Ashleigh Banfield Will Get Primetime Roost on HLN

Ashleigh Banfield, the TV-news correspondent who first rose to fame by traveling to global hotspots for MSNBC in the aftermath of 9/11, has a new flashpoint to cover: getting more attention for HLN, the CNN-owned outlet going through transition.

She will take over the slot that has long been occupied by Nancy Grace, the 8 p.m. hour, starting Monday, October 17. Grace had previously announced plans to leave the network, and her last show will air Oct. 13, according to an HLN spokeswoman. Banfield announced the move during her noontime program on CNN, “Legal View,” which she has anchored for about five years.

Like Grace, Banfield will focus on legal matters, but will likely consider a wider selection of topics. Grace built a name for herself with examinations of lurid court matters.

Banfield “will bring her legal experience and views to HLN prime, tackling the day’s most pressing social and legal issues mixed with her own passionate point of view and spirited conversation,” said Ken Jautz, the CNN executive vice president who oversees HLN, in a prepared statement.

Her arrival represents the latest effort to correct a brand drift that had set in at HLN as it jumped around from court coverage to pursuing social-media junkies. At one recent point, HLN was testing everything from running movies to ordering up a game series based on a concept from Ellen DeGeneres’ talk show.

The network , once known as “CNN Headline News,” is pursuing a more traditional bent: aligning itself more closely with CNN while building a new stable of programs that appeal to its core audience, believed to be younger and more female than CNN.  Already, the network has extended the news block it has with Robin Meade’s “Morning Express” by enlisting Michaela Pereira, formerly of CNN’s “New Day,” and Erica Hill,” formerly of NBC’s weekend edition of “Today” for daytime programs.

Banfield said Thursday on air that she expected to continue to contribute to CNN legal coverage, and would most likely make appearances on it air. She has served stints at Court TV and ABC News, and the Fox-owned KDFW.

A weekday version of “Inside Politics,” the John King-hosted Sunday half-hour, will take over her CNN time slot through the election. The new hour will be produced by the same team that supervised Banfield’s “Legal View.” There’s precedent for the move: “Inside Politics” ran in the noon hour during both the Republican and Democratic conventions.




Popular on Variety

More TV

  • David Zaslav

    Steven Spielberg's 'Why We Hate' Is More Timely Than Ever, David Zaslav Says

    The political state of the world today has made the upcoming docuseries “Why We Hate” relevant in a way that its producers, Steven Spielberg and Alex Gibney, hardly expected when they began developing the project five years ago, Discovery president and CEO David Zaslav said Thursday. “Things are much more of a challenge and hate [...]

  • Jada Pinkett Smith, Will Smith. Jada

    Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith's Westbrook Inks Development Pact With Telepool (EXCLUSIVE)

    Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith’s new media venture, Westbrook Inc., has signed a co-development agreement for feature films, television shows and digital entertainment formats with German-based film and TV company Telepool. The move follows the acquisition of Telepool last year by Smith and Elysian Fields, a Zurich-based investment company. Westbrook, launched this year by [...]

  • Shane Gillis SNL Controversy

    Shane Gillis Makes First Stand-Up Appearance Since 'SNL' Firing

    Comedian Shane Gillis made his first public appearance Wednesday night since he was hired by “Saturday Night Live,” then fired from the show days later amid controversy over his use of racist slurs. Appearing on stage at comedy club the Stand in New York City, Gillis performed an 11-minute set that pulled no punches when [...]

  • AMERICAN HORROR STORY: 1984 -- Pictured:

    'American Horror Story' Recap: Welcome to 'Camp Redwood'

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched the season premiere of “American Horror Story: 1984” entitled “Camp Redwood.” Welcome back to “American Horror Story,” which in its ninth season travels back in time to the 1970s and 1980s to play in the slasher genre. Only one episode into the season, it already [...]

  • Connie Britton BlogHer Summit

    Connie Britton on ‘Friday Night Lights’ Remake: ‘You Need to Let it Go’

    Connie Britton opened up at a fireside chat Wednesday at the #BlogHer19 Creators Summit in Brooklyn by talking about one of her most beloved roles — Tami Taylor in the fan favorite series “Friday Night Lights.” When asked if a remake of the sports cult film and Emmy-winning TV show is in the works she [...]

  • Bob IgerSimon Weisenthal Gala honoring Bob

    Bob Iger Would Have Combined Disney With Apple if Steve Jobs Were Still Alive

    Disney and Apple are both launching their own streaming services come November, but Disney CEO Bob Iger says the two companies weren’t always on competing paths. In an excerpt from his autobiography published Wednesday in “Vanity Fair,” Iger revealed that Disney and Apple likely would have merged if Steve Jobs hadn’t died in 2011. “I [...]

  • The Mentalist

    #NotWorthLess: 'I Was Great and Deserve to Be Paid the Same'

    Women writers, producers and assistants across Twitter turned the hashtag #NotWorthLess into a trend Wednesday, shining a light on issues of pay inequality in the entertainment business. Sparked by screenwriter Adele Lim’s recent decision to walk away from the “Crazy Rich Asians” sequel in protest of being paid less than her male co-writer, dozens of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content