The Wall Street Journal’s Keach Hagey reported on Friday that CNN recently ended talks with Glenn Beck’s The Blaze to provide programming for its struggling sister network, HLN.
According to the Journal, CNN executives held talks with representatives from The Blaze about a potential joint venture to remake HLN. These discussions came on the heels of CNN’s talks with Vice Media about a similar deal. The talks ended when CNN and The Blaze representatives couldn’t agree on the terms of a deal.
One of the options being discussed was the formation of a new joint venture between CNN parent company Time Warner—which was a recent target of Beck’s old employer Fox News—and The Blaze, that would replace HLN’s current lineup with Beck’s.
While CNN has been struggling for the last few years, HLN has struggled even more and has seen it’s total viewership drop 22% year to date in the absence of any sensational stories for Nancy Grace to beat to death. Another factor has been the overall trend of people to drop their cable subscriptions.
HLN president Albie Hecht has been trying to fix the network’s problems since taking over in November, but he has found many of the same challenges that Jeff Zucker has encountered during his brief tenure as CNN Worldwide president.
Earlier this year, in a rebranding effort, Hecht called HLN “the first TV network for the social media generation.” He was hoping too woo younger viewers, but that has failed as they have abandoned the network in droves.
It’s too bad the talks broke down, as the return of Beck to cable television would have been interesting, especially considering that his original program aired on HLN before he left for Fox News, and the fact that CNN isn’t exactly a conservative network.
Since leaving Fox News, Beck has been busy building a global brand under The Blaze name. He has been pushing to get carriage on cable systems, and this would have been an easy entree to millions of households. So I wouldn’t be surprised to see CNN and The Blaze return to the bargaining table in the future.