HLN Plans Blanket Coverage of Michael Jackson Doctor Trial Like in Casey Anthony Case

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The cable news network had its highest rating in its 29-year history when the Anthony verdict was read.

NEW YORK - Cable news network HLN is focusing on live news coverage and evening talk shows about the trial of the doctor accused of involuntary manslaughter in Michael Jackson's death to provide blanket coverage that brought it success in the trial of Casey Anthony in the spring, the New York Times reported.

The Time Warner-owned cable news channel is re-orienting its daytime schedule for the trial of Conrad Murray in an attempt to repeat the ratings success, which brought it its highest rating in its 29-year history when the verdict was read, and offer gavel-to-gavel coverage. In a sign of its focus, on Tuesday morning, HLN featured a countdown clock to the 11:45am ET opening statements, according to the Times.

Taking things a step further for the Murray trial, HLN is replacing its usual crew of daytime anchors with legal news veterans, such as former Court TV anchor Vinnie Politan and Jackson expert Jane Velez-Mitchell, it said.

An HLN spokeswoman told the Times that the network's usual daytime anchors would be back after the trial.

Nancy Grace, who played a key role on HLN during its coverage of the Casey Anthony trial, won't have a major role this time as she is competing on ABC’s Dancing With the Stars, the Times said.

After the trial's proceedings wrap up around 7pm ET each day, all of HLN’s evening shows will focus on the Murray trial.

There will also be cross-pollination with sister network CNN as medical expert Dr. Sanjay Gupta will make an HLN appearance, for example.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai