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HLN Rebrands to Target 'Social Media Generation'

Under new chief Albie Hecht, the cable news network will shift its focus to trending news, viral events and emerging social media stars.

Albie Hecht 2009 - P 2013
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Albie Hecht

HLN on Monday announced a rebranding in which it aims to become "the first TV network for the social media generation."

On Monday, HLN said it will target "millennials and the millennial-minded" while curating the news across all platforms, with headlines being "ripped" from the most "plugged-in" sites and blogs. The network also said it will focus on trending news, viral events and other stories along with discovering emerging social media stars.

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"While others report on the conversation, HLN will be a part of it," HLN executive vp and general manager Albie Hecht said. "Just as MTV was adopted by a disconnected target audience that was underserved by television, HLN will be the first TV home to embrace the social media generation and champion its interests."

Hecht has been on a mission to remake the network since being installed last year by CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker. In December, the MTV and Spike TV veteran tapped a trio of executives with digital, rather than traditional television experience to reimagine the network as a destination for buzzy, breaking content. 

As part of its rebranding/reformatting, HLN has acquired the syndicated TV show RightThisMinute, which focuses on viral videos and the stories behind them. The show will make its HLN debut Monday, airing weeknights at 10-11 p.m. PT. RightThisMinute is produced by MagicDust Television and syndicated by MGM Domestic Television Distribution.

Shows in other genres -- including animation, reality, gaming and clip shows -- will be added to the schedule throughout the year, along with a new on-air look and hosts.

HLN's existing series including Morning Express With Robin Meade, News Now, Jane Velez-Mitchell, Nancy Grace and Dr. Drew on Call also will incorporate the new social media focus.

The move comes on the heels of Hecht's cancellation of Showbiz Tonight last week. He previously canceled daytime programs Evening Express, Now in America and Raising America