Kevin Forest Moreau in Atlanta’s Sunday Paper has a profile of HLN morning anchor Robin Meade…
Cable news, in particular, has struck back by playing to one of its perennial strengths: the direct connection between personality and viewer. “We can get information from so many outlets now,” Meade concurs. “You can sit yourself in front of a computer, you can read the newspaper, you can download news to your iPod—the information can come through so many different ways. But the bottom line is, we’re all human, and we like that human contact, that personal connection. Otherwise, we would just read the Web and that would be it. But you still look to the TV for some type of connection.”
On the one hand, that’s meant the proliferation of more news-related shows steered largely by distinct individuals, usually of the domineering variety: Cue the raised voices and throbbing neck veins of Glenn Beck, Nancy Grace, Bill O’Reilly, et al. But it also points to a format that aims to deliver the news (as opposed to opinion) through the prism of a central personality. Need proof? Just take a quick glance at the roster of Headline News’ more famous older sibling, CNN: These days, it’s defined by names like Wolf Blitzer, Paula Zahn, Anderson Cooper and Lou Dobbs (and, well, Larry King).
“Robin & Company” occupies a unique position in that structure: Like those aforementioned shows, it’s got your eponymous host, a veteran news reporter and anchor who came up through the local-news ranks in Ohio, Miami and Illinois (where she won a regional Emmy for coverage of a collision between a train and a school bus). And its focus remains on the tight news bursts, regularly recycled, that define Headline News’ daytime lineup, as it has since Meade joined the network’s lineup in 2001.
But that approach is leavened by the familial interplay between Meade and her titular “Company”: Easygoing meteorologist Bob Van Dillen; affable, low-key sports anchor Will Selva; financial analyst Jennifer Westhoven; and energetic entertainment reporter Adrianna Costa.