The final episode of Reliable Sources on Sunday drew an average of 769,000 total viewers and 105,000 in adults 25-54, according to Nielsen.
That was an increase in the show’s numbers from the previous week, and was the most watched show on CNN on Sunday, according to Nielsen. Fox News’ MediaBuzz, hosted by Howard Kurtz, handily topped the time slot among cable news networks with 1.39 million viewers and 220,000 in the 25-54 demo. Reliable Sources beat MSNBC’s second hour of The Sunday Show with Jonathan Capehart, which drew an average of 641,000 and 76,000 in the 25-54 demo. In the previous week, Reliable Sources averaged 693,000 total viewers and 68,000 in the 25-54 demo.
CNN canceled Reliable Sources last week after a 30-year run, and host Brian Stelter is exiting the network. Replays of Inside Politics will fill the time slot in the interim as CNN reworks its Sunday schedule. The network is seeking a show to appeal to a broader audience than one focused on the media, even though Stelter and his guests on the final show made the case for its existence.
On the show, Stelter said that Reliable Sources “punched above its weight for so many years. Even a former president commented on the cancellation,” referring to Donald Trump.
Sunday’s final show also featured some discussion of the direction of CNN under new corporate parent Warner Bros Discovery, with David Zaslav praising new chairman and CEO Chris Licht for “pivoting” CNN away from a partisan tilt, per Variety. Zaslav said that the country “needs a news network where everybody can come and be heard; Republicans, Democrats.”
Eric Deggans, NPR’s TV critic, warned of the perils of “both sides” journalism at a time of misinformation and threats to democracy. “I hope what we’re not going to see CNN do is institute some sort of false equivalence, where the extremism of one party is balanced with the regular dysfunction of another party. We need to be free to call out when someone breaks the law, when someone breaks norms, when someone introduces prejudice and stereotypes into the public debate.”
John Malone, a major shareholder in Warner Bros Discovery, has been critical of the network under previous boss Jeff Zucker, but in an email to the New York Times, he denied that he played any role in the cancellation of Reliable Sources and the exit of Stelter.
The Reliable Sources newsletter will continue at CNN under Oliver Darcy, senior media reporter.
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