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HLN’s Coverage of the Chris Watts Case – Mid-August to Mid-October 2019

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, 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


  1. Sylvester

    I remember after the terrorists hijacked airplanes and flew them into the Twin Towers Ashleigh Banfield was one of the most thoughtful, comprehensive and compassionate news anchors to cover the tragedy. Then after weeks of coverage she was removed.

    • nickvdl

      Thanks for your comment Sylvester. I wonder what Ashleigh’s doing now?

  2. Sylvester

    According to her facebook page she is enjoying family time and has joined the board of the Red Cross Foundation. If there is an opportunity for her and it’s good enough I”m sure she’ll take it, or find a way to create her own show.

  3. nickvdl

    I wonder if she misses True Crime?

  4. Sylvester

    I would say so. That, and reporting.

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