Archive for the HLN Category

What Is Going On Over At HLN?

Posted in HLN on July 18, 2017 by icn2

These are confusing times over at HLN. The network is showing signs of internal dissaray…or at the very least teetering on the edge of limbo.

How else to explain what’s happened since the network announced the arrival of Carol Costello and S.E. Cupp’s shows almost six months ago with deadlines that have since been blown and blown badly.

Cupp’s show was set to debut in June. It still hasn’t.

Costello’s show has fared even worse. First it missed a planned April launch. Then it missed an early June launch. Yesterday, TVNewser reported that it may launch in late August.

“May launch”.

Something very odd is going on over at HLN and it’s not set issues and probably not staffing issues…not after six months it shouldn’t be.

No…this is something…else.

So let’s speculate about what the “else” could be? We appear to have nothing but time to kill waiting for these shows to launch…

1) Budget realignment – The money isn’t there, for whatever reason (resource realignment, shifting priorities, etc…) and until it is Costello and Cupp’s shows are stuck in limbo, unable to launch.

2) Collateral damage from the AT&T/TW merger – The theory here is that the merger still being finalized (and not yet approved by the governmenet) has frozen HLN’s plans for the moment. I’ll admit that this theory is rather thin. I mean…HLN is still considered CNN’s bastard stepchild these days but it’s not that far gone that a merger should freeze new program launches. Unless…

3) Another network makeover is coming – I know, I know…that would be like what…the fourth or fifth makeover in the last 10 years? It would seem highly unlikely…and yet that could explain why neither show has launched if the new format would be incompatible with both shows. But this theory is undercut by the fact that we just got a new launch timeframe and the network has to be cognizant by now that each new launch timeframe that comes (and goes) makes the network look more and more feckless.

I’m thinking it’s some combination of 1 and 2. I think HLN is waiting…what for I’m not sure…but maybe its waiting for the merger to go through…

…and whether AT&T will be forced by the Trump administration to sell off CNN to have the merger approved. That is something I could easily see forcing HLN into “wait and see” mode.

How Not To Launch a New Show

Posted in HLN on June 20, 2017 by icn2

Remeber back five months ago (!!!) when Carol Costello left CNN for HLN?

It’s been a while, hasn’t it?

And we still don’t know when Costello’s show will debut on HLN.

First, HLN said it would launch in April, a launch date the network blew.

Then HLN told TVNewser that the show would debut in early June, a launch date the network also blew.

That’s right. HLN gave two launch dates for Costello’s show and blew both of them.

What a horrible, horrible look for the network. Giving out two launch dates and not being able to make either of them, without providing any reason or explanation for the slippage, makes HLN look like the gang that can’t shoot straight.

Costello must be beside herself. She took a big risk jumping from the safety of CNN to its much less secure for everyone not named Robin Meade’s sister network and so far all that’s happened is two failed launch dates.

Put it in these terms; within a few more days enough time will have elapsed between Costello’s CNN departure and now that it will have surpassed the amount of time from Megyn Kelly’s FNC departure to her Sunday show’s premiere on NBC a few weeks ago.

That’s terrible.

Yes, I’ve been on a bit of tear over this. But I wasn’t the one who publicly put out two launch dates and then failed to stick to either. I’m just going by what I see and what I see is a network that has entered rarefied territory. You could probably count on one hand in the history of television the number of news shows that blew one launch date. Never mind two launch dates.

And we still have no idea when Costello’s show will finally see air.

HLN To Change Logo, Tagline…

Posted in HLN on May 2, 2017 by icn2

Well April came and went and, as I predicted, Carol Costello’s HLN show did not launch. But it may launch as soon as next Monday. Why? Because according to AdAge’s Jeanine Poggi that’s when HLN is going to unveil a new logo and tagline…

Over the past year HLN has been “returning to our news roots and emphasizing that the network is part of the CNN family,” Jautz said.

It is focusing on buzzy regional news stories, crime stories, entertainment and weather, according to Jautz, and leaving international affairs and in-depth political news to its Turner Broadcasting sibling CNN.

And on May 8, it will solidify that focus with the new tagline, “News that hits home,” and a logo that more overtly positions HLN as part of the CNN news family.

It would seem to me that the day you start a new branding campaign would be the day to have all your new shows in place so that’s why I think Costello’s show may launch Monday.

If it doesn’t launch Monday, HLN will have big time egg on its face.

Will HLN Blow Its Launch Date For Carol Costello’s New Show?

Posted in HLN on April 19, 2017 by icn2

Almost two months ago HLN announced that it was going to launch “Across America with Carol Costello” by the end of April.

Ok…it wasn’t really an announcement as in a public press release…it was an internal email from Ken Jautz that was leaked.

Still, HLN did nothing to shoot that date down once it was leaked.

Well guess what? It’s the end of April.

