EXCLUSIVE: My sources tell me that the announcement will come this week (probably tomorrow now that I’ve written this) that cabler Nancy Dubuc, the President of History (aka the History Channel), will officially take the reins of the recently flailing Lifetime Entertainment. This would have been announced sooner, I hear, but the outgoing Andrea Wong’s last day is Friday. Now the question for insiders is whether Dubuc will remain the head of History as well. My best guess is that, based on her strong performance there, the powers-that-be that rule over parent company A&E Television Networks (Abbe Raven, Disney/ABC’s Anne Sweeney, Hearst’s Scott Sassa, and NBC Universal’s Jeff Gaspin) will decide to give Nancy both turfs.
Back when A&E Television Networks in August acquired Lifetime Entertainment Services, I heard scuttlebutt even then that Wong would by replaced by Dubuc. Because in 3 years, Dubuc has made the “Hitler Channel” contemporary and even cool with such unscripted fare as Ice Road Truckers and Ax Men and Pawn Stars and the high-brow The People Speak. Before that, she did the same thing as head of programming at sister network A&E with Dog The Bounty Hunter and Growing Up Gotti. Most importantly, History had its best ratings ever in 2009, and made it into the top 10 basic cable channels in the key 25-to-54 advertising demo for the first time.
As a result, Dubuc became a highly sought-after rising star who’s been approached for most big primetime, cable, and broadcast gigs over the past 18 months — from Discovery networks, to NBC Universal, to Viacom networks, I’ve learned. She’s the package: programming savant, stellar marketer, and team player.” It took some time for the parent company to agree on what contract terms exactly to offer her.
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