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Same As It Ever Was: Fox News Wins 50th-Straight Ratings Quarter, But All Channels Down

By | Monday June 30, 2014 @ 7:06pm PDT

Same As It Ever Was: Fox News Wins 50th-Straight Ratings Quarter, But All Channels DownHo hum, another quarter, another Fox News Channel win in the ratings against its all-news competitors, MSNBCCNN and HLN. The win is now the 50th straight quarter (and 150th straight month) for Fox, going back more than a dozen years. They’ve been so consistently ahead for so long that another win, even a landmark like this, seems a bit of a yawner for the cable news powerhouse as it transforms into the Rolling Rock of ratings kings. So, how did they win this time ’round? Let us count the ways:

  • FNC was sixth in Primetime total viewers among all cable networks (CNN was 34th, MSNBC 29th).
  • FNC was seventh in Total Day viewers among all cable nets (CNN was 29th, MSNBC 30th).
  • For the quarter ending today, FNC had the top 14 highest-rated news shows in total viewers. It had nine of the top 10 news shows for the core Adults 25-54 demo, with only re-runs of CNBC’s Shark Tank on MSNBC sneaking into the tenth spot.
  • Total viewers for the Top 5 shows were: The O’Reilly Factor (2,361,000); The Kelly File (1,998,000); The Five (1,842,000); Special Report w/ Bret Baier (1,730,000); and On the Record w/ Greta Van Susteren (1,496,000).
  • FNC led all cable networks in that 25-54 demo, which is the heart and crabby commentariat of the news-watching audience.
  • Both Fox & Friends and Your World with Neil Cavuto have been No. 1 in their respective slots for 50 consecutive quarters, again dating back more than 12 years to the first quarter of 2002.
  • FNC has more Total Day viewers, 945,000,

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HLN’s Nancy Grace Gets Word Missing Boy Alive In Dad’s Basement As She’s Interviewing Father: Video

By | Thursday June 26, 2014 @ 7:46am PDT

HLN’s Nancy Grace Gets Word Missing Boy Alive In Dad’s Basement As She’s Interviewing Father: VideoNancy Grace hit the mother lode when she found herself interviewing the father of a missing boy as a report came in that the son had been found alive — in the man’s basement. Charlie Bothuell had been missing for 11 days; dad Charles Bothuell IV, had appeared on Grace’s HLN show to appeal for help finding the boy. “How could your son be alive in your basement?!” Grace barked. “What?!” responded Dad. “I don’t understand why you guys would have reported he was missing — and all our viewers were on the lookout for him!” Grace snapped, like she meant it to sting. “Have you checked your cell phone?” Dad said his cell phone was dead.
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Vinnie Politan Latest To Leave HLN

By | Monday June 16, 2014 @ 1:13pm PDT

Vinnie Politan Latest To Leave HLNVinnie Politan is the latest on-air talent leaving HLN; his last day is July 3 after which he’s moving to the NBC affiliate in Atlanta. Politan has anchored various HLN programs during his time there, including Prime News, After Dark, Making It In America and, these days, HLN Now: On The Case. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution broke the news.

Since Albie Hecht was named EVP and GM of HLN last fall, the network has rebranded itself – no longer a headline news network, it now says it’s the News and Views network, targeting the social media generation. Last week, Sky News reported owner Time Warner was mulling a merger of HLN with Vice.

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My Damn Channel Rebrands Itself As Omnivision Entertainment

By | Friday April 4, 2014 @ 8:05am PDT

Omnivision Entertainment logoFounders Rob Barnett and Warren Chao use corporate gobbledygook to explain the more traditionally corporate name, saying that it’s a “relaunch” for the digital video producer that reflects the entity’s evolution into “a multi-platform, 360° entertainment company.” Barnett will remain Founder/CEO, but Chao has been elevated to Co-Founder/President of Omnivision from Co-Founder and COO. In addition to the new moniker, the execs said today that they’ve signed Finnish entertainer Sara Maria Forsberg — who developed a popular video “What Languages Sound Like To Foreigners” — and will look for advertising, online, film, TV, theatrical, print and other opportunities. My Damn Channel — sorry, Omnivision — recently agreed to produce a viral video countdown show for HLN (which is also rebranding), and says it “will continue to produce and distribute premium content for screens of all sizes,” including MyDamnChannel.com and the My Damn Channel Comedy Network.

