Kristina Fitzpatrick reports for Morning Express

With Morning Express pop culture contributor Melissa Knowles off the air for maternity leave, HLN seems to have added another correspondent to the popular HLN morning show while Knowles is gone.

Kristina Fitzpatrick, who has appeared periodically on the network’s Weekend Express, reporting on sports during the Bleacher Report, is now reporting the pop and trending news weekdays, like Knowles did.

She is an experienced sports reporter, having worked as a sideline reporter for Fox Sports, CBS, and others.

Robin Meade returns to HLN following cornea infection

After being off of HLN’s Morning Express for about a week, longtime anchor Robin Meade is returning to the program. As she explained on Facebook, she had a cornea ulcer that is “as painful as it sounds” and it kept her from anchoring the news.

Tuesday morning, she’ll be back — “Robin ‘Shades’ Meade'” no more, after being cleared by her physician.

Morning Express expands an hour, reducing Michaela to two hours

Morning Express with Robin Meade is expanding, and Michaela, hosted by former CNN anchor Michaela Periera, is being reduced, by an hour.

Pereira’s morning news program, which originates from Los Angeles, took two hours from Meade when she joined HLN. MXP aired live from 6am-10am, and aired two hours of repeats of earlier hours from 10am-noon ET. But when Pereira joined the lineup, her program aired from 10am-1pm ET.

Now, TVNewser reports that HLN has cut Michaela back an hour; it will now begin at 11am and run until 1pm ET, beginning on Monday.

At 10am, HLN will air an extra hour of Morning Express, with some live bits and some taped segments.

Robin Meade turns to Charlie’s Angels for Halloween

As has become customary on Morning Express, the team dressed up for Halloween.

HLN anchors Robin Meade, Jennifer Westhoven, Melissa Knowles, Bob Van Dillen, Coy Wire and Hines Ward all played various parts of their re-enactment of Charlie’s Angel.

CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer played the part of Charlie; he also participated in Morning Express‘s 2015 Halloween get-up.

Robin Meade to perform National Anthem at NASCAR race

This Sunday, February 28, HLN’s Morning Express anchor Robin Meade will be performing the National Anthem at a NASCAR race at the Atlanta Motor Speedway.

In addition to performing, fans will have the opportunity to meet Meade at 9:40am on Sunday.

Earlier this month when she announced she would be performing the National Anthem at the Atlanta Motor Speedway, she had on her show NASCAR racer Kyle Busch, who offered up some advice for her ahead of her performance: “Just leave it original.”

Of course Robin Meade wants a toilet — and why shouldn’t she?

It’s only natural (literally) that HLN anchor Robin Meade wants a toilet in Studio 7, the home to Morning Express for the past year.

Morning Express is the number two-rated morning cable news show, so why shouldn’t CNN brass do all it takes to keep Meade happy? And given that previously, there was a bathroom facility nearby when she hosted out of Studio H, it only makes sense that she would like a bathroom facility near Studio 7 as well.

Her show is, after all, live for 4 hours — the longest live program out of Studio 7 in recent memory.

A CNN insider complained to the New York Post’s Page Six about the $100,000 toilet, citing the restructuring of the international desk, that I first reported. “Staff have been told there will be least 40 layoffs at the CNN International assignment desk. All desk editors have 30 days to reapply for their jobs. They want to move some of those jobs to Hong Kong and London. But just a year ago, they laid off those same positions in London and Hong Kong. Meanwhile, Robin is getting a new, $100,000 luxury latrine.”

As a defender of Meade’s pointed out to the Post, however, “Robin and those on her show currently have to run to a bathroom that is down the hall on another floor. A 2¹/₂-minute break often isn’t long enough to make it back to the set.”

As shown in the clip above (beginning about 2:40), Meade often had to run in order to make it back to her show in time, and was only given two bathroom breaks in the 4-hour rolling news period.

A CNN rep told the Post, “Robin inquired about building a bathroom closer to the studio to benefit the team that does a four-hour live show every day. The estimate has no correlation to other company matters.”

So… Keep Meade happy. Give her the toilet, I say.

Brian McFayden out at HLN

Brian McFayden, the sports correspondent for Morning Express with Robin Meade, has parted with HLN. McFayden officially joined the team in March 2014 after freelancing with the network for a stint beforehand.

In a statement to CNN Commentary, an HLN spokesperson said, “Brian McFayden left the network to pursue other opportunities.”

“We are grateful for his contributions to HLN and The Bleacher Report and wish him well in his future endeavors.”

Earlier this month, HLN anchor Ali Nejad also left the network after HLN general manager Albie Hecht left and Ken Jautz took back over.

Morning Sunshine? Er, maybe not

HLN meteorologist Bob Van Dillen took advantage of the fact HLN anchor Robin Meade is off this week from Morning Express.

He began his weather forecast, “I usually don’t say Robin Meade is wrong, but she is this morning — that’s Atlanta. Morning sunshine?”

“Morning cloudshine,” substitute anchor Lynn Smith suggested playfully.

Van Dillen then vandalized one of Meade’s new billboards, promoting the morning show.

He tweeted, “I’m probably gonna hear about this one when Robin Meade gets back.”