CNN’s Brian Stelter returns from vacation to host lowest-rated ‘Reliable Sources’ of year

Show performed better with replacement host John Avlon

CNN’s struggling media program "Reliable Sources" with Brian Stelter hit another low on Sunday with its smallest audience of 2021 as the liberal program has now failed to crack the one-million viewer plateau for five consecutive weeks.  

Stelter’s program averaged only 810,000 total viewers and a dismal 163,000 among the key demographic of adults age 25-54 on May 2, for its worst performance of the year in both categories.

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To make matters worse for Stelter, his own show performed better last week when replacement host John Avlon filled in. The Avlon-hosted edition of "Reliable Sources" on April 25 averaged 907,000 for nearly a 100,000-viewer increase over Stelter’s return.

"Reliable Sources" with Brian Stelter averaged only 810,000 total viewers and a dismal 163,000 among the key demographic of adults age 25-54 on May 2 for its worst performance of the year in both categories. (Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)

"Reliable Sources" with Brian Stelter averaged only 810,000 total viewers and a dismal 163,000 among the key demographic of adults age 25-54 on May 2 for its worst performance of the year in both categories. (Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images) ( )

Avlon also topped Stelter’s most recent episode in the key demo, averaging 182,000 viewers among the group coveted by advertisers.

Stelter, who tweeted from his vacation spot to promote the previous edition of "Reliable Sources," has struggled to attract an audience since former President Trump left office. The far-left pundit spent years criticizing Trump’s every step, typically refraining from criticizing liberals and devoting ample time to bashing conservative media. The strategy doesn’t appear to be working as "Reliable Sources" has now been under one million viewers for seven of the past eight weeks.

"Reliable Sources" isn’t the only struggling CNN program, as revamped morning show "New Day" flounders. Newly minted co-host Brianna Keilar hasn’t been able to help the beleaguered show, as "New Day" had its worst week of the year among total viewers last week. It was even down five percent compared to the previous week when Keilar debuted in the seat previously occupied by Alisyn Camerota.

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"New Day" is now averaging fewer than 500,000 viewers since it relaunched with Keilar and is down 37 percent compared to the first quarter when Camerota was still seated beside co-host John Berman.

"Reliable Sources" and "New Day" both contributed to CNN finishing the week of April 26 through May 2 with its worst performance since the week of February 17, 2020.

All data courtesy of Nielsen Media Research.