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Rebranded HLN Says First Slate Of Shows To Debunk Myth That Social Media Is About Videos Of Cats On Skateboards

By | Wednesday February 19, 2014 @ 8:12am PST

albie4HLN_logo.svg_HLN this morning unveiled its first program development slate since newly rebranding itself earlier this month as “the first TV home for the social media generation (millennials and the millennial-minded).” “HLN is driving a development slate with a key goal in mind: debunk the myth that the world of social media is only about videos of cats riding skateboards,” said Albie Hecht, who is EVP and general manager of HLN, a CNN Worldwide network reaching more than 100 million households. Set aside debate as to whether that myth got debunked awhile ago, and take a look at the list of shows HLN is developing, with which Hecht promises to de-myth-tify social media:

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HLN Rebranded To Rip Stories From “Plugged-In” Sites And Blogs For “Millennials And Millennial-Minded”

By | Monday February 10, 2014 @ 7:59am PST

HLN said this morning it will reformat and rebrand itself this year to become “the first TV network for the social media generation.” HLN LogoThe network vowed to “redefine TV news and information, driven by what’s trending, being shared and going viral across all screens.” Taking its assignments from “today’s connected and wildly social generation,” HLN said it will curate the news from across all platforms. In HLN EVP and GM Albie Hecht‘s announcement, the network bragged that, from here on out, its headlines will be “ripped from the most ‘plugged-in’ sites and blogs”, and that it will make it its mission to share the “trending news, viral events and stories that have viewers most obsessed, plus discover emerging social stars.”

rightminute1The first acquisition in the newly reformatted HLN is a customized version of the syndicated television show RightThisMinute premiering tonight and airing weeknights 10-11 PM ET. HLN claimed the program would be “the first daily broadcast series devoted to finding the most captivating web videos and the stories behind them as they break, often before going viral.” RightThisMinute is produced by MagicDust Television and syndicated by MGM Domestic Television Distribution.

Today’s announcement: Read More »

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HLN Ends ‘Showbiz Tonight’

By | Monday February 3, 2014 @ 9:59am PST

Albie Hecht continues his march through HLN, today whacking Showbiz Tonight in the midst of trophy season. The entire staff — about a HLN Logodozen strong — is out, excluding host A.J. Hammer, who will stay on to cover entertainment news for Hecht’s new vision of the network. The final broadcast will be Thursday when nobody will notice, much less care, as all eyes will be on Jay Leno’s final show at 11:35 PM ShowbizTonightthat night. As with Leno’s team, laid-off Showbiz Tonight staffers are being encouraged to apply for other jobs at their network. “I want to thank the entire Showbiz Tonight crew for their many years of tireless dedication and work,” writes Hecht in a note to staff, obtained by TVNewser, which first reported the whacking that happened just shy of the show’s ninth anniversary on HLN. Showbiz Tonight debuted February 21, 2005. Read More »

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Fox News Channel Extends Cable News Ratings Winning Streak In January

By | Tuesday January 28, 2014 @ 10:55am PST

fnc1Fox News Channel extended its cable news winning streak to 145 consecutive months with the release of January ratings. In overall audience fnc-cnn.JPGFNC outstripped CNN and MSNBC combined in prime and in total day; it also led in the news demo, though by smaller margins.

With total viewers, FNC landed in the Top-5 among all cable networks in total day, while CNN and MSNBC settled for No. 38 and No. 29, respectively, and HLN clocked in at No. 47. In prime, FNC finished January at No. 7, CNN at No. 40, MSNBC at No. 30, and HLN at No. 46.

cnnlogo__140117174347-275x131In primetime, only HLN grew year to year, in the demo – 6%, to 123,000 viewers. That said, FNC, at a leading 264,000 viewers, was down just 1% in the demo in primetime. CNN plunged 35% to 131,000 viewers in the age bracket, and MSNBC slid 2% to 231,000 viewers. In total day in the demo, HLN grew 11% to 101,000 viewers, besting CNN’s 98,000 – a 27% drop. MSNBC fell 8% to 148,00 viewers, while FNC grew 5% to lead the pack with 220,000 viewers. Read More »

