HLN (TV Channel)
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HLN TV Channel
HLN (TV network) 2017 logo.svg
LaunchedJanuary 1, 1982; 37 years ago (1982-01-01) (as CNN2)
August 9, 1982; 37 years ago (1982-08-09) (as Headline News)
December 15, 2008; 10 years ago (2008-12-15) (as HLN)
Owned byCNN
(WarnerMedia News & Sports)
Picture format1080i HDTV
(downscaled to letterboxed 480i for the SDTV feed)
SloganNews that hits home
CountryUnited States
Broadcast area
  • United States
  • Canada
  • Latin America
  • The Caribbean
  • Asia
  • Middle East
  • North Africa
  • Australia (some hotels only)
Formerly called
  • CNN2
  • (1982)
  • Headline News
  • (1982-1997)
  • CNN Headline News
  • (1997-2007)
  • HLN: Headline News
  • (2007-2008)
Sister channel(s)
Audio available via some radio stationsFrequencies vary
Orby TVChannel 303
Dish NetworkChannel 202
DirecTVChannel 204 (HD/SD)
Shaw Direct (Canada)Channel 502
beIN (Middle East and North Africa)Channel 146 (SD)
Verizon FiOSChannel 101/1542 (SD)
Available on most American cable systemsChannels slots vary
SkyCable (Philippines)Channel 110 (Digital)
Cablelink (Philippines)Channel 107
Destiny Cable (Philippines)
  • Channel 64 (Analog)
  • Channel 110 (Digital)
Cable TV Hong Kong (Hong Kong)Channel 125
Wave BroadbandChannel 37
Izzi Telecom (Mexico)Channel 175
Satellite radio
SiriusChannel 117
XMChannel 117
Bell Fibe TV (Canada)
  • Channel 508 (SD)
  • Channel 1508 (HD)
AT&T U-verse
  • Channel 203 (SD)
  • Channel 1203 (HD)
mio TV (Singapore)Channel 169 (SD)
Zazeen (Canada)
  • Channel 50 (SD)
  • Channel 45 (HD)
VMedia (Canada)Channel 80 (SD)
Streaming media
go.cnn.comWatch live
Sling TVInternet Protocol television
PlayStation VueInternet Protocol television

HLN (Headline News) is an American basic cable news channel owned by CNN. Originally branded as CNN2, and later CNN Headline News, the channel was originally meant to broadcast standardized, regularly updated segments at 30-minute intervals 24 hours a day, briefly covering various areas of interest (such as national news, sports, entertainment, weather and business). In 2014, the network's programming was reorganized with an emphasis on social media. This practice was dropped by 2016 in favor of traditional news broadcasts, with part of its lineup dedicated to true crime shows drawn mainly from the library of defunct sister network Court TV, as well as new original programs within the genre.

As of July 2015, HLN is available to approximately 97 million American households (83.4% of households with at least one television set) in the United States making it the most distributed American subscription network.[1] Since the mid-2000s, HLN has been available internationally on pay television providers in parts of Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America, the Middle East, North Africa, and Canada.


Launch and early years

The channel was launched at midnight Eastern Time on January 1, 1982, as CNN2. The channel's launch was simulcast nationwide on sister networks CNN and Superstation WTBS (now simply TBS), starting at 11:45 p.m. on December 31, 1981, as a preview for cable providers that had not yet reached agreements to carry CNN2. Following a preview reel by original CNN anchor Lou Waters and an introduction by founder and then-Turner Broadcasting CEO Ted Turner, Chuck Roberts (who would become the channel's longest-serving news anchor, with a 28-year career with CNN2/Headline News that lasted until his retirement on July 30, 2010)[2] and Denise LeClair - anchored the channel's first newscast.[3][4]

Originally, the channel's programming was formatted around the idea that a viewer could tune in at any time of day or night (instead of having to wait for the merely once- or twice-daily national news segments in local newscasts, or morning or evening network news programs), and receive up-to-date information on the top national and international stories in just 30 minutes. This "Headline News Wheel" format featured: :00 - national and world news; :15 - business and personal finance reports ("Dollars and Sense"); :20 - sports scores and headlines ("Headline Sports"); and :25 - lifestyle reports (from :30, this news wheel was repeated all over again). The :25/:55 lifestyle segment was designed to allow local cable systems the option of pre-empting it with a local headline "capsule" from an associated regional cable news channel or a local television station. Another regular feature, the "Hollywood Minute", was often fitted-in after the "Headline Sports" segment. In the channel's early years, a two-minute recap of the hour's top stories, the "CNN Headlines," would run after the sports segment.

