CNN’s Brian Stelter draws smallest audience of 2021, attracts only 583K viewers

Media top headlines November 23

In media news today, NBC suggests not having Thanksgiving this year, CBS’ ‘Face the Nation’ corrects claim Rittenhouse crossed state lines while armed, and PolitiFact gives Jen Psaki ‘false’ rating over claim ‘no economist’ believes Biden agenda will fuel inflation.

CNN’s “Reliable Sources” with left-wing host Brian Stelter had its smallest audience of 2021 on Sunday, failing to surpass 600,000 viewers for the first time.

Stelter’s program averaged a dismal 583,000 viewers, shedding another 10% from the previous week which was also among the struggling program’s worst turnouts of the year. “Reliable Sources” has now failed to average 800,000 viewers for a staggering 12 straight weeks. 

CNN’s "Reliable Sources" with left-wing host Brian Stelter had its smallest audience of 2021 on Sunday. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
(David Becker/Getty Images)

“Reliable Sources,” which bills itself as a program that examines the media industry on a weekly basis, has essentially emerged as an hour of conservative bashing. Stelter completely ignored MSNBC getting banned from the Kyle Rittenhouse trial, instead spending time interviewing “1619 Project” author Nikole Hannah-Jones and ABC News reporter Jonathan Karl about their books. 

A variety of basic cable offerings including HGTV’s “Fixer to Fabulous,” TLC’s “90 Day Fiancé: The Other way,” Food Network’s “Kid’s Baking Championship,” multiple repeats of “The Big Bang Theory,” decades-old repeats of “Gunsmoke” and various Hallmark movies all outdrew Stelter’s program on Sunday alone. 

Multiple repeats of "The Big Bang Theory" outdrew CNN’s "Reliable Sources."

Stelter also had segments criticizing conservative media coverage of the Rittenhouse trial, explaining “news whiplash” and complaining that CNN can’t air trials related to the Capitol riot because cameras aren’t allowed in Federal court. 

Stelter also struggled to attract viewers among the advertiser-coveted demographic of adults age 25-54, averaging only 87,000 for his fourth-smallest audience of the year in the critical category. 

Brian Stelter’s program averaged a dismal 583,000 viewers. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for WarnerMedia)
(Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for WarnerMedia)

Fox News’ timeslot competition, “MediaBuzz,” averaged 1.5 million viewers and 201,000 among the demo to thump Stelter in both categories. Fox News’ 1 a.m. ET encore presentation of Fox Nation’s Patriot Awards also outdrew CNN’s “Reliable Sources.” 


“Reliable Sources” has now set 2021 viewership lows for three straight weeks. 

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