During the first two months following the Watts Family Murders in 2018, perhaps the best and most consistent mainstream coverage came from HLN’s Ashleigh Banfield. On October 16th, seemingly out of nowhere, Banfield was taken off the air and purged from HLN entirely.
The reason given was “political.”
“The current cable news landscape is dominated by politics. Our live news shows have not benefited from this trend given our story mix. In today’s news environment, every network has to focus on its strengths. To ensure HLN’s growth, we will shift some of our resources from live to longform programming and produce our live shows in as streamlined a manner as possible.” – CNN EVP/HLN executive vice president Ken Jautz, via an internal memo
Even if HLN’s coverage was competing for the same market, this move came as a blow to TCRS, CrimeRocket.com and the enormous audience following the Watts case. HLN and TCRS were actively researching and reporting on the developments in the Watts case, and at one point even discussed collaborating.
Below is a compilation of Ashleigh Banfield’s excellent coverage of the Watts case.
Crime & Justice with Ashleigh Banfield – Podcast
HLN Jettisons Ashleigh Banfield, Michaela Pereira, Carol Costello In Latest Better Idea – Deadline, October 16, 2018