On August 9 of the same year, it was renamed Headline News. From around that point until 1992, the channel was often abbreviated as "HN" (the channel would later incorporate a die-cut "HN" block design within the original variant of its third logo when it was introduced in 1989, before it was fully supplanted by the wordmark that accompanied it in 1992, which was later italicized). During its first year, Headline News had a competitor in the form of ABC/Group W's Satellite News Channel, which operated from June 21, 1982 to October 27, 1983. After its shutdown, SNC's satellite slot was then purchased by Ted Turner to expand Headline News' reach further into additional homes.

Jon Petrovich was hired in the mid-1980s by Turner to lead Headline News.[5] In 1990, Headline News developed Local Edition, a six-minute-long local newscast, whose content was produced by a local broadcast station in the participating market, airing at the end of each half-hour of Headline News' rolling news block.[6] The channel included the "CNN" branding in its name intermittently for most of its history, before being incorporated on a regular basis from 1997 to 2007 (though an alternate logo without the CNN logo was used for news broadcasts through 2001).

In 1989, Headline News introduced a ticker that appeared at the lower one-third of the screen - except during commercial breaks, which initially showed stock market data with indexes of the major stock exchanges (including the Dow Jones Industrial Average, NASDAQ and the S&P 500) and quotes for major companies during trading hours, which were updated on a 15-minute delay. In 1992, the channel added the "Headline News SportsTicker", which showed sports scores and schedules for the day's upcoming games, creating the first continuous news ticker on television. The redesign resulted in video of the rolling newscasts becoming pillarboxed with blue bars on the left and right wings of the screen (matching the ticker's original coloring), before it returned to a full-screen format, with the ticker becoming a translucent black background overlaid on the lower third of the video, as part of a 1994 update to the channel's graphics package that also added weather forecasts for select major U.S. cities to the ticker; the ticker itself would add the Headline News logo, which as such, would no longer be seen alongside the copyright date in the closing.

George H. W. Bush death hoax

On January 8, 1992, Headline News almost became the victim of a hoax. When President George H. W. Bush fainted at a state dinner in Tokyo, Japan, a person claiming to be the president's physician called into the channel's Atlanta headquarters and claimed that Bush had died (he actually died 26 years later, in 2018). At 9:45 a.m., anchor Don Harrison prepared to break the story, stating "This just in to CNN Headline News, and we say right off the bat, we have not confirmed this through any other sources..." Executive producer Roger Bahre, who was off-camera, immediately yelled "No! Stop!"[7] After glancing away momentarily, Harrison continued, "We are now getting a correction. We will not give you that story. It was regarding some rather tragic news involving President Bush, but updating that story, President Bush is reported to be resting comfortably." It turned out that an Idaho man, James Edward Smith, called CNN posing as the president's physician. A CNN employee entered the information into a centralized computer used by both CNN and Headline News, and it nearly got out on the air before it could be verified. Smith was subsequently questioned by the Secret Service and hospitalized at a private medical facility for evaluation.[8]

Jukebox effect

1997-2001 CNN Headline News logo on a table in the food court at CNN Center. Tables like these have since been removed.

In 1992, Headline News pioneered the use of a digital video "jukebox" to recycle segments of one newscast seamlessly into another. The new technology reduced the number of staffers needed by enabling news segments to be re-used throughout an entire day (previously, anchors read the same stories repeatedly, hour after hour, with the second 15 minutes of each half-hour in the "wheel" being broadcast on videotape every third and fourth hour). This resulted in the layoffs of part of its staff, including such stalwart anchors as Lyn Vaughn, David Goodnow and Bob Losure, all of whom had been with Headline News for over 10 years.

