updated 10/28/2004 2:36:20 PM ET 2004-10-28T18:36:20

CNN will shut down its struggling CNNfn financial news network in mid-December, giving up its attempt to compete with CNBC after nine years.

A handful of programs will be shifted to the main network.

CNN also told The Associated Press on Thursday that it’s planning changes for its Headline News offshoot, offering prime-time programming instead of a constantly repeating 30-minute newscast.

CNNfn is only available in about 30 million of the nation’s 110 million television homes. With the coming expiration of its deal with the DirecTV satellite system, it faced the prospect of losing more distribution.

It began in December 1995 when business, and business news, was hot. CNBC’s ratings plunged when the Internet bubble burst on Wall Street, and CNNfn failed to gain footing, too.

Management turmoil didn’t help: CNNfn’s biggest star, Lou Dobbs, left in 1999 and then returned in 2001. He’ll continue his program on the main network. CNNfn also announced in 2001 that it was changing the network’s name to CNN Money, but the idea was dropped after a management change.

It recently shifted focus away from Wall Street toward personal finance. Two of its programs — the real estate series “Open House” and “Dolans Unscripted,” a talk show with personal finance experts Ken and Daria Dolan — will move to the main network.

Other programs currently aired on CNNfn include “The Biz,” about the media and entertainment business, and “Market Call,” timed to the opening of the stock market. CNNfn repeats its daytime programming in prime time.

There was no immediate way of telling how many people watched CNNfn. Because of its limited distribution, it doesn’t get rated by Nielsen Media Research, CNN said.

Sixty jobs will be eliminated, but CNN said it will add about 100 new jobs across the company, many related to the Headline News plans.

In a memo to his staff, CNN chief executive Jim Walton said the move should not be seen as a statement on CNN’s financial health.

“Exponential growth in the television marketplace since CNNfn’s 1995 launch has made it challenging to grow distribution for many niche networks in today’s highly competitive marketplace,” Walton said.

Besides CNBC, CNNfn has also competed with Bloomberg TV, which airs some of its financial news on the USA network in the morning hours.

CNNfn is part of Time Warner Inc., while CNBC is owned by General Electric Co. (MSNBC is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC, which is a GE company.)

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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