CNN's HLN Signs Joy Behar As New Host

Network's new 9 p.m. show replaces Lou Dobbs repeat
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CNN's HLN has signed The View co-host Joy Behar to a new show airing at 9 p.m. Titled, The Joy Behar Show, the comedian and talk show host will proffer her take on the day's news. The show will air seven days a week. According to a press release confirming the news, Behar's show, which will air opposite Larry King Live on CNN, will examine "water cooler issues that Americans are talking about every day."

B&C first broke news of HLN's plan to bring in new talent for 9 p.m. hour on Tuesday. Behar has been a regular on Larry King Live acting as both guest and stand-in. In a statement Behar said: "I'm an opinion freak - I love to offer my own and I love to hear other people's take on things - so this is a great opportunity for me." The show's executive producer is Conway Cliff. The new show is expected to launch in fall.

When asked if the move toward more opinion-based programming was an indication that TV viewers are showing more interest in point-of-view programming rather than the unvarnished news which CNN claims as its territory, Ken Jautz, executive VP CNN Worldwide with responsiblity for HLN, responded, "We're in a unique situation, we have two fully distributed networks and our mission is to strengthen and differentiate the two networks from one another. CNN is the comprehensive, smart, analytic, non-partisan line-up for news and HLN is opinion talk shows." He described them as a compliment to each other.

CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight is known for the host's strong opinions on everything from immigration to economic reform.

When asked about any changes at Dobbs' show, Jautz responded: "Lou is a mainstay of CNN...His show has become more news-driven and not focused on debate."

Joy Behar, a proud Democrat, will be allowed to discuss her political views, along with a host of other things, but Jautz said there were others within the HLN family with different political views. "I liken it to the Op-Ed part of the paper. Each show is a column; its about the columnist's opinion...We are interested in her [Joy's] ability to connect."

While Joy Behar will continue her duties on the show, it seems unlikely she'll continue to stand-in on Larry King Live. "There's no reason not to," said Jautz. "Though logistics might make it difficult," he added. King's show also airs at 9:00 p.m.

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