×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

HLN Will Add S.E. Cupp as Host, Introduce New Original Series on Friday Nights (EXCLUSIVE)

No matter how many changes HLN has seen in recent years, one thing has stood as a constant: multiple airings of “Forensic Files,” a documentary series about crime-solving techniques that has, over the years, aired on TLC, CourtTV, CNN and even for a brief time on NBC.

HLN hopes to cut back on the program in months to come, even though at present it fills about 90 hours a week on the Time Warner-owned outlet.

“We are reducing the network’s reliance on a single series, however successful that series has been,” says Ken Jautz, the CNN executive vice president who oversees HLN’s operations. “There is going to be more focus on original series.”

HLN executives are unveiling the latest steps in their efforts to revamp the network, which has for years served as a sort of flanker to sister CNN, all the while casting about for a new identity. After spending time establishing a new daytime schedule of new anchors – Carol Costello, Erica Hill and Michaela Pereira will follow morning stalwart Robin Meade – Jautz and other senior CNN executives are prepared to season primetime with documentary series about investigation and mystery, and will also add S.E. Cupp to its early-evening programming, where she will, starting some time in June, lead into Ashleigh Banfield’s program at 8 p.m.

“We are trying to bring high-quality appointment television to HLN primetime, being very mindful that the audience is a little bit younger than CNN’s, a little bit more Midwestern, and has known HLN to be the home of ‘Forensic Files,’” notes Amy Entelis, executive vice president for talent and content at CNN Worldwide. “We think we can deliver a high-quality product that touches on similar themes to that show.” Last year, HLN began airing some of CNN’s non-fiction series – including “The Hunt” hosted by John Walsh, in a Friday-night block.

One of the new programs will be “Beyond Reasonable Doubt,” slated to debut Friday, June 2 at 9 p.m. from Nutopia and executive producer Jane Root, the team behind CNN’s “Finding Jesus” series. In an interview, Root described a series that will likely tantalize fans of detective work (one episode centers on a mutilated body found tucked inside an old, forgotten water drum) and new kinds of data and tracking.  “It’s a personal, human story set against a background of amazing science,” she said.

“Something’s Killing Me,” scheduled to launch Friday, July 21, at 9 p.m., is a medical mystery series that looks at puzzling maladies like a fatal form of insomnia or anthrax poisoning and tracks teams of doctors, scientists and even federal investigators as they race to save a life. The series is produced by CNN.

Hard-charging CNN morning anchor Chris Cuomo will host “Inside Secret Places with Chris Cuomo,” which is slated to debut Friday, November 3 at 9 p.m. This investigative series, also produced internally by CNN’s development team, will take viewers behind the scenes of situations that few experience. Episodes include an inside look at sex trafficking.

The second season of “How it Really Happened With Hill Harper,” also produced by CNN, is scheduled to begin Friday, September 15, at 9 p.m.

Cupp, a right-of-center pundit who has in the past been known for hosting programs about politics (CNN’s “Crossfire” among them), says she hopes to bring a broader palette to HLN. “I think it’s inarguable that there’s still a lot to talk about when it comes to politics, but I also think like a lot of regular people, we are kind of looking to talk about some other stuff again,” she says. “These are not the conversations shaping up in the halls of Capitol Hill, but the conversations on your back porch.” Her show will also tackle pop culture, parenting, sports and crime, she says, and rely on a “family of panelists” that could include comedians and commentators. “You won’t always agree with me, but I’ll always be honest and I will ask my guests to be the same,” she adds.

The effort marks Jautz’s second round of schedule-building at HLN. Last decade, during a different stint at the network, he brought Nancy Grace and Glenn Beck to broader fame by launching programs featuring them. Time Warner typically sells HLN to distributors in tandem with CNN, according to market-research firm SNL Kagan, and HLN does not generate a separate line of subscriber fees. Upgrading the programming could serve to boost ratings, and, subsequently, other kinds of revenue.

“Forensic Files” fans shouldn’t be too flummoxed by the news. Even with a roll-out of new programs, HLN is likely to air around 70 hours of the series each week – at least for the time being.

POPULRA VARIETY VIDEO:

More TV

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    Signs of Solidarity and Strain Emerge as Week 2 of WGA-Talent Agency Standoff Begins

    Hundreds of WGA members rallied solidly behind their union last week as the industry grappled with uncertainties spurred by the sudden break between writers and their talent agency representatives. But as the standoff heads into its second week, signs of strain among some WGA members are beginning to emerge. Shalom Auslander, author and creator of [...]

  • Jon Snow Arya Stark Game of

    'Game of Thrones' Final Season Vegas Odds Reveal Wild Theories

    With “Game of Thrones” hype at an all-time high, Las Vegas may be raking in as much money as the Iron Bank. HBO’s fantasy masterpiece has seized the gambling world’s attention nearly as much as the Super Bowl or Kentucky Derby. Fans spew countless theories on social media, such as which characters will be axed [...]

  • FX's 'Snowfall' Panel TCA Winter Press

    John Singleton Hospitalized After Suffering Stroke

    UPDATED with statements from John Singleton’s family and FX Networks John Singleton, the Oscar nominated director and writer of “Boyz N’ the Hood,” has suffered a stroke. Sources confirm to Variety that Singleton checked himself into the hospital earlier this week after experiencing pain in his leg. The stroke has been characterized by doctors as [...]

  • Adam Lambert, of Queen, performs at

    Adam Lambert Back to 'Idol' to Mentor Finalists Through Queen's Catalog

    Adam Lambert famously launched his career on “American Idol” a decade ago performing a brilliant audition of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” He wrapped that amazing eighth season performing with the band on the season finale, and years later earned his current spot as the front man touring as Queen + Adam Lambert. On April 28, Lambert comes full circle as he steps [...]

  • Lily Tomlin SAG Lifetime Acheivement Award

    TV News Roundup: Netflix's 'Laugh-In' 50th Anniversary Tribute Sets Premiere Date

    In today’s TV News roundup, Netflix sets the premiere date for its 50th anniversary special of “Laugh-In.” DATES “Laugh-In: The Stars Celebrate,” the 50th anniversary tribute to the original series by Dan Rowan and Dick Martin, will premiere on Netflix on May 14. The special, which was taped at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, pays [...]

  • Texas Tech's Norense Odiase (32) shoots

    Live+3 Ratings for Week of April 8: NCAA Championship Game Dunks on Competition

    The final of the 2019 NCAA basketball tournament, in which Virginia triumphed over a spirited Texas Tech team, unsurprisingly finished way out in front in the Live+3 ratings for the week of April 8. Although the sports broadcast’s scripted competition made some gains, its 5.4 ratings still more than doubled that of “Grey’s Anatomy” in [...]

  • Mueller Report Release Draws 11 Million

    Mueller Report Release Draws 11 Million Total Viewers Across TV News

    Coverage of the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report into whether President Donald Trump committed obstruction of justice unsurprisingly caused a ratings bump across TV news yesterday. In terms of overall viewership, around 11 million people tuned in to see Attorney General William Barr’s news conference regarding the report’s release, and the news coverage surrounding it. According [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content