Friday, November 27, 2015

Report: HLN To Get Revamped

After veering from trial coverage to viral videos, HLN, formerly Headline News, will look more like sister news network CNN and less like a social media experiment.

The NY Post reports CNN boss Jeff Zucker as saying HLN would become more closely allied with CNN’s own content, likely running its library of documentaries, according to a memo to staffers that announced the exit of HLN chief Albie Hecht.

While Hecht had held meetings with programming suppliers on the West Coast as recently as this month, his exit came as little surprise to some of the network’s partners, who say it was clear that seizing on social media buzz wasn’t working for the network.

Jeff Zucker
“They realized the millennial strategy was nonsense,” said one source.

Zucker hasn’t started a search to replace Hecht, according to sources, who added that other staff may exit as the network’s schedule gets revamped.

One source said Hecht had not been a Zucker hire and that Zucker knew six months ago that he wanted to make a change.

Hecht joined in September 2013 as vice president and general manager at HLN, but was never a traditional choice. He had success in launching Viacom’s male-skewing Spike network, but little traditional news experience.

This time last year, Time Warner had been in talks with Vice co-founder Shane Smith about transforming HLN into a Vice-branded TV channel. Those talks foundered over valuation among other issues.

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