Ed Driscoll

CNN's Headline News Channel Heads Towards Cable Oblivion

“Victory! Headline News Is No Longer a Cable News Channel,” declares John Nolte of Big Journalism, the Website created by the late Andrew Breitbart and our own Michael Walsh:

For years, for 10 to 12 hours a day, I’ve monitored Headline News (HLN). Over time, again without really noticing, I’ve monitored it less and less. Now I don’t monitor it all because we’ve won — HLN is no longer a cable news channel.

What brought this victory to my attention was “Forensic Files,” a reality crime show I’ve been in love with for more than a decade. Since it’s been a while, I decided to watch the series again, and set my DVR accordingly. In less than three days, by Monday afternoon, I had nearly 60 half-hour episodes — all reruns of a show that went off the air in 2011, all recorded from Headline News (HLN).

Whoa, hey, what’s going on here?

Years ago, in half-hour blocks, HLN relentlessly drove and repeated its mother ship’s propaganda. No more. Headline News identifies itself today as a “national television network that focuses on the must-see, must-share stories of the day.”

With MSNBC and CNN, the ratings just couldn’t sustain yet-another left-wing, 24/7 cable news network covering all the same stories in all the same way. So *poof* HLN is gone, toast, over and done; and now it’s just another reality show channel with around 225,000 to 275,000 total viewers and the bare minimum of 100,000 demo viewers.

To understand how radical a shift this is, it helps to go back to the mid-to-late 1980s, when cable TV news came in only two flavors: CNN and Headline News. You went to Headline News for the AM news radio-style half-hour coverage of current events, and CNN for the “in-depth” (read: liberal talking points) coverage. Back then, Headline News prided itself on being the home of Lynne Russell, the first woman to anchor a news show on cable TV. These days, Russell is sounding the alarm over what has happened to her old home base:

Well, that audience has wondered that as well; that’s why they’ve tuned out. As Nolte writes, “One CNN cable news network down, one to go.”