As part of CNN's network family, HLN doesn't have as much pressure on it as the other big 24-hour news channels. But execs are clearly trying to reverse the negative ratings flow, as a full restructuring is going into action at HLN. Quite a few programs will reportedly get affected in some ways, and big-name daytime anchors Ashleigh Banfield, Carol Costello and Michaela Pereira are all being released by HLN.
Looking ahead to the future, HLN's big bosses are changing up how its news programming will be aired on a daily basis. Compared to the heavier hitters like Fox News, MSNBC and parent network CNN, HLN hasn't been a very big winner with Donald Trump as President. In particular, the daytime schedules are earning much focus, as well as finding the balance between general news, pop culture and political stories. And so three of its more recent CNN imports are being let go.
Here's how CNN executive vice president Ken Jautz put it in a memo sent to employees.
The current cable news landscape is dominated by politics. Our live news shows have not benefited from this trend given our story mix. However, HLN's longform programs have been performing very well.
While all the details have yet to be revealed, Variety reports that something in the realm of 12-15 positions will be affected on the production and editorial side of things. It can be assumed that some of those job issues will centered on location changes, as it's claimed the lion's share of HLN daytime series productions will be moved to Atlanta. Not only is that where CNN is headquartered, but it's also the production home for HLN's Morning Express with Robin Meade, a flagship for the channel.
Leading a lot of HLN's daytime content was the trio of anchors Ashleigh Banfield, Carol Costello and Michaela Pereira. Banfield, who'd formerly worked directly with CNN, hosted the series Crime & Justice with Ashleigh Banfield, which will be but a distant memory soon. Also having joined HLN after CNN, Pereira is/was the host for the daytime series MichaeLA. Completing the "former CNN host" trifecta Carol Costello was the road-tripping host of Across America with Carol Costello.
On the flips side of things, Morning Express is getting something of a promotion during this restructuring, with Robin Meade now having a full six hours to spread the show's message, from 6 a.m. until noon. The show, which can be compared to Today and Good Morning America, is compared favorably to those network mainstays, and HLN is hoping for a stronger viewership. It's noted that the final two hours will be a mixture of both live and taped footage. Its weekend edition will stay the same.
On the Story, as formerly anchored by Erica Hill, will also see its mid-afternoon time-slot expanded. It will now air from 12:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. ET, and will be hosted by a roundtable of journalists.
This definitely isn't the first time that HLN has fired employees and tried reshaping itself in the face of viewership struggles, but will this be a permanent fix? Find out in the coming months as things fall into place. And while waiting, our fall TV schedule has loads of new and returning shows to spend your evenings with.