Albie Hecht Named Head of HLN
Albie Hecht has been named executive vp and GM of HLN. The announcement came Wednesday from CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker. The appointment is effective Sept. 30.
A veteran of MTV Networks, Hecht founded Spike TV and also did a stint as president of Nickelodeon Entertainment. He is currently the CEO of Worldwide Biggies, a digital entertainment studio.
HLN has been riding a wave of ratings success with high-profile trials including those of Dr. Conrad Murray, Jodi Arias and George Zimmerman. As HLN’s new leader, Hecht will oversee all aspects of HLN’s programming, management and day-to-day operations, as well as HLNtv.com. He will be based in New York and report to Zucker. He replaces Scot Safon, who departed the company last August after 22 years there. Ken Jautz, head of CNN/U.S., who was formerly HLN's executive vp, has been running the day-to-day at HLN in the interim.
"Albie is one of the most creative executives in our industry," said Zucker in a statement. "His diverse experiences at Viacom gave him a keen understanding of cable television, where he created some of media’s most well known brands and franchises. All of that, coupled with his lifelong passion for news and information, makes him the perfect fit for HLN. I wanted someone who could build off the strength that currently exists at HLN, which is enjoying one of its highest rated years ever, and evolve the network and its fast-growing digital properties even more."
"Three key factors made the decision to join HLN easy: the opportunity to further evolve a noted brand, reinvent news in a digital age and work for Jeff, an industry giant," added Hecht. "Creating engaging and buzzed-about content across multiple platforms is in my DNA, and I am excited to make magic with the talented team at HLN."
Hecht is something of an out-of-the-box choice to lead HLN. He does not have any traditional TV news experience, though he did produce documentaries through his nonprofit Shine Global. But he is well-versed in the multi-platform approach that is baked in at millennial networks such as MTV and Nickelodeon. He also led the successful rebranding of the Nashville Network to the male-targeted Spike and brought ratings hit Ultimate Fighting Championship to the network. At Nickelodeon he oversaw the development of some of the network's most successful series and films including SpongeBob Squarepants, Dora the Explorer, Blue's Clues, All That, The Rugrats Movie and Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius.