, you’ll love this show,” CNN Communications promised.

The problem is, not a whole lot of people actually do like Stelter.

Last year, Fox News reported that Stelter broke all the wrong records, drawing just 583,000 viewers to earn it the dubious distinction of “smallest audience of 2021.”

And 2022 hasn’t been any kinder to “Reliable Sources.” This month alone, Stelter’s ratings are down 43% among total viewers, and 65% among the crucial 25-54 demographic, according to Fox News Digital. His Sunday show was beat by “‘Gunsmoke: The Last Apache,’ Food Network’s ‘Delicious Miss Brown’ and ‘Girl Meets Farm,’ HGTV’s ‘Fixer to Fabulous’ … and reruns of ‘The Big Bang Theory.'”

“Sadly, CNN is resorting to D-listers to fill its lineup for CNN+,” said one media executive. “Brian Stelter is one of their poorest ratings performers and a regular source of embarrassment.”

“Why anyone would pay a monthly fee for more Brian Stelter is baffling, and raises serious questions about CNN’s streaming strategy,” the exec added.

Over on Twitter, Glenn Greenwald agreed.

“Someone needs to explain the business strategy of taking hosts that everyone can watch for free but few choose to, and putting them behind a paywall and believing people will now pay to watch the same people they ignore when offered for free,” he tweeted.

Many echoed the sentiment.

“In other words, CNN will now expect the 40 viewers that watch Brian Stelter, to now pay extra to watch Brian Stelter. Smart!” tweeted Lauren Boebert.

“This will be an hour long daily show of Brian Stelter watching Fox News live and just commenting on it,” predicted Stephen L. Miller.

And one Twitter user claimed CNN is “committing programming suicide,” suggesting the network should “move Humpty Dumpty to the back room.”

Clearly, CNN+ just can’t seem to catch a break.

As BizPac Review reported, after luring longtime Fox News anchor Chris Wallace to its lineup, Wallace is now “irate” and “second guessing his decision” following the sudden dismissal of CNN president Jeff Zucker over yet another CNN sex scandal.

An anonymous television insider told Radar Online that “Chris is the type of person who makes it known if he doesn’t like something.”

“He went over there for Zucker and now Zucker is gone,” the source continued. “Wallace feels that he has been stiffed. He’s got no staff, no Executive Producer and the guy he gave up a prized gig for has just walked out the door.”

Twitter’s response to that wasn’t much kinder than the tweets about Stelter.

“Chris Wallace now finds himself at CNN with no producer and no staff,” wrote one user. “I think that’s really funny.”

According to Grabien Media founder Tom Elliott, the situation is “agonizing.”

“If CNN’s collapsing ratings weren’t enough to elicit an agonizing reappraisal of their entire situation, the planned rollout of CNN+ surely is,” Elliott told Fox Digital. “Rather than using their new subscription-based platform to attempt something new and original that people might actually pay for, the leftover project of Jeff Zucker is instead doubling down on failure. For reasons that defy common sense, CNN apparently thinks that taking their least popular opinionists — Don Lemon & Brian Stelter most notably — and moving them into a less structured and more regular format, will somehow turnaround the network’s cratering business.”

“If ever WarnerMedia needed to stage an intervention, now is that time,” Elliot continued, adding, “And I say this as a former CNN fan.”


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