1999 reformatting

On June 15, 1999, the network underwent a complete visual revamp, including an updated ticker (now dubbed the "Superticker"), a brand-new newsroom and studio, and a sectioning of the channel's schedule into four distinct dayparts, to convey the idea that, unlike CNN, which aired long-form programming such as discussion shows and documentaries, Headline News never stopped offering straight news coverage. The daypart blocks each ran for six hours and utilized their own special branding and color-coding (which extended to the graphics and segment introductions): First Watch (from 6:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Eastern Time, colored yellow), Second Watch (12:00-6:00 p.m. ET, colored red), Third Watch (6:00 p.m.-12:00 a.m. ET, colored green), and Late Watch (12:00-6:00 a.m. ET, colored blue). Additional segments were also added prior to commercial breaks: Best Bets On..., which provided top picks in categories such as films (with information supplied by publications owned by then-sister company Time Inc.), and Week-At-A-Glance, which provided summaries of important events occurring that week. To promote the change, two new slogans were introduced: Get-To-The-Point News and 24-Hour Non-Stop Headlines (the latter frequently used in ident bumpers).[9]

2001 re-launch

On August 6, 2001, CNN Headline News unveiled a revamp of the network's on-air format, promoted with a new slogan, Real news, real fast. The centrepiece of the new format was the replacement of the network's ticker with a large pane across the bottom of the screen, which displayed headlines and other information (such as weather updates and sports news). The network also introduced another new studio and multi-anchor format, and announced plans to add more live rolling news coverage. The network characterized the new design and format as being an attempt to appeal to younger viewers, citing inspiration from the internet; the Chicago Tribune noted that the channel's viewership had been dropping, and skewing towards viewers over 50, which are not desirable to most advertisers.[10][11][11]

Upon its launch, the new format received mixed reviews, with critics arguing that the new screen format conveyed too much information at once, distracting viewers from its main video programming. Critics also drew comparisons to financial news channels, as well as a similar increase in on-screen information announced by ESPNews. Steve Johnson of the Chicago Tribune explained that "the video portion of Headline News' subdivided screen occupies only about a third of the total real estate. My 27-inch set shrinks, in effect, to a 14-incher when tuned to Headline News. Never mind the old-school problem of trying to spot the hockey puck; people with smaller sets watching sports highlights here will have trouble finding a basketball."[10][11][12]

Headline Prime, "News and Views"

In February 2005, the network launched a new primetime block known as Headline Prime; the block was designed to feature opinion-driven and personality-based programs (in contrast to the "hard news" programming of CNN), which network executive Ken Jautz described as a shift from "news to views" and The New York Times compared to Fox News Channel.[13] Its launch lineup featured Prime News Tonight, Showbiz Tonight, a daily entertainment news show hosted by A. J. Hammer, and an eponymous current affairs program hosted by legal commentator Nancy Grace, which featured news and analysis related to crime and court cases.[14][15] In May 2006, Headline Prime added a eponymous program hosted by conservative talk radio host Glenn Beck. Both Nancy Grace and Glenn Beck brought major ratings gains to Headline News, especially within the key demographics, although its daytime programming only saw modest increases. Exposed: The Extremist Agenda, a Glenn Beck special aired in November 2006, broke a million viewers and was the network's most-watched program of the year.[13]

Previous HLN logo. Used sparingly as on-screen bug until January 13, 2015.

On December 15, 2008, in conjunction with CNN's own graphics changes, which resembled the graphics of its sister channel CNN International, Headline News replaced its news ticker with a "flipper", which featured an RSS feed of the current headlines on its parent network's website, CNN.com.[16] The same day, a new square logo with a triangular appendage (making it resemble a speech bubble) overlaid by an "HLN" acronym was introduced, initially alongside the channel's full name. Two days later, the "Headline News" name was removed from on-air use with the HLN acronym becoming the channel's name full-time, and a new slogan, "News and Views", was introduced[17]

In September 2010, Scott Safon was named as president of HLN replacing Ken Jautz who was named president of CNN/U.S.[18] On March 28, 2011, HLN switched its primary standard definition feed from full-screen to a letterboxed 4:3 format, which is a downconversion from the 16:9 high definition feed; however, video footage broadcast in standard definition on either feed is not pillarboxed (as such with parent channel CNN, since its SD feed switched from full-screen to letterbox in January 2011), leaving black bars on the right and left sides of the screen, in addition to on the top and bottom of the screen. However HLN Saturday Night Mysteries, which features repurposed versions of sister channel TruTV's crime story programming, is broadcast in 4:3 full-screen on the HLN SD feed.

