After a seven-year stint at ITV Studios’ U.S. operation, Paul Buccieri, Chairman of the ITV Studios U.S. Group and ITV Studios Global Entertainment, is leaving the company to join A+E Networks where he will oversee A&E and History as president, reporting to Nancy Dubuc, President & CEO, A+E Networks. Effective next year, A&E and History EVPs and General Managers David McKillop and Dirk Hoogstra will report to Buccieri. Dubuc left the president position at A&E unfilled during the corporate restructuring last year, in which former A&E and Bio president Robert DeBitetto moved to A+E Studios.
Buccieri is in business with A&E as ITV Studios America owns Gurney Productions, producer of the network’s flagship series Duck Dynasty. With that series’ ratings sliding, A&E has been in need of a new breakout and a ratings turnaround. ITV Studios also owns Thinkfactory Media, the company behind History’s hit miniseries Hatfields & McCoys, as part of a string of acquisitions over the last couple of years.
“Paul and I have a longstanding professional relationship going back to our early programming days on some of A&E’s biggest hits,” Dubuc said. “He is one of those unique executives who brings both strong leadership skills and business acumen to the creative process.”
Buccieri comes from distribution background, which is considered one of his strongest suits. Distribution had been one of the areas at A+E Networks handled by outgoing A+E Networks chairman Abbe Raven, so Buccieri will likely assist Dubuc in that and possibly more on the business side. Dubuc is slated to take over additional responsibilities as her long-time mentor and business maven Raven retires from the company at the same time Buccieri comes on board.
ITVs had been on a buying spree over the past couple of years, acquiring a slew of production companies for very high premiums based largely on cash flow, which has raised eyebrows about the company’s long-term sustainability. Buccieri, who I hear was not fully supportive of the big spending, had been quietly sending out feelers for a new gig over the past year.