JBehar.jpgAsk Joy Behar how she got her new HLN gig, and she gives a simple answer. “They asked me to dance,” Behar jokes with TVNewser, “and I said, ‘Okay, I’ll dance with you guys!’”

Her boss, CNN Worldwide EVP Ken Jautz, is a little more specific. “She has a strong point of view, she’s an excellent conversationalist,” he says. “She’s a genuine star.”

The Joy Behar Show debuts tomorrow at 9pmET, part of a primetime lineup dominated by women hosts (think Nancy Grace and Jane Velez-Mitchell) who provide HLN with what Jautz calls “point-of-view programming.”

Opinion, Jautz says, positions the 27 year-old HLN as “something different from CNN” in order to attract “different audience niches.” He’s confident that HLN’s ratings growth — its average of 597,000 prime time viewers this year has more than tripled since 2004, a boost greater than “we had dared hope for”, says Jautz — has not drawn viewers away from its sister cabler. Jautz cites internal research showing “little overlap” among those who watch the two networks.

Read more