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Year-End: Cable News Networks Grapple With Non-Election-Year Ratings

By | Thursday January 2, 2014 @ 12:43pm PST

fnc1YearEnd2013_badge__131227212819__131230220451A tumultuous year for cable news networks wrapped with all of them having experienced some kind of ratings ding compared to ’12 – except HLN, whose currency is court trials, not presidential election cycles. 2013 was the year of the George Zimmerman and Jodi Arias trials – a good year for HLN.

Perennial cable news ratings leader Fox News Channel wound up ‘13 ranked No. 6 in primetime among all ad-supported cablers – behind USA, ESPN, History, TBS and TNT – with an average audience of 1.761 million viewers.  (For comparison sake, MSNBC ranked No. 29 with 640,000 viewers, and CNN ranked 32nd with 568,000. HLN brought up the rear, with a primetime average of 395,000 viewers, but that’s a 22% year-to-year improvement.)

FNC made headlines this year when it revamped its primetime slate in October, adding Megyn Kelly at 9 PM, and moving Sean Hannity to 10 and Greta Van Susteren to 7. Since the change, all four of FNC’s primetime shows are up in total viewers and in the demo compared to year to date averages with Kelly’s show up the most: 10% in the news demo and 20% in overall audience.

cnnlogo2Jeff Zucker took over the reins at CNN at the start of ’13; the network edged back up to No. 2 in total day, but remained in third place in prime, behind MSNBC, with its smallest ratings in two decades. That said, CNN’s weekday primetime programs saw some growth, including Anderson Cooper’s double-digit improvement, and a Piers Morgan inch-up. Read More »

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HLN’s Ryan Smith Lands At ABC News As Legal Analyst

By | Wednesday December 18, 2013 @ 7:25am PST

Ryan Smith will start in January as a New York-based correspondent and legal abcnews__130401171754-150x62analyst, complementing the work of ABC News‘s chief legal analyst and Nightline anchor Dan Abrams, ABC News president Ben Sherwood said in a memo to staff today. Ryan will also offer legal analysis on ESPN. Smith had until recently anchored HLN’s Evening Express, which was among the programs dumped last month by HLN’s new-ish GM Albie Hecht as part of a rebranding of that network. (Evening Express was, ironically, replaced by What Would You Do! — the ABC News show to which HLN bought cable TV rerun rights about a year ago. ) From Sherwood’s memo:

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HLN Adds Programming Execs Amid Revamp

By | Monday December 16, 2013 @ 7:41am PST

HLN EVP and General Manager Albie Hecht today announced the HLN Logohiring of Keith Brown, SVP Programming; Kari Kim, VP Program Development; and Adrienne Lopez, Director, Special Projects. The hiring announcement comes a couple weeks after HLN‘s health and wellness weekend programming brand “upwave” achieved a two-decade ratings low for the network — which happened less than a month after Hecht announced the network was dumping Kyra Phillips-anchored Raising America and Ryan Smith-anchored Evening Express, and that a four-hour block called News Now, from 1-5 PM ET, would be hosted by Mike Galanos, Susan Hendricks, Christi Paul and Lynn Berry, on a rotating basis. Read More »

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‘Upwave’ Takes Nose Dive On HLN

By | Tuesday December 10, 2013 @ 3:47pm PST

HLN‘s health and wellness programming brand “upwave” hasn’t been so good for its health and wellness, achieving a two-decade ratings low for the network over the weekend.  HLN has been undergoing renovation HLN Logounder new GM Albie Hecht. On December 1, that included the addition of three new “upwave” programs. This past Sunday, at 8 PM, two of those programs, the half hours The Tim Ferriss Experiment and The Dose With Dr. Billy averaged a combined  22,000 viewers — 5,000 in the news demo. Those are the smallest numbers Nielsen has reported for HLN since at least October of ’91. The third “upwave” program, a cooking competition series starring Richard Blais and called Cook Your Ass Off,  is their lead-in, at 7 PM.

