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Headline: CNN Adds Conservative Talker

Conservative radio personality Glenn Beck is joining CNN Headline News with a new prime time talk show starting in April.

Based in New York, the hour show will feature the pundit’s opinions on world news and pop culture, including commentary, guest interviews and produced pieces.

Since 2001, Beck has hosted the daily radio show The Glenn Beck Program, which is syndicated by Premiere Radio Networks.

He will continue hosting the show, which is heard on some 200 stations nationwide and ranks as the third-highest-rated show with adults in News’ 25-54 demo, behind Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.

Beck’s TV show becomes the fourth on Headline’s prime time schedule, Headline Prime, which the network retooled in February 2005.

For the first time in its 22-year history, Headline swapped out its hard-news wheel at night for Headline Prime’s three softer news programs: Showbiz Tonight, Prime News Tonight and the network’s ratings star, legal-analysis show Nancy Grace.

Grace helped Headline to ratings growth throughout the year. The net finished 2005 up 65% over last year in total viewers during prime, with an average audience of 350,000.

During fourth quarter, Headline was the only news network to see year-to-year gains in total viewing during prime, up 63% . The network was also up 33%  in News’ 25-54 demo. The other news networks were down from last year, when election coverage boosted audience sizes.

Due to the changes in prime, Headline notched its highest-viewed year in more than a decade in both prime and total day programming.