In what could be the first real clue about how ex-HLN head Ken Jautz plans to put his stamp on CNN, the cable channel announced on Wednesday that it will air a special edition of HLN’s “Showbiz Tonight” on CNN this weekend, featuring cast reunions for several classic movies and television shows.
The program, scheduled for Saturday at 10 p.m. (ET), will include cast reunions for the “Lord of The Rings,” “Pretty in Pink,” ”Back to the Future,” former NBC hits “The West Wing” and “Will and Grace,” and the “Roots” mini-series.
The "Special Edition of Showbiz Tonight: Entertainment Weekly’s Great Reunions" will be hosted by HLN’s AJ Hammer and Brooke Anderson.
The broadcast “will feature cast interviews and behind-the-scenes video from the reunion photo shoots” conducted by the magazine, which, like CNN, is owned by Time Warner. EW editorial staffers will contribute to the program as well.
The show will also air on HLN on Sunday, October 17 at 5:30 p.m. (ET).
There has already been plenty of speculation about a potential shift in tone for CNN since Jautz -- who made the former Headline News network a success with flashier, trashier fare -- took over for Jon Klein. And the speculation only figures to get louder as some of Klein's primetime projects, like the recently-launched "Parker Spitzer," tank in the ratings.
In an interview with TheWrap the day Jautz was announced as CNN’s president, I asked him if we’d start to see HLN programming cross over to CNN.
What about CNN's relationship with HLN? Will that change?
Our goal at HLN was to create a network that was different, differentiated from CNN. And that includes the audience, which was largely female and more pop-culture based. And it also meant, to a large extent, a different advertising base. We spent months and months of time launching and re-launching and creating [that differentiation] and I expect we’ll maintain that.
Perhaps this programming shift is merely weekend filler. Or maybe Jautz and co. are testing the waters for a pop culture play at CNN. Because, at least in its short existence, “Parker Spitzer” has failed to bring in an audience worth talking about.