Founders 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.” …
Rebranded HLN Says First Slate Of Shows To Debunk Myth That Social Media Is About Videos Of Cats On Skateboards
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:
HLN Rebranded To Rip Stories From “Plugged-In” Sites And Blogs For “Millennials And Millennial-Minded”
HLN said this morning it will reformat and rebrand itself this year to become “the first TV network for the social media generation.” The 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.”
The 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.
Albie Hecht continues his march through HLN, today whacking Showbiz Tonight in the midst of trophy season. The entire staff — about a dozen 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 that 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.
A 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.
Jeff 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.
Ryan Smith will start in January as a New York-based correspondent and legal analyst, 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:
HLN EVP and General Manager Albie Hecht today announced the hiring 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.
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:
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:
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.
40th Daytime Emmy Awards: ‘Days Of Our Lives’ Named Best Drama; George Lucas, ‘Ellen DeGeneres’ Score – Winners List
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.)
In 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.
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.
HLN returns as the host network of the annual Daytime Entertainment Emmy® Awards show, now in its 40th year, presented live from The Beverly Hilton hotel in Los Angeles on Sunday, June 16, 8-10 p.m., ET/PT, it was announced by Scot Safon, Executive Vice President & General Manager, HLN, and Malachy Wienges, Chairman, National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
“Last year, HLN’s first-ever presentation of the Daytime Emmy® Awards was the #1 most-watched, regularly-scheduled non-news broadcast in the network’s history, and received terrific viewer feedback both on-air and online. Our audiences thanked us for tapping into that vital part of American pop culture,” said Safon. “HLN is the news channel that focuses on stories at the forefront of the American conversation, and daytime programming often tackles those same themes and stories. We are so happy to again present the program that honors the best work in daytime.”