EXCLUSIVE: I hear that A+E Networks has finalized a plan to launch an in-house studio for scripted and unscripted programming. It will be run by Bob DeBitetto, who will be leaving his post as president and General Manager of A&E Networks and BIO to head the new entity. I hear the move is part of a company-wide restructuring by newly named president and CEO Nancy Dubuc, which also includes the hire of veteran BBC executive Jana Bennett to run LMN and Bio, which we reported last month. I hear the announcement will be made later today.
Launching an in-house production company has been a long-time goal for A+E Networks, with DeBitetto among the top proponents of the idea. The studio will allow the company to work closer with talent and the creative community. Under DeBitetto, A&E has been on fire lately, with the success of Duck Dynasty and new drama Bates Motel. DeBitetto has experience running a cable network’s production company. Before joining A&E in 2003, he served as TNT’s President of Original Programming, where he also ran Turner’s Los Angeles–based production studio. Additionally, he worked in feature production early in his career, and at A&E, he founded and oversees A&E IndieFilms, the network’s documentary feature film division, which has earned two Oscar nominations in its first five years.