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CNN sister channel HLN cancels three live shows including 'Michaela'

CNN sister channel HLN cancels three live shows including 'Michaela'
Michaela Pereira on the set for her daily news program, "Michaela," which will end its run on HLN later this month. (Harrison Hill / Los Angeles Times)

CNN is shutting down three live news programs on its sister channel HLN, which is increasing its dependence on true crime series and other taped shows.

The cancellations announced Tuesday include the daytime program hosted by Michaela Pereira, the former anchor for Los Angeles station KTLA. Pereira’s program “Michaela” has been produced out of CNN’s bureau in Hollywood since 2016.

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Pereira will leave CNN along with Carol Costello and Ashleigh Banfield, whose daily New York-based live programs were cut by the network as well, according to an HLN representative. “Michaela,” “Across America With Carol Costello,” and “Crime & Justice With Ashleigh Banfield,” will end on Oct. 26.

HLN, which was formerly known as CNN Headline News, added the live programs in 2016 as part of an effort to revamp the news channel. HLN attempted to be an alternative to the politics-heavy CNN, with a greater emphasis on human interest stories, consumer news, weather and sports.

But in the age of President Trump, politics is a major driver of cable news audiences, and HLN’s ratings have slumped as a result.

“The current cable news landscape is dominated by politics,” CNN Executive Vice President Ken Jautz said in a note to staff that announced the changes. “Our live news shows have not benefited from this trend, given our story mix.”

HLN’s daytime programs were doing poorly with viewers aged 25 to 54, the group advertisers seek most when buying commercials on news channels. On Friday, Nielsen data showed HLN drawing 42,000 viewers in the demographic from 9 to 5 p.m. Eastern, compared with 285,000 for Fox News Channel, 182,000 for CNN and 128,000 for MSNBC.

With the cancellation of “Michaela,” HLN will extend its daily morning program “Morning Express With Robin Meade” to six hours, running from 6 a.m. to noon Eastern. “Morning Express” is HLN’s most-watched program because of its strong appeal in markets outside of the East and West coasts.

HLN will also keep its live afternoon program “On the Story,” which airs from noon to 3 p.m. Eastern. Both programs are produced at CNN’s Atlanta headquarters.

HLN did not announce a new schedule. But Jautz noted that taped shows will start at 3 p.m. Eastern.

HLN has seen larger audiences with true crime and shows such as “Forensic Files,” “Something’s Killing Me” and “Beyond Reasonable Doubt.” Similar series will be added to the lineup, according to a CNN representative.

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