EXCLUSIVE: Nancy Dubuc is not wasting any time putting her stamp on A+E Networks. While she doesn’t officially transition into her new role as president and CEO of the company until June 1, I hear Dubuc already is working on plans for the brands. With A&E and History in top shape and Lifetime well into the rebuilding process, Dubuc is focusing her attention on the group’s next tier of networks, Bio, LMN and H2. As part of her turnaround plans, I’ve learned that veteran BBC executive Jana Bennett, who helped usher TLC into mainstream programming in the early 2000s, has been tapped to run LMN and Bio. (Dirk Hoogstra is in charge of H2.)
Bennett spent more than 30 years working for the BBC, most recently as president of worldwide networks and the global BBC iPlayer for the corporation’s commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, a position she held until departing late last year. In the US, Bennett is best known for her three-year stint as EVP and general manager of Discovery Communications’ then-The Learning Channel, where she shepherded the channel’s transformation and ratings growth by introducing reality and home makeover shows, some based on British formats, under the slogan Life Unscripted. They included such audience pleasers as Junkyard Wars and Trading Spaces. Bennett left in 2002 to return to London as director of BBC Television.