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HLN

HLN Hires Three New Programming Executives

HLN300x197The winds of change at HLN continue, as network president Albie Hecht announced three new senior level programming hires today.

Former BET and Spike TV executive Keith Brown joins as senior VP for programming. Kari Kim becomes VP of programming development, coming from Worldwide Biggies, which produces content for Disney, Spike TV, and more. Former Nickelodeon VP Adrienne Lopez has been named special projects director.

“Marrying the talented trio of Keith, Kari and Adrienne to the dynamic HLN team creates a powerful force that will no doubt catapult the network’s brand evolution and invigorate programming,” said Hecht.
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HLN Hits 22-Year Low In Weekend Primetime

upwave hlnHLN reached a 22-year ratings low Sunday night at 8pmET with “The Tim Ferris Experiment” and “THE DOSE with Dr. Billy” combining for just 22,000 total viewers and 5,000 viewers in the A25-54 demo.

The numbers are the lowest since October, 1991, the earliest Nielsen ratings numbers available. (HLN predecessor Headline News launched in 1982.)

Both half-hour shows premiered on December 1 as part of the new “upwave” lineup on HLN. The third show in the series, “Cook Your Ass Off” with celebrity chef Richard Blais, airs at 7pmET.

The ratings at 8pmET have been steadily declining over the last five weeks, down -94% in total viewers and -96% in the demo.

The network is in rebuilding mode as network president Albie Hecht gathered production staff in Atlanta last week for a 2-day brainstorm.

Natasha Curry, Carlos Diaz Out at HLN

curry diaz hlnThe changes continue at HLN: anchors Natasha Curry and Carlos Diaz have left the network, TVNewser has learned.

Curry, the anchor of “Weekend Express,” joined HLN in 2008. She became the solo anchor of the weekend newscasts, as well as the fill-in anchor for “Morning Express with Robin Meade,” in 2010. A spokesperson for HLN says Curry decided to move back West to be with her family.

Diaz joined HLN in 2011 from ESPN. He is also relocating, moving to the West Coast after two years as an Atlanta-based sports anchor.

The two departures come just a week after network president Albie Hecht held an all-staff meeting in Atlanta to brainstorm ideas for the new HLN. Hecht, who joined HLN two months ago, has already tweaked HLN’s programming in primetime, daytime and weekends.

Replacements have not yet been named for Curry or Diaz. In the interim, a rotation of HLN anchors, including Lynn Berry, will anchor “Weekend Express,” while Joe Carter, Turner sports anchor Jared Greenberg and CNN sports anchor Andy Scholes will handle sports coverage.

All Staff Meeting to Brainstorm a New HLN

HLN300x197The next phase of the HLN makeover begins today.

Network president Albie Hecht is in Atlanta for a 2-day network meeting with all production staff, TVNewser has learned. We hear the plan includes making HLN the “social media network,” bringing the immediacy of social media and translating it to TV.

Insiders tell us Hecht gave the pitch to HLN employees last night, while today off-site brainstorming sessions are being held with production teams. Most of today’s shows are on tape or replaced by weekend programming. HLN staffers from New York, Los Angles and Atlanta are attending the meeting at an Atlanta hotel.

Over the weekend, HLN debuted three new health and wellness shows, a programming block that is part of the Turner brand “Upwave.” The network has already had a round of layoffs and programming changes, which TVNewser wrote about in early November. In other staff changes, the EP of Nancy Grace‘s show, Dean Sicoli left the network last week. Senior producer Liz Yuskaitis is interim acting EP. Sicoli’s departure follows that of Katherine Green, who was SVP and managing editor of HLN.

In an interview with Capital New York Monday, CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker hinted what the new HLN won’t be: Court TV. “It’s not as strong a business proposition, and it’s not really what advertisers are looking for,” said Zucker, noting the huge ratings draws that trials can bring. Zucker adds, “If we wanted to be in the court business, Time Warner would have kept Court TV.”

HLN Set to Debut Health and Wellness Shows

upwave hlnUnder the leadership of Albie Hecht, HLN continues to tweak its programming as it attempts to find an audience in the crowded cable news landscape. The network will debut three new health and wellness shows tonight,  a programming block part of  Turner Broadcastings’s health and wellness brand “upwave.”

The new shows kick off at 7pmET with “Cook Your Ass Off,” a cooking contest show by Richard Blais. Next comes “The Tim Ferriss Experiment,” a half-hour show based on Ferriss’ bestselling book, “ “The 4-Hour Workweek.” Ferriss’ show will be produced by Zero Point Productions, the company behind CNN’s “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown.” At 8pmET, HLN will premiere “The Dose with Dr. Billy,” a health show hosted by emergency room doctor Billy Goldberg.

In a statement, HLN said the shows “offer viewers a fresh twist on health and wellness.” Watch a preview after the jump. Read more

Nov. 2013 Ratings: HLN Down the Least of Cable News Networks

HLN placed fourth behind Fox News, CNN and MSNBC in November. Like its competitors, the network was down across the board year-over-year, but compared to the other networks, HLN was down the least.

The ratings for November 2013 (Nielsen Live + Same Day data):

  • Primetime (Mon-Sun): 278,000 Total Viewers / 90,000 A25-54
  • Total Day (Mon-Sun): 213,000 Total Viewers / 81,000 A25-54

In total day, HLN was down -7% in total viewers and -14% in A25-54 viewers compared to the same month last year. In primetime, the network is down -2% in total viewers and down -17% in the demo.

HLN’s top-rated show was “Weekend Mysteries,” which averaged 356,000 total viewers and 120,000 in the A25-54 demographic. “Nancy Grace” was next with 321,000 total viewers and 96,000 A25-54 viewers.

Katherine Green Leaving HLN

katherine green hlnKatherine Green is stepping down as senior vice president and managing editor of HLN, TVNewser has learned. Green, who has a second child on the way, wants “to be a full-time mom before deciding her next move,” general manager Albie Hecht announced to HLN staffers Monday.

“I’d like to thank Katherine for her dedication, passion and leadership. Since joining HLN nearly two years ago, she quickly became an integral part of the executive team that oversaw some of HLN’s biggest ratings successes in its history,” Hecht wrote. “Please join me in wishing Katherine all the best.”

Green joined HLN in 2011 after three years at CNN International, where she was the senior vice president and and general manager. Her departure from HLN comes as the network attempts to reposition itself within the cable news landscape, recently announcing programming changes to its daytime and primetime shows.

The full note from Hecht is after the jump. Read more

Kyra Phillips Filling In On ‘CNN Newsroom’

kyra phillips cnn

As HLN prepares for major programming changes next week, HLN anchor Kyra Phillips has popped up on sister network CNN, filling in for Brooke Baldwin from 2-4pmET both today and Friday.

Phillips spent 13 years at CNN before shifting to HLN as the anchor of “Raising America” last year. “Raising America” is one of two shows HLN is canceling as it overhauls its daytime and early evening lineup. When the changes were announced, a spokesperson for HLN told TVNewser that an announcement about a new role for Phillips was forthcoming.

Under HLN’s new programming lineup, a repeat of “Showbiz Tonight” takes the place of “Raising America” at 12pmET.

Layoffs at HLN as Network Plans Major Programming Changes

hlnlogoJust six weeks after taking over as general manager of HLN, Albie Hecht is instituting sweeping programming changes in daytime and primetime that will lead to layoffs at the network.

“Raising America,” the 12pmET show anchored by Kyra Phillips, and “Evening Express,” the 5pmET program anchored by Ryan Smith, will both be cancelled. A spokesperson from HLN said announcements about new roles for Phillips and Smith are forthcoming.

Beginning November 18, the shows will be replaced by a four-hour block of “News Now” from 1pm to 5pmET, anchored by a rotation of Mike Galanos, Susan Hendricks, Christi Paul and Lynn Berry.

A spokesperson for the network declined to comment on the number of people that will be affected by the layoffs, noting employees will be able to apply for open jobs internally and externally.

“While change is necessary to evolve HLN, it is also difficult. A handful of our family members will be impacted by today’s news,” Hecht wrote in a memo to HLN staffers this afternoon. “I know that I speak for all of us when I offer a heartfelt thank you and my sincere appreciation for their commitment.”

The memo from Hecht, which includes the network’s new programming lineup, is after the jump. Read more

October 2013 Ratings: HLN Fourth in Primetime, Total Day

HLN continues to struggle to find an audience when there’s no major trial, placing fourth behind Fox News, CNN and MSNBC this month. The network was down across the board year-over-year.

The ratings for August 2013 (Nielsen Live + Same Day data):

  • Primetime (Mon-Sun): 284,000 Total Viewers / 87,000 A25-54
  • Total Day (Mon-Sun): 209,000 Total Viewers / 72,000 A25-54

In total day, HLN was down -4% in total viewers and -14% in A25-54 viewers compared to the same month last year. In primetime, the network was flat in total viewers and down -8% in the demo.

Nancy Grace” and “Jane Velez-Mitchell” were the network’s top programs for the month. Grace’s program averaged 272,000 total viewers and 86,000 A25-54 viewers, and Velez-Mitchell’s program averaged 208,000 and 72,000 viewers, respectively.

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