CNN has cancelled Brian Stelter’s Sunday show after new boss Chris Licht vowed to clean up the network, according to Yashar Ali.
Chief media correspondent and Reliable Sources host is the second casualty of the network after Licht took over in early 2022.
Stelter confirmed in a statement to NPR that he would be stepping down from the show, which he has hosted for the past nine years and celebrated its 30th anniversary in March
He said he was grateful for the show and his team’s examination of ‘the media, truth and the stories that shape our world.’
Stelter added: ‘It was a rare privilege to lead a weekly show focused on the press at a time when it has never been more consequential’, promising to say more on the final episode of the show on Sunday.
CNN’s new boss Chris Licht is currently working to revive the scandal-hit network after several high profile incidents, and informed Stelter of the news yesterday.
Stelter was reportedly summoned to Licht’s office on Wednesday, and left looking ‘ashen and refused to talk about the conversation’, according to Puck News.
In a statement on Twitter, he said: ‘I picked a bad day to violate the ABC rule — Always Be Charging. I took the kiddos out sightseeing in midtown Manhattan and my phone’s at 2%.’
CNN confirmed in a statement to DailyMail.com that Stelter’s last show will be on Sunday.
‘As a result, Brian Stelter will leave the company. We appreciate his contributions and wish him well as he embarks on new endeavors,’ a spokesperson said.
Critics were calling for Stelter to be sacked earlier this year after he failed to report the ‘open secret’ affair between former top boss Jeff Zucker and staffer Allison Gollust.
Brian Stelter, pictured, has become the first casualty of new CNN boss Chris Licht after failing to report the ‘open secret’ affair between top boss Jeff Zucker and staffer Allison Gollust
Stelter confirmed the news in a statement, before joking on twitter that he had chosen a ‘bad day’ to not charge his phone
CNN’s new boss Chris Licht is currently working to revive the scandal-hit network, with Stelter being the first to get the chop
Jeffrey Toobin returned to the air in June 2021 after an eight-month suspension, but announced last week that he would not be returning after his vacation
Zucker stepped down as CNN president in February for failing to disclose his relationship with Gollust when he was being interviewed as part of the investigation into Chris Cuomo.
He and Gollust claim the romance started during COVID, but media sources tell DailyMail.com it long predates the pandemic and was an open-secret in the CNN offices.
It comes just days after CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin announced that he is leaving the network after 20 years.
The analyst was infamously caught masturbating on a Zoom call with colleagues at the New Yorker magazine, only to be invited back by CNN’s disgraced ex-boss Jeff Zucker
Toobin has insisted he made the decision to quit himself – but speculation is mounting that the was forced out by new boss Chris Licht.
The analyst was infamously caught masturbating on a Zoom call with colleagues at the New Yorker magazine, only to be invited back by CNN’s disgraced ex-boss Jeff Zucker.
A source told DailyMail.com: ‘Chris is really focused on CNN turning a corner. He actually listens to what people want and isn’t driven by ego.
‘He’s moving CNN back to the center, he abolished the ridiculous breaking news cut ins and graphics that drove everyone crazy and he knows that no one will shed a tear re Toobin’s departure, especially the women of CNN.’
A cable news veteran, who wishes not to be named, spoke of the close relationship between Stelter and Zucker.
‘Brian Stelter should be calling his agent to start looking for another job,’ they said. ‘He’s been Jeff Zucker’s water boy for years and no one believes he didn’t know about all of this.’
Gollust and Zucker lived in the same apartment building with their respective families, have worked together at NBC and then CNN for more than 20 years, and had what some called an ‘uncomfortably cozy’ rapport.
Stelter was the chief media correspondent for CNN and host of the CNN program Reliable Sources before it was announced the show was being cancelled
Jeff Zucker and Allison Gollust at the Billy Joel concert at Madison Square Garden on November 5, 2021 with Don Lemon (right) and Fareed Zakaria (bottom left). Zucker stepped down as President of CNN as a result of their romance and the fact he lied about it while being quizzed for the investigation into Chris Cuomo
They are both now divorced, and one source told DailyMail.com that their splits were due in part to their relationship.
Toobin was famously fired in November 2020 by The New Yorker, after 27 years, when he was caught on camera masturbating during a Zoom conversation with colleagues.
He claimed he didn’t realize his webcam was still on when he began masturbating.
CNN suspended him for eight months before welcoming him back – to the anger of many at the network.
Toobin said that he had decided to leave, but some within the company saw it as part of a wider move by the new boss, Chris Licht, to clean up the network after scandals involving anchor Chris Cuomo and president of the company, Jeff Zucker.
The source added: ‘He just needs to fix 9pm. We’re all rooting for the talented and undervalued Dana Bash to be given that slot.
‘You want a neutral journalist to appeal to both sides, he’s got to put Dana in.’
The 9pm slot was previously held by Chris Cuomo, who saw his show Cuomo Prime Time cancelled in late November after the anchor was suspended and then fired for helping his brother, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, while he was accused of sexual harassment.
Chief media correspondent and Reliable Sources Host is the first casualty of the network after Licht took over in early 2022.
Zucker with his ex-wife Caryn in 2011 (left) and Gollust with her ex-husband Billy (right) in 2008. The pair have known each other and worked together for 20 years, starting at ABC, and media sources say their affair was an ‘open secret’
During his first appearance back on air, Toobin apologized to his wife Amy McIntosh and his three children
Chris was fired in December last year after an internal investigation found he had helped his brother Andrew, former Governor of New York, navigate through a sexual misconduct scandal, while still working as a CNN host.
He is still fighting for $18million – the remainder of his contract – but Zucker has refused to pay out, citing the conflict of interest between Chris’s relationship with his brother and his on-air reporting for CNN.
According to Politico’s sources, Cuomo’s team said it was hypocritical for Zucker to fire Chris for a conflict of interest when he has one of his own in his relationship with Gollust.
Since November, CNN has been trialing several potential replacements for the 9pm show – among them Jim Acosta, Laura Coates, Michael Smerconish and Sarah Sidner.
Toobin appeared on shows across the network, and on Friday he said he would miss his CNN colleagues.
His return to CNN a year ago, in June 2021, was accompanied by a fawning interview in which he issued to a groveling apology to his colleagues for his ‘deeply moronic’ behavior and said he was ‘incredibly grateful’ for being allowed back on air.