HLN, a CNN sister network formally known as Headline News, will terminate all live programming as part of CNN’s ongoing layoffs and budget cuts.
CNN’s cost-cutting efforts mark the end of HLN’s live programming, such as “Morning Express with Robin Meade,” Fox News Digital has confirmed. HLN is expected to air a simulcast of CNN’s Don Lemon-centered morning show in its place.
Meade did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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The Atlanta-based Meade joined CNN’s sister station in 2001 and was billed as “the longest running anchor of a national morning TV news show.” HLN also featured a weekend edition of “Morning Express with Susan Hendricks,” and an expanded weekday edition of “Morning Express.” Those are also gone, according to a network source.
The once-prominent HLN has seen multiple changes and rebrands over the years and had essentially morphed into a true crime channel. Meade’s morning show and its weekend companion were some of the last remaining news programs for a channel previously known for its 24/7 news content and influential news ticker.
The cuts are part of wider cost-cutting measures under new parent company Warner Bros. Discovery, and CNN has also started slashing headcount.
In a memo to all CNN colleagues obtained by Fox News Digital on Wednesday, CEO Chris Licht described it as a “difficult time for everyone” and noted that the initial cuts would largely center around “paid contributors” and other staffers would find out their fates later in the week.
“Let’s take care of each other this week,” Licht wrote.
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Licht has admitted the moves are a “gut punch” and a CNN insider told Fox News Digital on Wednesday that “morale is as low as it’s ever been” at the company, as anxious staffers wonder about their job status. Some staffers even welcome the prospect of severance from the embattled network.
Licht, who took over CNN after the ousting of Jeff Zucker, was tasked by boss David Zaslav earlier this year with making a further $100 million in cuts as part of a broader Warner Bros. Discovery budget-slicing effort, according to a Puck report. Licht initially told staffers this summer that layoffs were not on the horizon, until Zaslav’s directive changed his plans.
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At a tense town hall on Nov. 15, Licht was asked by one employee whether he could be trusted again, given his earlier remarks about not anticipating layoffs. A CNN spokesman noted at the time that Licht also said in June that there would be an assessment of which resources should go where at CNN, and there could be “some changes there.”
Licht has already put his stamp on the network in less than a year on the job, scaling back CNN’s original programming and documentaries, dropping the ax on the short-lived streaming service CNN+ and moving Lemon from primetime to the new AM show, “CNN This Morning,” with co-hosts Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins. “Reliable Sources” anchor Brian Stelter and White House correspondent John Harwood, as well as legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, were also dropped by the network this year.
Fox News’ Nikolas Lanum contributed to this report.
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