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Posts Tagged ‘Dean Sicoli’

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.”

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Jane Velez-Mitchell: ‘This Is the Dialogue That Needs to Happen about Addiction’

JVM-Petermax_10-28.jpg

Peter Max artwork based on the book jacket

In NYC last night, HLN’s Jane Velez-Mitchell celebrated the release of her new memoir, iWant: My Journey from Addiction and Overconsumption to a Simpler, Honest Life, at the gallery of artist Peter Max. Velez-Mitchell, host of “Issues,” joked, “I just think this is a — first of all — fabulous concept, ‘Let’s have a cocktail party to celebrate a book about recovering from alcoholism.’”

Velez-Mitchell is the third HLN host to publish a book in the last few months, with Nancy Grace and Robin Meade also releasing books recently. TVNewser asked CNN Worldwide EVP Ken Jautz, who heads HLN, why his employees have been writing so much “It’s hosts who have an ability to communicate with audiences,” he said. “I think they see the opportunity to do so on another platform, employ the skills they’re proving so successful at on television on another platform, and we’re happy to support that.”

Also in attendance: HLN VP of programming Bill Galvin, “Issues” EP Stephanie Todd and Senior Producer Jennifer Williams, “Showbiz Tonight” host AJ Hammer, and Senior EP of CNN Entertainment and “Showbiz Tonight” David Levine. “Nancy Grace” Senior EP Dean Sicoli made a brief appearance to congratulate Velez-Mitchell, whose career he’d been instrumental in launching by featuring her as a guest host on “Nancy Grace,” before hustling back to the studio for Grace’s broadcast.

CNN anchors John Roberts and Kyra Phillips were also there (together) and CNN’s Gerri Willis and Jeanne Moos stopped by.

Velez-Mitchell took some time to talk with TVNewser about why she decided to write the memoir (apologies for the crowd noise):

Nancy Grace: New Book “Has a Piece of Me in It”

nancygrace_2sm.jpgHLN host Nancy Grace appeared at a network reception for the release of her new book “The Eleventh Victim: A Novel” last night in midtown Manhattan, and TVNewser stopped by to scope out the attendees and chat with the author.

It was a big night for Grace who, in between kissing everyone, told us, “I was so proud when this book came out. I’ve been working on this book for ten years. ‘Objection!’ was about other cases. This has a piece of me in it.” We also asked her what it was like entering Bill O’Reilly‘s “No Spin Zone” Monday night. “I loved it,” she said. “But I would have been so so disappointed if we didn’t have at least a little fight.”

The night was not just about the new book, it was also a small celebration of Grace’s recent ratings success. Ken Jautz, EVP of CNN Worldwide told TVNewser, “We launched ‘Nancy Grace’ four years ago and it was a big risk at the time. It was a different kind of show. But it paid off and we’re rewarded with the ratings every year. Simply: the big risk paid off.” Bill Hemmer, anchor of FNC’s “America’s Newsroom” stopped by to offer his congratulations to Grace telling us, “She started a program few had done before and the success she’s had is evident in the following she has. Viewers are drawn to her.”

TVNewser also spotted on-air talent Jeanne Moos, Jane Velez-Mitchell, Susan Candiotti, and Kimberly Guilfoyle. We also bumped into Dean Sicoli, Grace’s Senior EP, and Senior Executive Producer of CNN Entertainment David Levine.

Pictures and Grace’s thoughts on “Law & Order” after the jump…

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