Brian Stelter, sometimes referred to as "Humpty Dumpty," is leaving CNN after the network canceled his show, the ironically titled Reliable Sources. (Dan Rather was a frequent guest.) The final episode will air this Sunday.
"It was a rare privilege to lead a weekly show focused on the press at a time when it has never been more consequential," Stelter told NPR in a statement, adding that he was grateful for the opportunity to cover "the media, truth, and the stories that shape our world."
The announcement puts to rest months of speculation about Stelter's future at CNN following the sudden resignation of president Jeff Zucker in February. Zucker was forced to resign for failing to disclose his long-term romantic relationship with a subordinate executive, Allison Gollust, who previously served as a spokeswoman for disgraced former governor Andrew Cuomo (D., N.Y.).
Some of Stelter's colleagues at CNN argued his failure to expose the relationship was cause for termination. "The network needs to step up and fire Brian Stelter," one CNN insider told the Daily Mail. "He is allegedly our top media reporter—yet he failed to report on the scoop that everyone in the office knew. And if he wants to say he didn't know, he is truly terrible at his job." Others suggested Stelter could be forced out as a result of the new leadership's desire to emphasize real journalism as opposed to mindless partisan hackery.
Zucker's departure was followed several weeks later by the humiliating failure of CNN+, the network's premium streaming service that was shut down a month after its launch in March. CNN has struggled to stay relevant since President Joe Biden took office in 2021. The network's ratings and profits have declined significantly in the absence of former president Donald Trump. Stelter's show was hit especially hard, shedding viewers who were evidently not enthralled by his obsessive coverage of what people were saying on Fox News.
"We appreciate [Stelter's] contributions to the network and wish him well as he embarks on new endeavors," a CNN spokesperson said in a statement. Stelter's most memorable contributions to the network include the time he spell-checked Trump's tweets, the time he told convicted felon Michael Avenatti, "I'm taking you seriously as a [presidential] contender," and the time he nodded along as a Reliable Sources guest told him that Trump "may be responsible for many more million deaths" than dictators Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Mao Zedong.
"End of an era," wrote Stelter's Reliable Sources sidekick Oliver Darcy, who will remain at the network. "It has been a hell of a ride."