Key WarnerBros. Discovery shareholder John Malone reportedly denied involvement in CNN’s decision to ax Brian Stelter this week and cancel his “Reliable Sources” program – but called for the network to return to non-partisan coverage.
Malone, a billionaire board director at WarnerBros. Discovery and shut confidant of CEO David Zaslav, said he had “nothing to do with” Stelter’s exit from CNN, a report said Friday.
Malone also acknowledged to the Latest York Times that he wanted “the ‘news’ portion of CNN to be more centrist,” though he added that he was “not on top of things or directly involved” on the network.”
Stelter had developed a repute for espousing left-leaning viewpoints and clashing with conservatives under ex-CNN boss Jeff Zucker.
The Post has reached out to CNN for comment.
CNN also canceled Stelter’s show “Reliable Sources.”
Malone is an influential force at WarnerBros. Discovery. He has been vocal about his preferences for CNN’s future path because the merger between the 2 corporations moved forward during the last 12 months.
“I would really like to see CNN evolve back to the form of journalism that it began with, and really have journalists, which can be unique and refreshing,” Malone said during an interview with CNBC last November.
Chris Licht is leading an overhaul at CNN.Variety via Getty Images
“I do imagine good journalism could have a job on this future portfolio that Discovery-TimeWarner’s going to represent,” he added on the time.
As The Post reported, CNN canned Stelter as a part of a plan to unveil a refreshed Sunday lineup with recent programs, including “Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace,” which is able to begin airing next month.
Zaslav and recent CNN President Chris Licht are leading an overhaul at CNN, with each executives publicly calling on the network to shift toward fact-based, non-partisan coverage quite than the opinion-based approach of its past regime.
A source told The Post that Stelter nevertheless was “taken off guard” by the news, despite persistent rumors that his job was on the road.
Licht provided more details about his plans for CNN during a Friday meeting with staffers wherein he indicated that the shakeup was just starting.
“It is a time of change, and I do know that it’s unsettling,” Licht said. “There will likely be more changes and you would possibly not understand it or prefer it all.”
“We’ll proceed covering media stories, including on TV, when warranted,” Licht added. “Give us a while, see how things develop, after which give us feedback.”
Earlier this 12 months, WarnerBros. Discovery shuttered the $300 million CNN+ streaming service only one month after it launched as a part of a broader cost-cutting initiative. The cancellation occurred after CNN+ didn’t draw many subscribers.