During the spring of 2011, HLN devoted a significant amount of its broadcast day to the Casey Anthony murder trial, dedicating multiple daily and primetime slots to live coverage of the proceedings followed by commentary during the evening. The saturated coverage of the trial led to increased ratings for the network, including a doubling in regular viewership during daytime hours and nearly triple that in primetime.[19] HLN executive vice president Scot Safon called the trial "a gigantic deal" for the network.[20] HLN also devoted a significant amount of time to the trial of Dr. Conrad Murray (who was accused of prescribing the drugs that caused the death of Michael Jackson) during the fall of 2011.

On July 18, 2011, CNN began offering live streams of HLN for mobile devices to subscribers of certain pay television services.[21] On November 4, 2011, HLN launched its own website at hlntv.com. By contrast to CNN.com, the site is run by HLN's own editorial staff, emphasizing "must see and must share" stories, and content tying into its television programs.[22]

In May 2012, HLN acquired the rights to broadcast the Daytime Emmy Awards, beginning with the 39th annual event on June 23, 2012; this marked the first time that the awards ceremony was aired on pay television, instead of terrestrial television.[23] With 912,000 viewers (not counting four repeat broadcasts, which brought the total to two million), the broadcast was "the most watched regularly scheduled, non-news telecast" ever on HLN.[24]

2013-2015: Going social

Logo used from January 13, 2015 to May 8, 2017.

Albie Hecht joined HLN as Executive Vice President and GM in September 2013.[25] In November 2013, consumer advocate Clark Howard ended his five-year relationship with HLN, including his appearances on Morning Express with Robin Meade and Evening Express as well as his own eponymous weekend afternoon program. The move came in response to planned changes occurring at HLN, which sought to re-position the network as the "first TV home for the social media generation."[26]

Throughout 2014, HLN's news content began to skew towards millennials, with an increasing focus on content popular on social networks alongside major headlines. For a period, HLN also aired RightThisMinute, a syndicated program focusing on viral videos. In June 2014, Time Warner attempted to, but failed to, acquire a stake in Vice Media: Time Warner had planned to give Vice control of HLN so it could re-launch the channel around its original content.[27][28] Vice subsequently partnered with A&E Networks to launch its channel, Viceland, in 2016.[29]

These plans culminated on January 13, 2015, when HLN underwent a major revamp in its programming and on-air presentation; the network introduced several new social media-themed programs, including the new afternoon block The Daily Share, Jack Vale: Offline - a docusoap following YouTube comedian Jack Vale, Ali Nejad's The Social Life, and Keywords, a social media-themed game show hosted by Summer Sanders. HLN also adopted an updated logo, and introduced a new set at Studio 7 of the CNN Center, used by Morning Express and The Daily Share. The new studio has a "coffee house"-styled design with no traditional anchor desk, and a "Social Circle" designed to encourage interaction between hosts and guests. T-Mobile US also signed on to serve as a sponsor for The Daily Share, allowing on-set branding and sponsored segments during the program.[30][31]

In late-May 2015, The Daily Share was cut from five hours to two, with the remainder of its timeslot filled by CNN original series and specials, followed by next-day encores of Nancy Grace and Dr. Drew On Call.[32]

2016-present: Change in strategy, true crime programming

On November 24, 2015, CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker announced, in a memo to network staff, that Hecht would depart HLN; Ken Jautz, who oversaw the network as its president prior to Hecht's appointment in 2013, would head the network in the interim. The memo outlined plans to restructure its daytime and overnight programming to more closely resemble CNN, including a focus on documentary films.[33][34][35][36]

