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HLN has round of layoffs, shuts down shows including 'Evening Express'

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HLN, which recently hired a new boss, has laid off a round of employees this week and eliminated several shows, including one featuring Clark Howard.

New HLN executive vice president and general manager Albie Hecht sent out a memo earlier this week with the revised schedule, which mostly affects the day-time programming schedule. It takes effect Nov. 18. "Raising America with Kyra Phillips" has been dropped at noon in favor of a repeast of "Showbiz Tonight." Old episodes of ABC's program "What Would You Do?" will air at 5 p.m. with a new episode of "Show Biz Tonight" moving to 6 p.m. from 11 p.m. "Now in America" with Vinnie Politan at 4 p.m. is cut as well. The now expanded 1 to 5 p.m. "News Now" will feature some different anchors.

"While change is necessary to evolve HLN, it is also difficult," Hecht wrote. "A handful of our family members will be impacted by today's news."

A spokeswoman said she couldn't disclose how many employees are impacted.

The layoffs, said Howard, who left the network last week after five years, were quietly announced Monday but go into effect starting tomorrow.

He said he saw the direction of the network veering away from his news-you-can-use specialty and more toward crime and informed HLN in June that he didn't want his contract renewed when it ended Oct. 31.

"The network is trying to figure out what its purpose is," Howard said.

He enjoyed the time he worked there and liked the people but felt he wasn't able to serve his purpose well near the end of his run.

SpikeTV creator Hecht took over the HLN helm in early October, replacing Scot Safon.

Howard, who has a syndicated radio show that airs on AM750 and 95.5FM News/Talk WSB in the evenings, started at HLN in 2008 with a weekend show and provided news-you-can-use tidbits in the mornings on Robin Meade's "Morning Express."

For Howard, this is a boon for his family life. His younger son (eight) and daughter (14) get to spend more time with him and he gets to pick them up after school now, he said.

On Dec. , HLN is adding some health and wellness programming on weekends as well including a cooking show hosted by "Top Chef: All Stars" winner and Atlanta chef Richard Blais.

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