Headline News changing name

Network to be known as HLN

NEW YORK -- At the end of what will be a record year for viewership, Headline News is getting a name change.

The 26-year-old news channel will be known as HLN. It follows in the footsteps of such other Turner Broadcasting networks as TBS, TNT and, of course, CNN. Along with the new moniker, the channel is getting a new logo and slogan: "News and Views."

CNN Worldwide executive vp Ken Jautz said Wednesday that the channel is acknowledging that it has evolved beyond the headlines-every-hour format that marked its first two decades or so. Since 2005, Headline News has been, at least in primetime, more like cable channels MSNBC and Fox News Channel in programming talk shows. Nancy Grace has had her own 8 p.m. program for the past three years, and Glenn Beck held the 7 p.m. slot for two years before he left for Fox News Channel.

"We feel (the tagline and name change) is more representative of what the channel has become in primetime," Jautz said.

When the network changed its primetime lineup, breaking with the traditional news wheel, it was the biggest format change for a CNN network in history. It also includes a rebroadcast of "Lou Dobbs Tonight," a talk show by Jane Velez-Mitchell and "Showbiz Tonight."

Jautz said the mission of HLN in primetime is to be different from CNN. It's something that the channel has stuck with, even in the face of the heavy interest in the presidential campaign that lifted the ratings of every cable news channel. That's why on debate and primary nights, Headline News hewed to its regularly scheduled programming -- and did well.

HLN ratings in total day are up 15% in viewers and 17% in adults 25-54 compared with a year ago, Nielsen Media Research said. Primetime ratings are up 25% in viewership and 26% in the demo.

"Nancy Grace" led the way with ratings growth of 35% in viewership compared with 2007. On Dec. 11, the show had its best viewership ever -- 2.4 million -- connected to the Caylee Anthony case in Florida. "Showbiz Tonight" is also up by single digits in its 11 p.m. ET time slot.

"The strength isn't one show or another," Jautz said. "The growth of the network has been across the board."

At the same time, the network is beefing up its weekend programming schedule with a new program on personal finance from radio talk show host Clark Howard. HLN will run two half-hour programs from Howard on the weekends, a mix of his radio show and segments produced especially for TV. The new show begins in January.

"It's appropriate for the times," Jautz said.