In June 2016, HLN announced that Erica Hill would re-join the network to host a new, afternoon program from New York later in the year.[37] Later that month, HLN also announced that Michaela Pereira, a former anchor of CNN's New Day, would host a new morning show from CNN's Los Angeles bureau, known as MichaeLA, beginning on July 11, 2016. The new program was positioned as a sister to HLN's main morning show Morning Express, airing from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. ET; the network emphasized in promotion that Michaela would be the only nationally televised morning show to be broadcast live in the west coast (where it airs from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. PT), contrasting other national morning shows that are tape-delayed from airings for the east coast.[38]

On June 30, 2016, Nancy Grace announced that she would end her show and leave HLN in October 2016, after nearly a decade with the network.[39] It was replaced by a new program, Primetime Justice with Ashleigh Banfield.[40] Erica Hill's new program, On the Story, premiered on October 10, 2016.[41]

On October 22, 2016, AT&T announced an offer to acquire Time Warner for $108.7 billion, including debt it would assume from the latter; the merger would bring Time Warner's various media properties, including HLN and CNN, under the same corporate umbrella as AT&T's telecommunications holdings, including satellite provider DirecTV.[42][43][44][45] Time Warner shareholders approved the merger on February 15, 2017; however on February 28, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced that his agency will not review the deal, leaving the review to the U.S. Department of Justice.[46][47] On November 20, 2017, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit against AT&T and Time Warner in an attempt to block the merger, citing antitrust concerns surrounding the transaction.[48] The proposed merger - which had already been approved by the European Commission and Mexican, Chilean and Brazilian regulatory authorities - was affirmed by court ruling on June 12, 2018, after District of Columbia U.S. District Court Judge Richard J. Leon ruled in favor of AT&T in a lawsuit. The merger closed two days later on June 14, with the company becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of AT&T under the renamed parent company WarnerMedia.[49][50][51][52][53][54][55]

In January 2017, HLN announced the January 27 premiere of How it Really Happened, a new documentary series hosted by Hill Harper reporting on the "most notorious crimes, mysteries, trials, and celebrity tragedies of our time". The series is the first production of CNN's Original Series Development staff that was developed specifically for HLN.[56] On January 30, 2017, it was announced that CNN anchor Carol Costello would return to HLN to host a new program from Los Angeles.[57] In March 2017, HLN announced that S.E. Cupp would host a new early-evening program on HLN, S. E. Cupp Unfiltered, beginning in June 2017.[58]

On May 8, 2017, HLN underwent a rebranding, adopting a new logo and slogan, "News that hits home". The network will position its news content towards regional headlines, crime, and entertainment stories -- leaving CNN to focus upon "in-depth" political coverage and world affairs.[59] In January 2018, HLN began to reintroduce the Headline News brand during its news programming (although HLN remains the network's primary name), and also introduced Headline Now--a recap of top stories airing every half-hour during its daytime lineup.[60]

In August 2018, S.E. Cupp Unfiltered was quietly moved to CNN as a weekly program on Saturday evenings.[61] On October 16, 2018, HLN cancelled Across America with Carol Costello, Michaela, and Crime & Justice with Ashleigh Banfield. With the cancellation of the three shows, Morning Express with Robin Meade brought back its original five-hour timeslot from 6:00 a.m. to noon, and On the Story was expanded to three hours and will air from noon until 3:00 p.m.[62]


Due to the channel's tradition of airing rolling news coverage, HLN had become popular with people who may not have time to watch lengthy news reports, and as a fast source of news for public locations like airports, bars, and many other places. Supermarkets that carried the discontinued CNN Checkout Channel service were offered a feed of Headline News to broadcast on its televisions.[63]

Since its inception, many broadcast television stations in various markets carried Headline News programming during the overnight hours in lieu of signing off (particularly as stations began to adopt 24-hour-a-day program schedules during the late 1980s and 1990s), or scheduling movies, infomercials or other syndicated programming to fill overnight timeslots. Beginning in the early 1990s, as NBC, ABC and CBS launched their own overnight news programs (NBC Nightside, World News Now and Up to the Minute, respectively), network-affiliated stations that carried the channel's programming - which typically aired in half-hour or hour-long blocks - continued to air Headline News broadcasts as a complement to these programs and also to provide news programming in weekend time periods when the networks did not provide Saturday and/or Sunday editions of their overnight newscasts.

