Mediabistro reports that HLN held an all-staff meeting Wednesday in Atlanta to discuss the future of the troubled network. The meeting was led by HLN general manager Albie Hecht, with CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker also present.
Jennifer Westhoven, who covers the economy, business and money for HLN, tweeted out Zucker’s statement about the network.
— Jennifer Westhoven (@JenWesthoven) December 3, 2014
The tweet was in reference to this past summer’s negotiations with VICE media about a partnership that would have largely turned control of HLN programming over to VICE. Those talks ended when the two sides couldn’t agree on VICE’s valuation.
Even though the talks ended months ago, VICE founder Shane Smith apparently still has his eyes on the network, telling Jeff Jarvis at the Paley Media Council that HLN is a “distressed media asset,” and that VICE could do a better job with it than the current management.
Zucker reacted angrily to Smith’s comments, calling him an a*****e, but Smith is right. HLN’s ratings have plunged, with the network firmly lodged in a distant fourth place in the cable-news ratings.
With VICE flush with investor cash, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them take another run at HLN. Even though Zucker says the network isn’t for sale, it’s not entirely his decision to make.