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Posts Tagged ‘Scot Safon’

Layoffs at HLN as Cable Channel Reorganizes Afternoon Hours

There were layoffs at HLN yesterday as the network prepares to reorganize its afternoon hours. The timing of the reorg is tied to the Fall launch of HLNTtv.com.

“The HLNtv.com/HLN television alignment will be particularly critical between the hours of noon and 5pm, the highest online traffic time of the day,” Scot Safon, executive VP of HLN wrote in a memo to staff Thursday. “HLN will require a new approach to daytime programming that captures the pulse, spontaneity and passion of the online-fueled news conversation. To that end, we’ve had to look closely at how we staff and produce that daypart, and we are reorganizing the dayside editorial team to best meet the audience’s multiplatform demands. Those affected by this reorganization have been notified and new opportunities within this team will be posted shortly.”

Part of the strategy is to add more chat and talk shows in the afternoon, replacing the news-based format it currently features.

Despite the layoffs, HLN is not expected to lose headcount, so new positions have been opened to replace the ones lost

Safon’s full memo to staff is after the jump.

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Now on Trial: Nancy Grace’s Coverage of Tot Mom

The Atlantic:

[T]he Casey Anthony story was made for Nancy Grace and Nancy Grace was made for the Casey Anthony story. One would not have developed (or devolved) the way it did without the other. Which brings me to another reason why so many people followed the case. Because they could!

New York Times:

Before the defense lawyers headed to the restaurant, Terrace 390, they criticized what they called the media’s bias against their client. “I think we should all take this as an opportunity to learn and to realize that you cannot convict someone until they’ve had their day in court,” said the lead lawyer, Jose Baez. Ms. Grace took offense. The lawyers attacked the media “like we had something to do with it,” she said. “We didn’t have anything to do with it. This was all Tot Mom.”

Associated Press:

Grace appeared to take [defense attorney Cheney] Mason’s comments personally. “What does he care about what pundits are saying?” she said, adding that she imagines she’s tried and covered as many cases as Mason. She criticized defense attorneys for
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Burt Dubrow Tapped to Helm Dr. Drew’s HLN Show

In a memo to staff today, HLN VP of programming Bill Galvin said that Burt Dubrow was joining the network as executive producer of the upcoming program hosted by Dr. Drew Pinsky. Dubrow has a wealth of experience with talk shows, having served as an executive producer for shows hosted by Jerry Springer, Tom Green, Christopher Lowell and Sally Jessy Raphael.

Writes Galvin:

To this day, Burt describes himself as a “student of television,” while Drew calls him “a driving force.”  Scot Safon notes that “Burt has a track record of building very successful programming around top talent…in Dr. Drew, he’s getting the chance to break some new ground on the TV landscape.”

Dr. Drew is looking to have a busy 2011. B&C’s Ben Grossman reports that Pinsky will host a daytime talk show on The CW starting this Fall. That is in addition to the syndicated radio show “Loveline” and his work on VH1.

Galvin’s memo is after the jump.

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‘The Joy Behar Show’ One Year Later

TVNewser headed to the Paramount Hotel in Manhattan last night where Joy Behar and friends celebrated one year of HLN’s “The Joy Behar Show” and her Hamptons magazine cover.  Behar was there with her longtime boyfriend Steve Janowitz and her daughter.

Notable tvnewsers in the crowd: CNN’s new president, Ken Jautz who put Behar on the air when he was still running HLN. Also, the newly appointed HLN boss Scot Safon now one week into his new job and sales EVP Greg D’Alba.

Some notable celebrities were there as well: actress Lorraine Bracco, comedian Mario Cantone, and Coutess LuAnn from the Real Housewives of New York.

Behar’s show has increased viewership of HLN’s 9pmET timeslot 14% over the last year, according to the Daily News.

CNN Shift: Scot Safon, From Marketing the News to Producing It

Scot Safon brought drama to TNT and Politics to CNN. His branding campaigns, including TNT’s We know Drama and  the newschannel’s CNN=Politics are felt on the air and in the air at Turner.

But can this marketing guru program a news network?

I suppose that depends on whether you see HLN as a news network.

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CNN Shift: CNN is Hiring

An interesting side note to today’s executive shakeup at CNN: the network is looking for another executive.

“We will be naming an executive vice president and managing editor of CNN Worldwide to lead collaboration across all platforms and elevate CNN’s unique journalism and analysis,” wrote CNN Worldwide president Jim Walton (right) in his note announcing the changes.

