CNN’s sister network, HLN, has axed top anchors Carol Costello, Ashleigh Banfield and Michaela Pereira as part of a complete programing overhaul, Fox News confirmed on Tuesday.
As first reported by Mediaite, CNN executives announced the changes during company-wide meetings at HLN headquarters in New York, Atlanta and Los Angeles.
HLN – formerly known as Headline News – has struggled to maintain an identity in recent years and has been plagued with constant rebranding and programming shakeups. The network once famous for its news ticker and constant updates eventually pivoted to true crime and investigative programing before adding a handful of live, CNN-style studio shows.
The latest change eliminates all live programming other than “Morning Express with Robin Meade” and the daytime show “On the Story.”
“Across America with Carol Costello,” “Crime & Justice with Ashleigh Banfield,” and “Michaela” will be terminated, with the namesake hosts leaving the network. The move leaves three prominent female anchors without current gigs after TheWrap reported earlier this year that CNN had “significantly fewer women serving in visible on-air roles than either Fox News or MSNBC.”
Meade’s flagship morning program will now air from 6 a.m. ET to noon, with “On the Story” airing from noon until 3 p.m. The network will then air taped programing exclusively for the remainder of the day without any live primetime shows. HLN will no longer have live production in Los Angeles or New York, as both remaining shows are housed in Atlanta.
HLN finished as the No. 49 most-watched primetime network on basic cable during the week of Oct. 8-14, behind networks such as Animal Plant, Oxygen, VH1 and the Lifetime Movie Network.
CNN Executive Vice President Ken Jautz detailed the changes in a memo to staffers that was obtained by Mediaite and confirmed by Fox News.
Jautz told his staff that the “cable news landscape is dominated by politics,” and HLN’s “live news shows have not benefitted from this trend given our story mix.”
“We will shift some of our resources from live to longform programming and produce our live shows in as streamlined a manner as possible. The best way to do this is to centralize production of live news programming in Atlanta," Jautz wrote.
Prominent HLN hosts S.E. Cupp and Erica Hill had already recently been shifted to CNN.
CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker also oversees HLN.
An HLN spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.