Former MTV Networks programming executive Albie Hecht has been tapped to take over the HLN cable news network, CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker announced Wednesday.
As executive vice president and general manager, Hecht, who most recently was CEO of digital entertainment studio Worldwide Biggies, will oversee all aspects of HLN’s programming, management and day-to-day operations beginning Sept. 30, according to network officials.
Hecht takes over HLN from CNN/US executive vice president Ken Jautz, who headed HLN in the interim after former HLN head Scot Safon left the network in August.
HLN, formerly Headline News Network, ranks fourth in ratings among cable news networks behind Fox News, MSNBC and sister news network CNN. The network is coming off a strong summer performance, posting a 30% year-to-year ratings increase in averaging 424,000 total viewers.
“Albie is one of the most creative executives in our industry. His diverse experiences at Viacom gave him a keen understanding of cable television, where he created some of media’s most well-known brands and franchises. All of that, coupled with his lifelong passion for news and information, makes him the perfect fit for HLN,” said Zucker in a statement. “I wanted someone who could build off the strength that currently exists at HLN, which is enjoying one of its highest rated years ever, and evolve the network and its fast-growing digital properties even more.”
Hecht previously oversaw the rebranding of Nashville Network to men’s network Spike TV and before that was president of Nickelodeon Entertainment, overseeing the development of such kids-targeted hits as Spongebob Squarepants, Dora the Explorer and Blues Clues, as well as the creation of Nick’s Kids Choice Awards.
"Three key factors made the decision to join HLN easy: the opportunity to further evolve a noted brand, reinvent news in a digital age and work for Jeff, an industry giant," said Hecht in a statement. "Creating engaging and buzzed about content across multiple platforms is in my DNA, and I am excited to make magic with the talented team at HLN."