What’s Worse: CNN’s Ratings or Eating Cicadas? (Answer? Both.)

June 2nd, 2021 7:17 PM

On Monday, one could have diagnosed CNN’s New Day co-host Brianna Keilar deciding to eat cicadas as the show’s “shark jumping” moment, but that would have meant that the show was successful to begin with when, in reality, it’s been a dumpster fire since its April 19 reboot.

Nielsen Media Research has the numbers and, unless you’re puppetmaster Jeff Zucker and his minions with their heads in the sand, they’re not pretty with an audience of under 500,000 total viewers for five weeks in a row (with only the first week being north of that).



Coming off its worst week of 2021, CNN decided that eating cicadas as a preview of how Americans should be required to eat in the future (thanks to climate change, or something like that). It should be noted that, just a day later, the FDA came out with a warning that cicadas shouldn’t be consumed “if you’re allergic to seafood.”

So, if cicadas shouldn’t be consumed by anyone with a seafood allergy, then what are they supposed to eat in this socialist utopia?

Keilar twice teased this endeavor in the 7:00 a.m. Eastern hour before finally arriving at the segment, which began by citing how the reemergence of cicadas (dubbed Brood X) numbers in the trillions was welcome news to sushi chef Bun Lai, who’s “excited to....put them on his menu.”

She joked that she was “not really ready, I have to be honest,” but Lai quickly assured the liberal co-host that cicadas are a scrumptious food because “eating insects is really the future and it’s been the past of humanity as well.”

Lai had her pick out a cannister of live cicadas and begin rolling them in seaweed to form a sushi roll so as to trick her into thinking she’d be eating live cicadas.

Along with Keilar’s joke that her “husband is, like, not going to kiss me for a week,” Lai revealed that she’d instead eat a pre-made sushi roll of boiled cicadas, leaving her relieved that a cicada jokingly named after co-host John Berman wouldn’t face a gruesome end.

After more banter between Keilar and Berman (who somehow skirted this assignment), Keilar finally took a bite, which consisted of a cringeworthy crunch and Keilar remarking that it was “actually quite delicious” that reminded her of “soft-shelled crab” or “a spider roll.”

If you’ve survived this far in the blog, we’ll give you a reprieve by digging deeper into New Day’s ratings. Week-to-week, the show was flat in total viewers and down two percent in the 25-54 demographic, but over the last two weeks, it’s been a steeper drop of 10 percent in total viewers and 14 percent in the demo.

So instead of shifting gears from leftist and Fox News-hating punditry masquerading as journalism, Zuckerville might want to change its tune. But like the idea that cicadas are a delectable meal of the future, CNN has plowed ahead into the abyss.

Following Lai’s salesman pitch that people should get used to eating things like cicads because “[w]e’re going to have to shift the way we eat,” Keilar concluded with nothing but effusive praise for him and proceeding to eat more cicadas.


To see the relevant CNN transcript from May 31, click “expand.”

CNN’s New Day with John Berman and Brianna Keilar
May 31, 2021
7:26 a.m. Eastern [TEASE]

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: “Brood X” Delicacy; Chef Puts Cicadas on Menu After 17 Years Underground]

BRIANNA KEILAR: And if we are known for anything here on New Day, it is for our high story account about cicadas. So how is this one? Have you ever wondered what cicadas taste like?

JOHN BERMAN: I’m wondering right now.

KEILAR: Bleh! I’m about to find out.


7:47 a.m. Eastern [TEASE]

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: “Brood X” Delicacy; Chef Puts Cicadas on Menu After 17 Years Underground]

BERMAN: And a culinary delicacy 17 years in the making. Cicadas on the menu, but just for Brianna Keilar. Stay with us. It’s true.


7:51 a.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: “Brood X” Delicacy; Chef Puts Cicadas on Menu After 17 Years Underground] 

KEILAR: Across the country, billions — trillions of cicadas are making their appearance after spending the last 17 years underground. And no one is more excited to see these winged insects make their debut than my next guest who cannot wait to put them on his menu. That is right. Joining me now is Bun Lai. He is a recipient of the White House Champion of Change Award. He is also the chef of Miya’s, which is the first sustainable sushi restaurant in the world. Bun, thank you for being with us.

BUN LAI, CHIEF: Well, thank you for skipping breakfast and getting ready for this experience.

KEILAR: I am ready. Well, no, I’m not really ready, I have to be honest. Okay, this is sort of — I haven’t actually eaten a bug since I was three when I had a spider. 

LAI: Okay. Well, first of all, I’m really psyched about the whole trillions of cicadas coming out for Brood X because it’s getting so much press and nature is getting press. So there’s all sorts of important issues that this becomes a platform for. So, eating insects is really the future and it’s been the past of humanity as well.

