Officially, Nancy Dubuc has been president and CEO of A+E Networks for two days, but she’s already putting her stamp on the company, setting top executives for each of the brands and launching an in-house studio. Under the plan, Bob DeBitetto, General Manager of A&E Networks and BIO, will transition to a new role of head of A+E Studios with a title of President, Brand Strategy, Business Development. He will be succeeded at the helm of A&E by his top lieutenant, David McKillop, EVP Programming, who is adding a general manger title. Dirk Hoogstra, who was promoted to EVP Development and Programming for History and H2 just three months ago, will now add the title of General Manager for the two channels. And as Dubuc moves away from day-to-day oversight of the networks to focus on her role as CEO, Lifetime’s EVP programming Robert Sharenow also is adding general manager responsibilities. Additionally, A+E Networks has officially tapped veteran BBC executive Jana Bennett to run LMN and Bio as president.
“These are the people who have led their teams to some of the biggest successes on television over the last two years, including Hatfields & McCoys, The Bible, Vikings, Duck Dynasty, Bates Motel, Storage Wars, Dance Moms, Client List and Steel Magnolias,” >Dubuc said. “I have had the honor to work with Bob, David, Rob and Dirk for a many years, and am thrilled that we are continuing this journey together. And I couldn’t be more excited that Jana is joining A+E Networks. She is an experienced industry veteran who knows how to build and grow brands and create long-running franchises.”
In addition to overseeing A+E Studios, which will create content across all networks and platforms, DeBitetto will shepherd cross-network brand strategy pertaining to A+E Networks’ corporate initiatives and business development. He also will continue to oversee the award-winning feature documentary unit, A&E IndieFilms. Hoogstra, McKillop and Sharenow will be responsible for strategic planning, programming and development of their respective networks. The Marketing and Brand Development teams will now report directly to them. Here is background information on all of Dubuc’s top executives from the company’s press release:
Under DeBitetto’s leadership, A&E has been transformed into a perennial top ten network. In 2008, DeBitetto spearheaded the development and implementation of a comprehensive multi-platform positioning of the A&E brand around ‘Real Life. Drama.®’ His strategy to welcome younger viewers to A&E has doubled the size of the audience in the network’s target demographics and radically decreased the network’s median age. A&E had its best delivery in network history in 2012 among total viewers. 2012 also marked an astonishing ninth straight year of growth among the key adult 25-54 demographic, the longest growth streak in television.
Dirk Hoogstra was previously Executive Vice President, Development and Programming, for HISTORY® and H2™ overseeing those networks’ programming teams, and managing the development, creation and execution of all programming for HISTORY and H2. Prior to that he served as Senior Vice President, Development and Programming for HISTORY since 2010. Hoogstra joined the network in 2007 as Vice President. Hoogstra began his career with Discovery Communications Inc. in 1995. Under his leadership, HISTORY is the #1 factual brand and top five cable network across the key adults 18-49 and 25-54. And, in just 18 months, he has transformed H2 into the #1 emerging entertainment network. In 2012, under his leadership, HISTORY launched into scripted programming. Most recently, he served as an executive producer of The Bible, which premiered as the # 1 cable entertainment telecast of the year, and oversaw Vikings; HISTORY’s first scripted series, which debuted as the #1 scripted series of the year. Hoogstra was an executive producer on the network’s first scripted mini-series Hatfields & McCoys which shattered ad-supported cable records and went on to earn five Emmy® Awards.
McKillop served as Executive Vice President, Programming, for A&E & bio. channels since April 2011, overseeing the network’s Scripted and Non-Fiction programming teams, and was responsible for the development, creation and execution of all programming for A&E and bio. Previously, David was Senior Vice President, Development and Programming at HISTORY. While at A&E, McKillop played an integral role in developing the current #1 nonfiction series on cable; Duck Dynasty, which is A&E’s highest rated series of all time. In addition to Duck Dynasty, McKillop also serves as executive producer for the record-breaking hit series Storage Wars as well as oversees the production and development of the critically-acclaimed original scripted drama series Bates Motel. Previously, David was Senior Vice President, Development and Programming at HISTORY. Under his tutelage, HISTORY experienced its best ratings performances at that time as he launched the network’s top 10 series and top six specials.
Sharenow was previously Executive Vice President of Programming of the Lifetime networks since March 2011. In his role, he spearheaded all programming activities for Lifetime’s scripted and reality series, as well as its original movies. Prior to joining Lifetime, Sharenow was Senior Vice President of Non-Fiction & Alternative Programming at A&E, where he was responsible for supervising the development and creation of all of A&E’s non-fiction programming, including its signature real-life series, justice franchises, critically-acclaimed documentary series, A&E IndieFilms, lifestyle programming and marquee specials. He also oversaw original program development for bio.
Under Sharenow’s leadership, Lifetime has had much success with its scripted series including the hit drama The Client List; Army Wives, the network’s most watched series ever currently in its seventh season; the critically-acclaimed comedic drama Drop Dead Diva; and new series, Witches of East End, starring Julia Ormond, Jenna Dewan-Tatum, Rachel Boston and Mädchen Amick. Upcoming is the much anticipated Devious Maids, from executive producers Marc Cherry and Eva Longoria. He also oversees Lifetime’s unscripted series, the Emmy® Award-nominated Project Runway; Project Runway All Stars, and the hit docusoap Dance Moms. A longtime leader in longform, Lifetime is also the number one ad-supported cable network for original movies among Women. The October 7, 2012, world premiere of the Lifetime Original Movie Steel Magnolias averaged 6.5 million Total Viewers, becoming the network’s third most-watched original telecast ever.
In her new position with A+E Networks, Bennett will oversee the development, strategies, marketing and brand development for bio. and LMN, two networks that are already tracking incredible growth. Prior to joining A+E Networks, Bennett was President, BBC worldwide networks & global BBC iPlayer at BBC Worldwide. Previously Bennett was Director, BBC Vision/Television. Bennett also held the position of EVP/GM, TLC Network and Discovery Pictures. In her role with the BBC, Bennett determined the shape of BBC television and related online services in the UK and international markets over the last 10 years, and ensured channels achieved market leadership positions in all categories. While at TLC, Bennett launched hit series, Trading Spaces; What Not to Wear; Junkyard Wars; and Street Magic.