You know…the end of April when the show was supposed to launch? That end of Arpil?

Basically HLN has two days to announce the start date is Monday. Otherwise the show will not launch this month and HLN will have blown its leaked launch date. Since a Monday launch would mean a rough launch window with scant to no promotion time, my money is on it not launching this month.

Usually when this type of thing happens…and it doesn’t happen very often where a network leaks a launch date for a show that it winds up blowing…it’s because of things like the production staff isn’t all in place yet. We know it’s probably not a set problem because Newscast Studio just did a story on the debut of a revamped L.A. studio that CNNI is using which will also be used for Costello’s show.

S.E. Cupp Gets HLN Show…and Other HLN News…

Posted in HLN on March 13, 2017 by icn2

A bunch of HLN stuff to get to today…some of it a week old because I was out of town last week and then sick as a dog.

For starters CNN US Executive Vice President Ken Jautz announced that S.E. Cupp will be slotted in at 7pm ET for a new show…

I’m pleased to announce that S.E. Cupp is bringing her distinct outlook and passionate opinion to HLN as host of her own 7 pm nightly program. This is the next step in our campaign to bolster our primetime line-up. You can expect to see S.E. lend her energy and insights to conversations with provocative guests from the diverse worlds of radio, politics, comedy and journalism as she tackles the day’s most important stories. Live from CNN’s New York bureau, this soon-to-be-named show will launch in early June. S.E. will also continue her role as a CNN Political Commentator and CNN.com contributor.

Please join me in welcoming S.E. to the HLN team.

In more primetime news, we’re also announcing HLN’s 2017 Original Series slate today.

This follows up the news last week that Carol Costello’s new two hour HLN program will debut sometime in April at the 11am-1pm slot. That was Michaela Pereira‘s slot. Pereira is moving into the 3pm-5pm slot.

Here’s the release on HLN’s original series that Jautz referenced above…
Continue reading

Carol Costello Interview…

Posted in HLN on February 6, 2017 by icn2

The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho interviews Carol Costello about her upcoming HLN show and other things…

For now, she said she has to focus on hiring a staff of writers and producers and do it quickly. She said the Los Angeles bureau is growing. Her former CNN colleague Michaela Pereira is already out there, airing a show that airs daily from 11 to 1 p.m. EST.

When I mentioned how HLN seemed to change strategy multiple times in recent years including an ill-fated effort to focus on Millennials, she admitted it was painful to watch at times. But she feels they have the right people in place and are “serious about winning. I do a very successful show now. I would not have gone to another network even in the family if I didn’t want to win.”

She notes that HLN – in a way that touches upon its Headline News roots – “whips through stuff. We won’t waste your time, at least on my show. We won’t carry hearings. We’ll monitor them.”

She hopes to have more “real” voices, fewer analysts and commentators.

I like where Costello’s head is…less analysts and commentators. Not so sure how well that will go down in New York though…since it will (accurately) be interpreted as a criticism of the way CNN, and by extension Jeff Zucker, does things.

Carol Costello Moves From CNN to HLN…

Posted in CNN, HLN on January 30, 2017 by icn2

Ever since I discovered last year that Carol Costello’s husband had to move to the west coast for work, I have been waiting for the other shoe to drop and today it dropped. Costello announced on the air that she would be leaving CNN U.S. for a anchor role for a HLN show originating out of L.A.

“I have lived apart from my husband for many years,” Costello said at the end of her show today, “but he was always close by because he also lived on the east coast. But last year my husband snagged a fantastic job in Los Angeles, and I kind of miss him,” she said.”

Say no more. But there is a price to pay…

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.

Jeff Zucker issued a statement on this news and said a few nice things about the 15 year veteran…

As many of you may have just heard, Carol Costello announced that her last day on Newsroom will be this Friday. While we’ll miss her unmistakable reporting, calming presence on the air, big smile and even bigger laugh on CNN, I’m happy to say she isn’t going far — she’ll be staying in the family and joining HLN in Los Angeles.

During her more than 15 years with us, Carol has been at the forefront of some of the world’s most significant news stories, including the Boston bombing, Pope Francis’ historic visit and our coverage of the Iraq war. She is all heart and grace, and the epitome of a seasoned journalist, making her the perfect fit to join HLN’s powerful bench of anchors.

Carol’s decision to leave CNN was a personal one. After many years balancing a long-distance marriage with her demanding career, she is cashing in her miles and permanently relocating to the west coast. Ken Jautz will be sharing more details about her new LA-based show in the coming weeks.

It’s with infinite gratitude that I thank Carol for being a friend to me, and an influential voice that has helped grow CNN and contribute to our success.

Please join Ken and me in congratulating Carol on this great new role.

Costello’s departure leaves a hole for which there is no clear unambiguous front runner to take over. I could think of half a dozen people who could get it…and still miss the actual choice. It’s pretty wide open.