The End of HLN As We Know It?
In a must read, Capital New York’s Alex Weprin writes about the possible end of HLN as we know it if Time Warner buys Vice…
If Vice were to gain control of HLN, the channel would almost certainly have to be unbundled from CNN. That could be messy, as pay-TV providers could seek to cut CNN’s carriage fee, or decline to carry HLN. If HLN were to continue to be bundled with CNN, Vice wouldn’t be able to capitalize on carriage fees, which would still be tied to CNN. All in all it would be a messy transaction.
What happens to HLN’s content?
If HLN is in the midst of a pivot, wouldn’t the Vice deal kill the pivot before it is even complete? HLN won’t have its new programming lineup ready til later this year, and even then it includes legacy shows hosted by talent like Dr. Drew and Nancy Grace. What would happen to HLN’s programming in the event of a Vice takeover? Would it stay on during the transition? Perhaps Vice would simply get a block of programming in the interim. Who knows.
I’ll go one further…what happens to certain HLN news talent? I’m thinking specifically of Robin Meade. This could force the issue, long speculated about by everyone and long favorited by FTVLive, of moving Meade over to CNN for mornings. I have never been a big proponent of such a move because I think Meade would be a bad fit for what CNN does in the mornings. But if Vice gets HLN, I have to believe Meade is CNN bound. Zucker would not want to let her go.
Everyone connected with New Day should be concerned. Very concerned. You all may have just been put on a clock.