Until 1995, much of Headline News' programming was simulcast on sister channel CNN International; the channel's news ticker was not displayed on CNN International during its simulcasts of Headline News programming. The channel's program audio was also simulcast on AM radio stations across the country via Westwood One; all of CNN's U.S. radio operations (including the HLN simulcast) were discontinued on April 1, 2012 as part of Westwood One's dissolution into Dial Global. HLN's audio feed is carried on XM Satellite Radio channel 123 and Sirius Satellite Radio channel 116. As of February 2019, the audio simulcast is also distributed on Entercom's Radio.com website and app.[64]


Beginning in the mid-2000s, the channel has been available in certain countries outside the United States, particularly in Asia, Latin America, Middle East and North Africa.
While the international feed's program lineup is exactly the same as that seen in the U.S., program teasers and weather forecasts for Asian and Latin American, Middle East and North African Cities in the cities are used as break fillers in lieu of commercials.

High definition

HLN broadcasts in high definition 1080i resolution format. It is available nationally on nearly all pay-TV providers within the United States, and in Canada on satellite provider Bell TV, which downconverts the HD feed's picture resolution to 720p.


HLN's weekday lineup consists primarily of rolling news programming during the morning and early-afternoon hours, consisting of Morning Express, a morning news program hosted by Robin Meade with co-anchors Bob Van Dillen, Jennifer Westhoven and Hines Ward, and the early-afternoon program On the Story hosted by Mike Galanos and Susan Hendricks.

HLN's remaining dayparts primarily feature a focus on true crime programming. The network has extensively aired reruns of the former CourtTV series Forensic Files; as of April 2016, the program took up about 58% of the channel's weekly schedule.[65] In March 2017, HLN executive Ken Jautz stated that the network was making an effort to produce more original series; some of the new series that were slated to premiere in 2017, including Beyond Reasonable Doubt, Something's Killing Me, Inside with Chris Cuomo (which premiered October 20),[66] and the second season of How it Really Happened (whose first season premiered January 27, 2017), were designed to complement the popularity of Forensic Files and other true crime programs, as well as HLN's renewed focus on crime coverage as part of its news programming.[58][56][59] After airing new episodes in simulcast with CNN in 2016,[67]The Hunt with John Walsh moved to HLN for its fourth season.[68]

On February 12, 2015, HLN aired the film Glory as part of a new anthology known as News and a Movie--which consisted of airings of feature films accompanied by panel discussions on their cultural relevance in the present day.[69] Alongside TruTV, HLN also aired encores of special episodes of TBS's late night talk show Conan set in Cuba and Armenia.[70][71]

At 4:00 a.m. ET on weekdays, HLN used to broadcast CNN Student News (formerly known as CNN Newsroom from its 1989 debut, not to be confused with the current CNN program of the same name), a 10-minute news program designed for broadcast in schools that is produced as part of the Cable in the Classroom initiative; the program is anchored by Carl Azuz, with reports on the day's news presented in a simplified format (and with stories featuring graphic imagery or adult themes usually left out from the program). It no longer airs on HLN as of 2014, but is still available as a free podcast on CNN's website and iTunes. On December 16, 2016, the program was renamed to CNN 10.

Notable on-air staff

Anchors and reporters

  1. (HLN) - Indicates anchor/reporter who appears exclusively on HLN
  2. (HLN & CNN) - Indicates anchor/reporter who appears on both HLN and CNN

Former anchors and reporters

Former talk show hosts


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External links

  • Official website
  • Headline News in the 1980/90's:Video clips [1]
  • Headline News anchors in the 1980/90's:Screen grabs [2]
  • Headline News in the 1980/90's:Idents and Graphics [3]

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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