HLN Chief Albie Hecht Hires Three to Lead Network's Transformation

8:18 AM PST 12/16/2013 by Marisa Guthrie
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Albie Hecht

Former BET news and public affairs executive Keith Brown will have oversight of programming, newsgathering and on-air talent.

HLN executive vp and general manager Albie Hecht has tapped multiple top programming executives to help lead the network's transformation.

Keith Brown, former senior vp news and public affairs at Viacom-owned BET, has been named senior vp programming. Reporting to Hecht, Brown will oversee current daytime and primetime series as well as editorial, newsgathering, scheduling, media planning, acquisitions and on-air talent.

After leaving BET, Brown started his own production company, Perez-Brown Media, where he produced multiple seasons of The Root 100, which aired on Magic Johnson's Aspire TV.

Kari Kim has been named vp program development, and Adrienne Lopez has been tapped as director of special projects. Brown is the only one of the three new hires with traditional TV news experience. Kim comes to HLN with extensive background in digital content, developing digital programming for Nickelodeon, Spike, Disney Interactive and BBC America. She was vp production and development at Worldwide Biggies, the digital studio that Hecht ran before jumping to HLN in September. Lopez – a veteran of Nickelodeon, where she was vp talent and casting – will have oversight of booking and talent relations. She also will serve as the production executive on special projects.

All three executives will be based in New York. Kim will report to Hecht, and Lopez will report to Brown.

"Marrying the talented trio of Keith, Kari and Adrienne to the dynamic HLN team creates a powerful force that will no doubt catapult the network’s brand evolution and invigorate programming,” Hecht said in a statement announcing the hires.

HLN, like its sister network CNN, is in the midst of a transformation since the arrival nearly a year ago of Jeff Zucker as president of CNN Worldwide. HLN has achieved ratings success with wall-to-wall coverage of sensational trials. But Zucker has noted that such programming does not amount to a sustainable programming strategy. Hecht, who had a long career at Nickelodeon and was a founder of Viacom's male-targeted Spike, already has axed multiple shows from the HLN schedule, including Evening Express and Now in America. And there are more changes to come.

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