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HLN Managing Editor Katherine Green Departs As New GM Albie Hecht Makes Moves

By | Tuesday November 26, 2013 @ 7:40am PST

Katherine Green, SVP and Managing Editor of HLN, is leaving as new GM Albie Hecht refocuses the network’s primetime and daytime strategy. Green joined HLN in 2011 after three years at CNN International, where she’d served as SVP and GM. At HLN, Green oversaw overall on-air presentation, editorial content and digital platforms, and coordinated development of new programming. At CNN International, Green was responsible for all of the editorial production, program and schedule development, network talent, and day-to-day operations of international production centers in Atlanta, London, Hong Kong, and Abu Dhabi. efore joining CNN, she was news director at the Fox O&O in Washington, DC, WTTG-TV, for nearly a decade. In a memo to “Team,” Hecht, who was named to head HLN in September, said, “With a new baby on the way, Katherine wants to be a full-time mom before deciding her next move.” He also noted that when Green joined HLN nearly two years ago, she became an integral part of the executive team that oversaw “some of HLN’s biggest ratings successes in its history.”

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HLN Tosses ‘Raising America’, ‘Evening Express’ For Reruns Of ‘Showbiz Tonight’, ‘What Would You Do?’

By | Monday November 4, 2013 @ 3:04pm PST

About one month after taking over as GM and exec vp at HLN, former Spike TV-founder Albie Hecht made some scheduling moves. Kyra Phillips-anchored Raising America and Ryan Smith-anchored Evening Express are gone, as of November 18. Raising America is being replaced by a repeat of previous day’s Showbiz Tonight; Evening Express by What Would You Do? — the ABC News show to which HLN bought cable TV rerun rights about a year ago. Also, a four-hour block called News Now, from 1-5 PM ET, will be hosted by Mike Galanos, Susan Hendricks, Christi Paul and Lynn Berry, on a rotating basis.

During the third quarter, Raising America averaged about 290,000 viewers — up 48% compared to third quarter of ’12; demo-wise, Raising America jumped 50%. Evening Express averaged 289,000 in the quarter — a spike of 94% compared to third quarter of ’12. In the demo the program was up 85%.

“We have a real opportunity to grow the HLN brand; let’s get started,” Hecht said in a memo to staffers.

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HLN Announces December Launch For Three Lifestyle Shows

By | Wednesday October 2, 2013 @ 8:16am PDT

HLN announced this morning it will debut three new primetime “upwave” programs — that’s Turner Broadcasting System’s multi-platform health and wellness entertainment brand — on December 1 at 7 PM (ET). Turner launched upwave — lowercase “u” is its idea — in August with a digital-first strategy, including a YouTube channel and upwave.com, which the media conglom said is intended to connect users with health and wellness content “through the lens of entertainment.” From the announcement: Read More »

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Albie Hecht To Head HLN

By | Wednesday September 18, 2013 @ 6:33am PDT

Albie Hecht has been named EVP and GM of HLN, effective September 30. Hecht, who founded Spike TV and was president of Nickelodeon Entertainment prior to that, is currently CEO of Worldwide Biggies, a digital entertainment studio. Scot Safon is the guy he’s replacing. Safon, a  22-year Turner Broadcasting vet — half of them at HLN — was out at the end of last month as part of a restructuring of HLN-parent CNN by its Worldwide president Jeff Zucker.  As HLN’s new leader, Hecht will oversee all aspects of HLN’s programming, management, day-to-day operations, as well as HLNtv.com. He will be based in New York and report to  Zucker, who made today’s announcement: Read More »

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UPDATE: About 11 Million Watched Zimmerman Verdict Saturday Night On Cable News

UPDATE 2:30 PM: Barbara Walters has landed the first interview with George Zimmerman’s parents. Portions of her interview with Robert and Gladys Zimmerman will run tonight on World News and Nightline; her sit down with the couple also will run tomorrow on Good Morning America.

PREVIOUS 8:39 AM: Cable news networks’ ratings skyrocketed Saturday at 10-11PM ET when the verdict was read in the George Zimmerman murder trial. Fox News Channel led the pack with an average of 3,682 million viewers, followed by CNN‘s 3.407 million. CNN was tops in the 25-54 year old demo: 1.1716 million to FNC’s 1.113 mil. HLN ran a distant third in total viewers with 2.2 million — 980,000 of them in the demo and MSNBC brought up the rear with 1.3 million viewers — about half a mil in the demo. A six-woman jury found Zimmerman not guilty in the shooting death of unarmed teen Trayvon Martin:

FNC: 3,682,000 total viewers (1,113,000 in 25-54)
CNN: 3,407,000 total viewers (1,716,000 in 25-54)
MSNBC: 1,298,000 total viewers (510,000 in 25-54)
HLN: 2,203,000 total viewers (980,000 in 25-54)

Saturday night, between 10 PM and 1 AM ET, FNC logged an average of 2.7 million viewers. That’s a big hike compared to the 629,000 viewers the network has averaged in that block of time this calendar year to date. In the demo, FNC clocked 896,000 viewers, compared to its year-to-date average of 124,000. Read More »

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40th Daytime Emmy Awards: ‘Days Of Our Lives’ Named Best Drama; George Lucas, ‘Ellen DeGeneres’ Score – Winners List

By | Sunday June 16, 2013 @ 7:45pm PDT

The 40th Daytime Emmy Awards named Days Of Our Lives Outstanding Drama Series at the annual awards held Sunday at the Beverly Hilton, where the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences honored the best in daytime programming. It was a big win at the end of the night for the NBC soap after all previous statuettes had gone to its competitors, CBS’ Young and the Restless and Bold and the Beautiful and ABC’s General Hospital. CBS led this year’s winners with seven major wins while George Lucas took home his first Emmy for his animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars. (See full list of nominees here.) Meanwhile, it took three co-hosts – Robin Meade, Sam Champion, and AJ Hammer – to emcee a snafu-laden telecast that one Tweeter appropriately deemed “must watch train wreck TV.” (Just scroll down for the laundry list of HLN network flubs that ran 35 minutes late and had viewers irate on both coasts.)

Related: ‘Ellen,’ ‘Sesame Street,’ CBS Lead 40th Daytime Creative Arts Emmy Awards

George Lucas EmmyIn his first Emmy win, George Lucas accepted the award for Outstanding Special Class Animated Program for his Star Wars: The Clone Wars series from presenter Carrie Fisher who joked before opening the envelope, “Our nominees haven’t taken acid, at least not with me – which is, as most of you know, the only way to go. Right, George?” Lucas thanked the TV Academy for including animation in their annual program and gave a shout out to “all those poor souls who toil over their computers.”

It wasn’t the smoothest of award shows. The Talk co-host Aisha Tyler was handed the wrong envelope presenting for Best Informative Talk Show and had to use her comic chops to stall while the correct winner was relayed to her onstage. Mic and audio issues dotted the HLN telecast – including mics completely turned off and an errant audio feed of co-host Meade shouting into her backstage mic, “Can you guys hear me? You can? This is my song from my album!” over an HLN network ad playing between commercial breaks. And that was before presenter Corbin Bernsen dropped an uncensored f-bomb on live TV. Read More »

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HLN Planning ‘Evening Express’ Replacement With New Pilot?

By | Tuesday April 23, 2013 @ 3:21pm PDT

CNN isn’t the only place Jeff Zucker is looking to make changes, it seems. Sister network HLN could be getting at least one new show from the new regime, I’ve learned. Coming off a ratings and viewership surge from the Jodi Arias trial, the network is looking to hold on to some of those numbers with a possible replacement for its 5-7 PM show Evening Express. Last week, HLN shot a newsmagazine pilot in Atlanta going by the working title of EXP 2.0. Weekend Express’ Natasha Curry, Atlanta traffic reporter Elle Duncan, and Carlos Diaz, the sports anchor on the network’s Morning Express With Robin Meade, hosted. Frequent CNN and HLN contributor Jawn Murray as well as Atlanta talk-show host Kim Gravel also were tapped for on-air roles on the pilot. Other elements were shot earlier in the month, sources say. Angela Massie, current executive producer of Evening Express, produced the new show. Read More »

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