Inside HLN’s Rebranding…

The Hollywood Reporter’s Marisa Guthrie writes about HLN’s rebranding…

HLN is undertaking a major rebranding away from wall-to-wall trial coverage and toward a programming strategy centered on the social media conversation. And executive vp and general manager Albie Hecht, installed last November by CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker, is about to push the boundaries on programming for a traditional cable news network with an eclectic development slate that includes game shows, docuseries (which have been successful on CNN) and apps that could also be TV segments.

Hecht, a former Viacom executive, compares his mission at HLN with his experience being a member of the team that launched MTV. “It’s about finding the white spaces,” he says. “When you build a brand, you’re fulfilling a need.”

But the landscape is much more crowded and noisy today than it was in 1981 when MTV premiered, or even 2003, when Hecht oversaw the successful transition of TNN to Spike TV, the first network targeting men. But like his boss Zucker, Hecht is prepared to throw things at the proverbial wall. And the network’s development slate reveals an eclectic mix of programs that one would not expect to find on a traditional cable news channel. But, says Hecht, he’s running after a different audience than MSNBC, Fox News Channel or even CNN.

“News that you share is very different from breaking news that other networks will cover,” he notes. “Our content is going to be different.”

How different? Read today’s press release…


*Series Contenders Keywords, I Can Haz NewsToons, One.Click.Away, Vacation Hunters, Videocracy and app #What’sYourFOMO in Development

HLN, rebranded in 2014 as the first TV home for the social media generation (millennials and the millennial-minded), unveils its initial program development slate using its new social media filter, it was announced by Albie Hecht, executive vice president and general manager, HLN.

“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 @AlbieHechtHLN. “News that is shared can inspire a wide spectrum of programming and HLN’s ripped from the social media headlines approach will mirror what consumers are really doing digitally.”

Following are the programs on HLN’s 2014 development slate (all working titles):

· Keywords—A game show of search and tag trivia for internet addicts. We put your browser history to the test by challenging you to guess a search term from five keyword clues. Celebrities, song lyrics, ailments, gifs, memes, photobombs—everything is fair game. Created by HLN program development.

· I Can Haz NewsToons—Finally, a place on TV for social media’s best satire cartoons. We’ll scour the internet to present the most original e-cards, caricatures and doodles, and for the first time bring people’s favorite political and social cartoonists from the world of print to TV. Produced and created by Fred Siebert (Adventure Time, Cartoon Hangover)

· One.Click.Away—The untold stories behind the online classifieds…the world’s biggest yard sale. Going beyond the hyperlinks, HLN digs into such stories as the unused wedding dress for sale on Craigslist and the people behind those strange and hilarious roommate ads. Online classifieds greatest stories are now just One Click Away. Created by John D. Williams Jr. (Author, former president of the National SCRABBLE Association)

· Vacation Hunters—One tweet, two vacation teams, one amazing vacation. Viewers send in a 140 character description and our two vacation adventurers, and their travel agent teams, compete against each other to stretch a vacation dollar as far as humanly possible…all for the cause of giving a user the vacation of a lifetime. Produced and created by Tom Lynch (South of Nowhere, The Secret World of Alex Mack)

· Videocracy—This series counts down the most talked about entertainment ripped from social media. Hosts and a team of panelists comment on the stories and the people creating the shared content we’re all talking about. Created by My Damn Channel, with Rob Barnett, Warren Chao and Charlie Singer executive producing.

· #What’sYourFomo—This app will collect your list of FOMO’s (Fear Of Missing Out) and guarantees that you never miss a thing. J-law gifs? Ugly sweaters? Lamping? Everything you are afraid to miss out on in one place. This app was conceived by HLN staff during its December 2013 offsite.


3 Responses to “Inside HLN’s Rebranding…”

  1. Never has such a collection of advertising, media, and social media buzzwords been so mixed together in a promotional snow job. Young people out there, this is why we baby boomers are ready to die. Take it. It’s all yours.

  2. It’s pretty easy to see how the internet could replace TV as a source of information or broadcast medium. I don’t think that TV is going to replace the internet in any form including social media. It’s just too slow.

  3. Hln sucks now. Ryan smith, Clark Howard etc were all likable and pleasant watch. Every time I turn this channel on now it’s always “what would you do” and other stupidity. Bad move hln! Used to be one if my favorite stations for trial coverage. After dark was great to watch. Now the station bores me to tears since they only kept that perky ass plastic chick who is way too obnoxious for a morning show with her “good morning sunshine!” And the utterly miserable and bitchy nancy grace who can’t go five minutes without screaming at someone. Talk about the most annoying people in TV! They kept them and got rid of the good ones!

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