Last week, HLN announced it was going to rebrand itself, and on Wednesday the network gave a preview of what’s to come to The Hollywood Reporter.
The programs will run the gamut from social media, news driven programs—Videocracy to a social satire cartoon show, I Can Haz News Toons—whatever that means—and an app— #What’sYourFomo (fear of missing out), that will likely become a television segment.
These changes are being driven by CNN president Jeff Zucker, who has publicly stated his preference for entertainment type programming over news. This apparently is a taste of what is to come at CNN if it succeeds at HLN. It’s also a less risky move—with HLN being the lowest rated news network that Zucker runs—and if it fails he can always just add more real news.
The changes are being led by CNN executive vice president and general manager Albie Hecht, who was part of the team that created MTV in 1981, and transitioned TNN to SpikeTV in 2003.
But it’s one thing to add a travel show like Anthony Bourdain that had an established following on the Travel Channel before bolting to CNN. It’s another thing to try and add programs based on what is happening in social media, which isn’t known for factual accuracy.
Hecht said that HLN’s goal is to debunk the myth that social media is only about videos of cats riding skateboards, and that the network’s “ripped from the social media headlines approach” will mirror what consumers are doing digitally.
Just because consumers are doing something digitally doesn’t mean that they want to watch it on television. Though HLN may succeed with their rebranding, the odds are that this attempt to base their programming on social media will largely fail.