KEILAR: All right, so let’s talk about what we’re going to do here today. You walk me through this, Bun.

LAI: Sure. So we’ve got some insects right here — some cicadas.

KEILAR: Okay, got it.

LAI: So you basically pick whichever one you want to eat.

KEILAR: Should I name them first?

LAI: No, you don’t want to.

BERMAN: It makes it harder.

LAI: You don’t want to.

BERMAN: It makes it harder if you give it that personality.

LAI: You don’t — you don’t want to name anything that you’re going to be eating.

KEILAR: Come on, Fred. I’ll name one Berman. [LAUGHS] Okay, so this is what? This is my seaweed. 

LAI: Yeah, so we’re going to —

KEILAR: Set them down —

LAI: — we’re going roll it just this way --

KEILAR: — okay.

LAI: — all right? So we’re going to put on some --

KEILAR: All right, roll it that way.

LAI: — gloves over here.

KEILAR: All right, perfect.

LAI: Cool.

KEILAR: Got it. Berman, what do you think about this?

BERMAN: I think my favorite Whitney Houston lyric is I believe the insects are the future. I mean, I love that song. No, look, I have intellectual and culinary curiosity about this but I’m really just here to watch you eat bugs.


LAI: Spread it right out.

KEILAR: Bun, my husband is like not going to kiss me for a week.

LAI: I got no problem with kissing your husband, so don’t you worry.

KEILAR: Great. I’ll let him know.

LAI: If he doesn’t mind cicada breath.

KEILAR: They’re alive.

LAI: Yes. So there you go.

KEILAR: But I don’t understand.

LAI: So the way you’ll be doing it is just kind of put it —

KEILAR: Do I grab this?

LAI: — oh, no, no. I was going to have you just use those.


LAI: The really fresh ones.

KEILAR: Are you serious?

LAI: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So there you go. I’m totally joking. Wait, I want to put this —

KEILAR: Wait, no — really —

LAI: Yes, yes.

KEILAR: — or do I really have to eat a live one?

LAI: No, no.


LAI: I was kidding.

KEILAR: I actually thought —

BERMAN: Fred is scared. Fred survives another day.

KEILAR: — whoo, Berman — Berman, the cicada is alive.

LAI: Yes, so —

KEILAR: Oh, good.

LAI: Yes, so here are boiled cicadas.

KEILAR: He had me going, Berman. He had me going ahead of the segment and I was like oh, okay, well I didn’t know that was part of the assignment. 

BERMAN: Can I just tell you one thing?

KEILAR: I mean, I’m here to do my work. What?

BERMAN: You’re about to eat dead cicadas, so don’t get too excited just yet.

KEILAR: I’ve got to be honest, I think this was really good for him to tell me I was eating live ones because this is seeming like an upgrade.

LAI: And if you look at the top, this is what a cicada looks like when it’s coming out of the ground.

KEILAR: Yes, that’s pretty.

LAI: You got — you got artwork over here as well.

KEILAR: Are we ready?

LAI: Cheers.

KEILAR: Actually, I’m less scared of this. Okay.


BERMAN: Oh, the crunch.

LAI: Yum.

KEILAR: Do I have a wing hanging out of my mouth?

LAI: Yum.

KEILAR: It’s literally in there.

LAI: It’s not a wing, it’s a — it’s a leg.

KEILAR: Bun, that’s actually quite delicious.

LAI: What does it remind you of?

KEILAR: I kind of was expecting a potato chip but that’s not what it is.

LAI: No, way, man. It’s got a lot of body, like a soft-shelled crab.

KEILAR: Yeah, that’s what it’s like. It’s like soft-shelled crab. It’s basically a spider roll but it’s a cicada roll.

LAI: Well, think about it. They’re both arthropods. Insects, and — and crabs, and lobsters are all arthropods.

BERMAN: Of course, they are. 

LAI: Not only do cicadas taste good and insects taste good, the idea of eating insects is based on sustainability. We’re going to have to shift the way we eat insects — [KEILAR LAUGHS] — eat —

KEILAR: You’re fine.

LAI: — animals.

KEILAR: There’s no leg hanging out.

LAI: And not only that, these are — their nervous system is really, really different. It’s much more rudimentary so they don’t feel pain in the way that mammals and other vertebrates do. So ethically, it makes sense.

KEILAR: Bun, this was wonderful. Thank you so much for being with us and sharing. I know, I know — I have it in my tooth. It’s really bad. I’m just going to eat more so the people —

LAI: Thank you.

KEILAR: — can’t see it. All right, Berman.

BERMAN: Bon appetit.