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Robin Meade, entire Atlanta HLN news operations reportedly nixed amid CNN layoffs

Rodney Ho, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on

Published in Entertainment News

ATLANTA — HLN as a news operation is no more.

Variety reported Thursday morning that Warner Bros. Discovery has nixed the entire Atlanta-based operation at CNN Center, citing multiple unnamed sources. CNN has not responded to inquiries seeking confirmation.

Chris Licht, who runs CNN’s news operations, has announced major layoffs that began Wednesday with paid contributors and will include full-time staff Thursday.

HLN, which Ted Turner started as CNN2 and later Headline News in 1982, has morphed over the years from a quick-hit 24/7 news operation to supplement the parent CNN cable network into a mix of crime and news.

Atlanta-based morning host Robin Meade was the last key personality standing, although HLN did run weekend news programming with Susan Hendricks as well. Meade was the weekday morning host for more than 21 years, the longest running morning news anchor in TV history, recently exceeding Matt Lauer’s tenure at NBC’s “Today” show.

Meade, in celebrating her 20th anniversary there, a year ago told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “I always joke, ‘I can’t believe I haven’t been fired yet!’ But I’m very grateful. It is the most surreal experience when someone says, ‘I’ve been watching you since junior high,’ and they’re 30 now! I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the viewers.”

CNN will simulcast its new “CNN This Morning” featuring Don Lemon, Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins on HLN, according to Variety.

Variety said among those let go was veteran Atlanta-based reporter Martin Savidge.

 

In its early years before the Internet, CNN Headline News would run a repetitive 30-minute news wheel mixing hard news, features and sports. In 2001, the network began using multiple anchors and cluttered the screen with a scrolling news ticker and added Meade to mornings.

In 2005, CNN Headline News launched a prime-time lineup of opinion-based shows. Two shows ended up breaking out: conservative talk radio host Glenn Beck and former prosecutor Nancy Grace, who was based out of Atlanta.

The network changed its name to HLN in 2008. In the early 2010s, Grace gave the network record ratings covering the Casey Anthony trial. In the mid-2010s, the network’s new boss Al Hecht tried to draw younger viewers by marketing HLN as “the first TV home for the social media generation.” That effort was short-lived.

Grace left in 2016 and in recent years, HLN dropped all live programming outside of the morning slot. Instead, the network became known for airing copious repeats of “Forensic Files” and a few original true crime shows. HLN’s true-crime programming will now be run by Warner Bros. Discovery executive Kathleen Finch, and incorporated into the company’s ID cable network.

A clue that the end was near was when HLN aired “West Wing” repeats this past Thanksgiving weekend, the first time the network had run scripted programming.

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©2022 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Visit at ajc.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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