HLN Brings in Programming, Development Execs as Network Eyes New Directions

Hires Come Days After Staffers Gather to Discuss Future of Channel

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HLN has hired several new executives, just days after staffers gathered to discuss the future of the cable news channel. The announcement was made by HLN's Albie Hecht, who joined the channel in September as exec VP and general manager.

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Keith Brown has been named senior VP-programming, a newly created position overseeing all daytime and primetime series, editorial, newsgathering and programming, reporting to Mr. Hecht. Mr. Brown was most recently managing partner of the New York-based production company Perez-Brown Media Group.

Kari Kim was named VP-program development, leading HLN's new development department, where she will be responsible for the creation and supervision or original series and specials, and will also report to Mr. Hecht. She joins the company from Worldwide Biggies, where she developed TV and digital programming for channels such as Nickelodeon and Disney Interactive.

And Adrienne Lopez was appointed director, special projects. Ms. Lopez, who spent 12 years at Nickelodeon, will handle oversight of bookings, talent relationships and talent development, reporting to Mr. Brown.

The hires are the latest move by Mr. Hecht, who has shaken up both prime-time and daytime, canceling "Raising America," "Now in America" and "Evening Express." The shows were replaced by re-airings of "Showbiz Tonight" and "News Now."

CNN's sibling network recently debuted a health and wellness programming block that is part of Turner's Upwave, but initial ratings put HLN at a new low.

According to a person familiar with the situation, HLN employees met last week to help brainstorm on the direction of the network.

Jeff Zucker, president of HLN parent CNN, gave a hint into the new direction of HLN in an interview with Capital New York earlier in the month, saying the channel won't be Court TV. Despite the huge ratings some trial coverage has delivered, Mr. Zucker said the business proposition isn't as appealing to advertisers.

HLN averaged 365,000 total viewers in prime-time in the third quarter, and 136,000 in the 25-to-54 demographic, a 17% jump in total viewers from the year prior and a 24% increase in 25-to-54.

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