During his conference call with reporters late this morning, Walton said the managing editor would be at the same EVP level that  CNN/U.S. president Ken Jautz, HLN head Scot Safon, and CNN International managing director Tony Maddox hold.

“The managing editor will come in and he or she will be a strong editorial mind who will help shape our coverage,” said Walton who indicated there are internal candidates for the job. TVNewser has learned Bart Feder, who joined the network as SVP of current programming in January 2008, is among them.

Unlike the broadcast network model which generally gives the managing editor title to anchors — think Brian Williams, Diane Sawyer and Katie Couric — Walton said,  “There is no way that the managing editor here would have additional duties on the air.”

“This is a big job and there is no doubt in my mind that we will find somebody great for it,” said Walton

CNN Shift: Who Are Ken Jautz and Scot Safon?

With Jon Klein‘s departure from CNN, two longtime Turner executives will be taking on new roles. Ken Jautz becomes EVP of CNN/U.S. and Scot Safon takes over for Jautz at HLN.

Ken Jautz  joined CNN in 1989 as bureau chief in Germany. Prior to that he had been an international correspondent for The Associated Press.  New York-based Jautz has been EVP of CNN’s business news operations and the CNNfn network, as well as CNN Money. Most recently he ran CNN’s sister channel, HLN but reported directly to CNN/Worldwide President Jim Walton.

In December 2008, Jautz oversaw the name change of the channel from Headline News to HLN. He brought  Glenn Beck (with Jautz, left in Oct. 2007) and Nancy Grace to primetime and turned the lineup into a strong competitor — in fact beating on some nights — the network he will now run. As EVP of CNN/Worldwide Jautz outranked Jon Klein in the CNN hierarchy. Now he adds Klein’s old job as head of CNN’s domestic news channel to his long CNN resume.

Scot Safon is a more interesting hire. Safon a marketing guy,  joined CNN Worldwide in 2002 from Turner’s TNT. He was promoted to EVP/Chief Marketing Officer in 2007. Atlanta-based Safon is behind most of the branding you see on CNN, including CNN=Politics and the marketing campaigns for Anderson Cooper 360, Nancy Grace, Joy Behar, Larry King Live, The Situation Room and Fareed Zakaria GPS. .

In a conference call with reporters this morning after the news was announced, CNN/Worldwide president Jim Walton said of Safon, “While it may not seem on the surface to be a logical progression, what I can tell you is this: Scot has been a direct report of mine for many years, he has been a senior part of my team and he has been involved in and contributed to all of the big decisions that have been made here over the past few years. That includes the journalism.”

CNN Hotspot is More Than Just A Grill

RNC Logo4.pngA few weeks after the announcement that St. Paul would host the 2008 Republican National Convention, CNN had secured a deal to take over a restaurant adjacent to the Xcel Center. Just like Brooklyn’s in Denver last week, the Eagle Street Grill in downtown St. Paul was transformed into the CNN Grill, a restaurant that is more marketing vehicle that culinary destination (although the food is really good).

Scot Safon EVP and chief marketing officer for CNN Worldwide says the concept began in New York at the 2004 RNC as a way to combine various CNN entities under one roof. “Production wanted to do shows, ad sales wanted to do lunches with advertisers, affiliate relations…and talent…everybody wanted some piece of it,” says the six-year CNN veteran.

CNNGrill_9.2.jpgThe Grill is a working restaurant with breakfast and lunch/dinner menus from New York restaurateur Danny Meyer. And when CNN took over, they really took over. The walls were painted CNN red; there are 18 different pieces of neon art, “destination signs,” Safon calls them, emblazoned with the CNN logo; and there are more TV monitors than even the best sports bar of this size should be allowed to have, including a 32″ monitor in the one-stall bathroom.

When it’s all over, the TVs will come down and the neon goes back to CNN offices in Atlanta, New York and Washington to be used in employee areas.

Even though it might have meant a loss of business, Safon says the restaurant owners in Denver and St. Paul were receptive to the idea. Without discussing what CNN paid the owners, Safon says, “We gave them their business for this time, we’re hiring a lot of their staff, and they recognize that it was a public relations opportunity for them.”

As for CNN, there’s money to be saved. Safon says if the many CNN parts had gone off and booked multiple venues it would have cost “a good half a million dollars more than we wanted to spend, in both cities.”

And parked outside the grill, the CNN Election Express Bus. TVNewser got a tour Tuesday afternoon…

Click continued to see Part II…

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