America’s Health Net lays off 161 staffers

NEW YORK — America’s Health Network, the struggling medical advice channel, has “furloughed” 161 of its 200 employees after the Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. pulled back from its planned $25 million investment in the channel.

“The deal was signed and documented,” said Joe Maddox, president and chief operating officer of AHN. “We were just waiting for the money transfer when the chairman of Columbia/HCA resigned.” Maddox was referring to Richard Scott, who ankled the company 10 days ago in the wake of a federal criminal investigation into alleged fraud by Columbia/HCA that has already resulted in the indictment of three of its top officers. Scott’s successor, Dr. Thomas Frist, immediately canceled the AHN deal “with no explanation,” Maddox says.

Maddox said he hopes to secure replacement financing from a “major media company,” which he declined to name, within the next month, allowing AHN to hire back some of the laid-off employees.

AHC, which kicked off March 25, 1996, from its headquarters at Universal Studios in Orlando, Fla., reaches only about 6.3 million households through cable systems and DirecTv. “Our original capitalization came in at $75 million,” he said, adding that the Providence Journal put up 80% of that figure. A.H. Belo Corp. bought the Providence Journal, and Maddox says Columbia/HCA’s Scott had agreed to purchase Belo’s 52% stake in AHN, which is valued at between $55 million and $60 million. That deal has also collapsed, and Belo is looking for a new buyer. AHN’s other owners are Universal Studios, Home Shopping Network, Allen & Co. Inc., Access Health Inc., IVI Publishing, the Mayo Clinic and Medical Innovation Partners.

More TV

  • SDCC TV News Roundup: Syfy Releases

    SDCC TV News Roundup: Syfy Releases 'The Magicians' Season 5 Clip (Watch)

    In today’s SDCC TV news roundup, Syfy shares a clip from “The Magicians” Season 5, and Amazon sets the Season 4 premiere of “The Expanse.” CASTING Julie Gonzalo and Staz Nair have joined the cast of “Supergirl” for its upcoming fifth season. Gonzalo will portray iconic DC character Andrea Rojas aka Acrata, a polished businesswoman [...]

  • Doom Patrol -- Ep. 101 --

    'Doom Patrol' Renewed, Season 2 to Stream on DC Universe and HBO Max

    “Doom Patrol” has been renewed for a second season and will soon be available outside of DC Universe. At San Diego Comic-Con, series executive producer Jeremy Carver and star Diane Guerrero announced not only that the show will be back for another season but also that it will be available on HBO Max, the upcoming [...]

  • Teyonah Parris

    Teyonah Parris Cast in 'WandaVision' at Disney Plus

    “Mad Men” and “If Beale Street Could Talk” actress Teyonah Parris has been cast in Disney Plus’ “Wanda Vision” series. She will play an adult version of Monica Rambeau, a child character introduced in the film “Captain Marvel.” The announcement was made at Marvel’s Comic-Con presentation. The forthcoming Disney+ series about Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth [...]

  • Zachary Quinto as Charlie Manx - NOS4A2

    'NOS4A2' Renewed for Season 2 at AMC

    AMC has renewed “NOS4A2” for a second season. The news was announced during the show’s panel at San Diego Comic-Con and ahead of the Season 1 finale. Season 2 will consist of 10 episodes and is slated to air in 2020. The series, which is based on the 2013 Joe Hill novel of the same [...]

  • Gabrielle Carteris

    SAG-AFTRA Signs Netflix Deal With Expanded Coverage

    SAG-AFTRA and streaming giant Netflix have agreed to a new three-year contract with expanded coverage for union performers. Netflix has previously employed SAG-AFTRA members under the union’s standard master contracts for television and film and had been signing on a production by production basis. The union announced Saturday that the new deal recognizes performance capture as covered work [...]

  • Cara Delevingne'Carnival Row' TV show photocall,

    Cara Delevingne Says Her 'Carnival Row' Character Is Pansexual, Explains Defending Taylor Swift Against Justin Bieber

    Cara Delevingne and Orlando Bloom’s love affair may be at the center of the upcoming Amazon Prime Video series “Carnival Row,” but the British actress doesn’t want viewers to assume her faerie character is heterosexual. “I’m a pansexual faerie,” Delevingne told Variety during an exclusive one-on-one interview at Comic-Con adding that there are other queer [...]

  • 'Russian Doll' Star Charlie Barnett Joins

    'Russian Doll' Star Charlie Barnett Joins 'Arrow' Final Season

    “Russian Doll” standout Charlie Barnett is joining the “Arrowverse.” Barnett, who is having a busy year having also appeared in Netflix’s “Tales of the City,” comes on board in the series regular role of John Diggle, Jr., son of David Ramsey’s character. News of his casting was announced at the show’s farewell Comic-Con panel where things [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content