The top executive of a cable network is out the door as the channel rethinks its programming strategy. The channel is HLN, sister channel of CNN.
“Albie Hecht, a longtime Viacom programming executive, arrived at HLN in the fall of 2013 as the network’s new general manager, and set to work on transforming the cable outlet once known as ‘CNN Headline News’ into a place that focused on trending topics and the chatter emerging on social media,” Variety reports. “Now he will depart as CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker sees a new way to move the network forward.”
Zucker reportedly wants to increase the blocks of CNN programming running on HLN.
In a memo today to staffers, published by Deadline.com, Zucker praised HLN’s recent progress. “HLN is the second-fastest growing network in all of cable, and this year had its highest share of the cable news market in its history,” Zucker wrote. “‘Morning Express’ has surged to the number two spot in cable morning news. ‘The Daily Share,’ the social lifestyle video network that launched less than a year ago, is number one in engagement among cable news and its competitive set. And the prime-time lineup features some of the biggest personalities in cable, and they are integral to HLN’s success story.”
Zucker also talked about his plans for HLN in the memo, writing: “As we look towards 2016, I now believe that by driving HLN’s programming during the daytime and overnight hours closer to CNN’s, and by utilizing a much stronger library of content that has been built in the last three years, we can take that success to even greater heights.”
The memo announces that longtime CNN exec Ken Jautz will take over HLN on an interim basis.
Variety notes: “Jautz is extremely familiar with the network. He was the executive who led its initial transformation from ‘Headline News’ to its current nameplate, placing personalities like Nancy Grace and Glenn Beck in opinion-driven hours during prime time.”
Zucker praises Hecht in the memo, saying that Hecht “has decided it makes sense for him to move on. With the support of an incredible team at the network, he has done a terrific job running HLN. And it hasn’t been easy. His vision, creativity, persistence and commitment have been unwavering and he has been instrumental to HLN’s progress.”