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HLN

Double Cable News Bill on SNL: Piers Morgan and Nancy Grace

Two cable news shows got parodied on the first Saturday Night Live of 2014 last night. In the cold open, Piers Morgan interviews Chris Christie, Justin Bieber and Alex Rodriguez, played by host and musical guest Drake.

Later in the show, Nancy Grace welcomes the owner of Baked (pretty brilliant name, actually) a marijuana bakery, to discuss pot legalization in Colorado.

2013 Ratings: HLN Only Cable News Network to Grow From Last Year

Although HLN finished 2013 last among the cable news networks, the channel — fueled by the trials of Jodi Arias and George Zimmerman — was the only network to grow its audience compared to the previous year.

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

  • Primetime (Mon-Sun): 395,000 Total Viewers / 139,000 A25-54
  • Total Day (Mon-Sun): 296,000 Total Viewers / 112,000 A25-54

In total day, HLN was up +22% in total viewers and +18% in A25-54 viewers compared to 2012. In primetime, the network is up +18% and +24%, respectively.

HLN’s highest-rated program for the year was “Nancy Grace.” Grace’s program averaged 493,000 total viewers and 168,000 A25-54 viewers, up +18% and +25%, respectively, compared to 2012. Jane Velez-Mitchell‘s program was also up significantly — +49% in total viewers and +56% in the demo — compared to last year.

HLN’s Ryan Smith Joins ABC News as Correspondent, Legal Analyst

ryan smith hlnHLN anchor Ryan Smith is joining ABC News as a New York-based correspondent and legal analyst. In his new role, which begins early next year, Smith will also provide legal analysis on ESPN’s programs and platforms.

“Ryan’s ability to cover a wide range of topics from the courtroom to the classroom has forged strong connections with viewers. I’m delighted he’ll now bring his many talents to ABC News and ESPN,” ABC News president Ben Sherwood wrote in a note to ABC staffers this morning.

Smith was most recently the anchor of HLN’s “Evening Express,” which was canceled last month. During his time at HLN, he also worked on “Morning Express” and as a host for InSession on truTV. He is a graduate of Columbia law school who previously worked as an entertainment and sports lawyer.

Smith will appear on all ABC News platforms beginning January 2. Read Sherwood’s full note after the jump. Read more

After Just Three Weeks, HLN Tweaks Upwave Programming

upwave hlnTurner Broadcasting is already making changes to HLN’s Upwave programming block, which debuted less than a month ago. Going forward, two shows — “The Tim Ferriss Experiment” and “The Dose” — will be dropped from HLN’s schedule.

In January, “The Tim Ferriss Experiment” will return on truTV, while “The Dose” will return as an original series on upwave.com. On December 8, those two shows averaged just 22,000 total viewers and 5,000 A25-54 viewers, HLN’s lowest ratings in 22 years.

“Cook Your Ass Off” will continue to air at 7pmET Sunday night, with an encore presentation at 8pmET to replace “The Tim Ferriss Experiment” and “The Dose.”

“The programming changes are a strategic decision to reposition the TV shows and to better position upwave as multi-platform brand in 2014,” a Turner Broadcasting spokesperson tells TVNewser.

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.
Read more

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.

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