HLN Blows Up Format…AGAIN! Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

HLN blew up it’s dayside lineup and format yet again and that got me off my ass and on to the keyboard.

I’ve lost count how many times HLN has blown up its format since it stopped using CNN Headline News’ half hour wheel format in the mid 2000s. It’s surely blown it up at least four times in the last 10 years. News…then opinion mixed with news…then more tape than news…then a horrid social media tie in attempt…then back to live news which was supposed to cover more flyover territory stories. And during it all a revolving door of shows and talent paraded on and off HLN’s airwaves.

The most recent news revamp just launched barely 2 years ago when CNN started sending talent over in the forms of Ashleigh Banfield, Michaela Pereira, and (last year) Carol Costello.

When Costello’s move was announced I said it was a risk.

Costello goes from a network with incredible stability to one which has now eclipsed MSNBC circa 1998-2003 as the network with most glaring reboots since it blew up the CNN Headline News format. The only person there who is golden is Robin Meade. Everyone else isn’t safe…and you can add Costello to that list.

I hate being right but the writing was on the wall already. Consider…

– CNNI killed its LA based broadcast. CNN Domestic had already stopped simulcasting it…after launching it three years ago with much fanfare as an important link to Asia Pacific. My how things change quickly. With CNNI/Domestic pulling out of Los Angeles for live TV, that put severe pressure on HLN’s L.A. based shows; specifically Costello and Pereira’s, which used the same facilities. Amortization became a lot harder without that CNNI simulcast.
– SE Cupp’s show got removed from HLN and put on once a week status on CNN, most likely to keep Cupp in the fold for pundit duty.
– Erica Hill got plucked by the mothership…but without a clearly defined permanent position. And nobody permanently took over Hill’s show.
– Costello’s show went, in a little over a year, from a show that tried to cover less politics to a show with two dedicated politics blocks and a politics rundown.

Trump and cable news obsession with same killed Costello and Pereira’s shows almost as much as the cost issue.

Dumping Banfield’s NYC show is another matter. The cost pressure of maintaining that L.A. studio after CNNI stopped broadcasting I can understand. But CNN’s NYC studios are constantly being utilized. There isn’t a similar cost pressure there like out in Los Angeles. This is why I believe dumping Banfield was more about making new budget targets than having a show in NYC and not Atlanta. Like MSNBC a decade ago (also under Jeff Zucker) tape rules when the live programming isn’t delivering a high enough return relative to its sister network.

Sucks for Costello; a 17 year CNN veteran, just like it sucked for longtime CNN stalwart Kyra Phillips when she got farmed out to HLN and then cut loose a few years later. There is no loyalty in this business. It’s brutal.

For HLN it is just the latest sign that nobody knows what the hell to do with this channel anymore. Here’s a suggestion. Shut it down and come up with something totally new. Look at the bright side…it would finally force Robin Meade onto CNN; something that should have happened 10 years ago.

6 Responses to “HLN Blows Up Format…AGAIN! Wash. Rinse. Repeat.”

  1. Well……I have been saying it….at some point someone at AT&T is going to say…”folks this isn’t working very well” and there will be massive changes…and that goes for big CNN also. They are being CRUSHED right now.

    Some company’s will put up with failure for a while……I dont think AT&T is one of them….of course I thought that about Comcast and Chris H still has a show leading off prime time so you never know.

  2. […] Why not shut HLN down and come up with something […]

  3. Without a change in leadership, HLN will eventually be known for nothing but reruns of “Forensic Files.”

  4. Alex Smith Says:

    I agree with what others including Spud have said.

    But in fairness HLN has had their moments over the years. Unfortunately what they offered (especially trial coverage) proved unsustainable,

    The 1/2 news shows from years ago were well received and from what I remember had an uncanny knack to find better anchors than CNN.

    If you are a true crime fan like me and enjoy trial coverage, then HLN’s extended months-long coverage of the trials of Casey Anthony and then later on Jodi Arias was superior to anything on CNN, MSNBC or Fox News.

    Especially Greta’s daily show which was surprisingly weak. Greta and Bernie Grimm were okay, but panelists like the grammatically challenged Ted Williams was mostly unwatchable.

  5. Alex Smith Says:

    *1/2 hour

  6. HLN once existed as the Headline News service to the longer form CNN. In the age of social media nobody needs that service, so they keep trying to find a new thing to do. Here’s your trouble: There’s nothing else to do.

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