“Heads Up!” is a popular segment on Ellen DeGeneres’ long-running talk show that has the host trying to guess phrases and words that the guest acts out, or vice versa. The concept is so winning that it has spurred its own app.
At HLN, however, a series based on the idea, hosted by Loni Love, is being shelved prior to airing with 65 completed episodes in the can.
The Time Warner-owned cable network, a sister to CNN known best for its coverage of headline news and courtroom drama as well as Nancy Grace’s primetime show, will not air the program, a network spokeswoman, Alison Rudnick, confirmed. HLN had envisioned airing the show Monday through Friday.
The program’s demise is the latest signal that CNN is rethinking what to do with HLN. Former Viacom programming executive Albie Hecht was recruited in the fall of 2013 to transform the network into a place that highlighted the chatter emerging on social media. He departed in late November of last year as CNN worldwide president Jeff Zucker articulated a new direction for the cable outlet — using it as a place to burnish the library of nonfiction programming CNN has amassed for its prime-time hours.
New programming is also in the offing for HLN. Amy Entelis, CNN Worldwide’s executive vice president for talent and content development, has taken charge of similar duties at HLN, Rudnick said. Entelis’ team is expected to develop new originals for HLN as well. Ken Jautz, a longtime CNN executive who had a prior tenure at HLN, is now overseeing the network.
As that has happened, some HLN executives have left the network. Kari Kim, vice president of program development, and Nicholas Oakley-Tilley, a senior director of program development at HLN, have left, the spokeswoman confirmed.
As for “Heads Up!,” Telepictures, a unit of Time Warner that is the producer of the show with DeGeneres’ A Very Good Production banner, could try to find a home for it elsewhere.