A&E Networks, revving up for its first ever triple-cast, of new four-hour two-night miniseries Bonnie & Clyde, announced today it had lined up six “premium sponsors” on the project — including the 20th Century Fox release of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, as well as, ironically, Match.com, plus Jeep Cherokee which will use the time to position itself as the “ultimate escape vehicle.”
Lifetime, A&E and History channels will simulcast the miniseries starting Sunday, December 8 at 9 PM ET. Emile Hirsch (Into the Wild) and Holliday Grainger (The Borgias) star in the title roles of Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker, the infamous Depression-era outlaw couple; the cast also includes Holly Hunter (The Piano) and William Hurt (Too Big to Fail).
From today’s announcement: Read More »
A&E Network has added two programming execs to its ranks. Former Fox TV Studios Scripted Programming VP Gabriel Marano is joining the network’s West Coast-based scripted department as VP Drama Programming, and Dave Mace is coming aboard the East Coast-based non-fiction department as VP Non-fiction & Alternative Programming. At FtvS, Marano oversaw the development and production of the studio’s scripted cable series including The Americans, The Killing, Burn Notice and the upcoming Maron. At A&E he will report to SVP Drama Programming Tana Nugent Jamieson and help shepherd new pilots as well as the network’s slate of original scripted dramas including The Glades, Longmire and Bates Hotel. Mace, previously at MTV Networks as SVP VH1 Creative Lab and before that VP Original Programming at Logo, will report to A&E SVP Non-fiction & Alternative Programming Elaine Frontain Bryant and be tasked with developing new original non-fiction series ideas for the network.
Steel Magnolias, the TV movie based on the blockbuster film, was announced with much fanfare by Sony Pictures Television, Lifetime Entertainment, and A&E Television Networks. Now Victoria White, who was an executive producer on the movie, is suing all three over the TV series saying she was never contacted regarding her rights in the property. She is charging breach of contract, good faith, fair dealing, and is seeking injunctive relief before the October 7th debut. She also wants screen credits, fees, and a portion of net profits. Read the lawsuit here. Lifetime’s remake of the 1989 feature film stars Queen Latifah, Alfre Woodard, Phylicia Rashad, Jill Scott, Adepero Oduye and Rashad’s daughter Condola Rashad star.
Related: Lifetime To Remake ‘Steel Magnolias’ With All-Black Cast
Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer mentioned the arrangement so matter-of-factly in his conference call with analysts this morning that I almost missed the fact that this is brand new: Beginning in January the studio will handle domestic distribution of DVD and Blu-ray discs for about 2,000 original shows and movies from A&E, Lifetime, and the History Channel as well as programming from A&E’s partnerships with Major League Baseball and Monty Python’s Flying Circus. The arrangement brings Lionsgate’s video distribution library to 15,000 movies and TV episodes with titles including the 1995 Pride and Prejudice mini-series starring Colin Firth, Homicide: Life On The Street, reality shows such as Storage Wars, Shipping Wars, and Duck Dynasty, and MLB’s annual World Series film. The titles had been handled by New Video Group, which was recently acquired by Cinedigm. The company says that it’s concentrating on digital distribution and decided that handling the discs “did not make strategic or financial sense for us.” Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: A&E is releasing this trailer into theaters beginning today to promote its two-night movie Coma, based on the Robin Cook novel and the spooky 1978 film starring Michael Douglas and Geneviève Bujold written and directed by Michael Crichton. This one stars James Woods, Geena Davis, Richard Dreyfuss, Ellen Burstyn, Lauren Ambrose and Stephen Pasquale in the story of a med student who uncovers some sinister goings-on at her hospital when otherwise healthy patients start dying during routine surgery. Here’s a first look at the production of the movie, which will air on the network September 3-4:
A&E Network is checking into Bates Motel without even ordering a pilot, it was announced today. The network is putting in a 10-episode order of the Alfred Hitchcock Psycho-inspired series from Universal Television, with a 2013 premiere planned. Carlton Cuse and Kerry Ehrin will serve as executive producers. Cuse wrote almost three dozen episodes of Lost and served as executive produce on the show. Ehrin was a writer and producer recently on Parenthood and Friday Night Lights. Roy Lee, John Middleton Jr, and producer Mark Wolper originally put Bates Motel together. As A&E announced earlier this year, the series goes into the story before Psycho. With a contemporary touch, Bates Motel looks at the twisted relationship between serial killer-to-be Norman Bates and his mother Norma.
The Season 3 premiere of A&E’s drama The Glades will premiere Sunday, June 3 at 9 PM and will be followed at 10 by the series premiere of the scripted drama Longmire. The new series, based on Craig Johnson’s Walt Longmire mystery novels, stars Robert Taylor as the sheriff of a Wyoming town and will feature 10 one-hour episodes.
Dan Silberman has been promoted to SVP Publicity at A&E Network and Bio Channel, where he will be responsible for corporate and trade communication strategy and oversee all program-based consumer press efforts, talent relations and awards strategy for a portfolio of cable networks including A&E Network, Bio Channel and the Crime & Investigation Network, as well as the feature documentary unit A&E IndieFilms. He will continue to report to A&E Network and Bio Channel GM Bob DeBitetto.
A&E Television Networks has appointed new heads of programming for its top 3 nets: Lifetime, A&E and History, all coming from within the company.
A&E Network’s SVP programming Robert Sharenow will be moving to Lifetime where he will serve as EVP programming. He succeeds JoAnn Alfano, who recently left the women-centered cable network. It is interesting to see a man in the top Lifetime programming position traditionally occupied by women. But then his new boss, Lifetime and History president Nancy Dubuc, has been behind the rise of testosterone-heavy History. At A&E, Sharenow oversaw the development and creation of all of the network’s non-fiction programming, including the network’s signature real-life series, as well as original program development for the BIO Channel.
David McKillop, SVP development and programming for History, will now become EVP programming for A&E, reporting to Bob DeBitetto, president of A&E Network and BIO. At History, McKillop has overseen the network’s programming team since 2007.
And Dirk Hoogstra, VP development and programming at History, has been upped to SVP programming for the channel. Like Sharenow, he will report to Dubuc. Hoogstra has held the VP position at History since 2007.
“These … Read More »
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.
Nancy Dubuc‘s star continues to rise at A+E Networks. After adding Lifetime to her History purview following the female-centered network’s 2010 acquisition, Dubuc is now expanding even further her portfolio and will oversee all A+E Networks — including A&E Network and BIO. Her new title is President, Entertainment and Media, A+E Networks. Bob DeBitetto, President and General Manager of A&E Network and BIO, and EVPs Dan Suratt and Steve Ronson will now report to her. Once A+E Networks’ flagship network, A&E has been overtaken in the ratings by upstart History, which has been on an upswing, finishing last year as the fifth-most-watched basic cable network. Meanwhile, after some growing pains, Lifetime has started to move the ratings needle in a positive direction, up year-to-year in total viewers and all key demos. Here is the release: Read More »
At A&E Television Networks‘ upfront presentation in New York, which is going on right now, the company’s president and CEO Abbe Raven spiced up her speech to advertisers with some snipes at competing networks, including TBS, Discovery Channel, TLC and TruTV. In her remarks, Raven made the point that “if you look at just original programming on cable, A+E Networks is the most-watched versus any other cable group.” Without that asterisk, A&E TV Networks, which includes channels A&E, History and Lifetime, is running behind the Turner networks. “We are almost at 100% percent original programming in primetime across most of our core brands. We are not following the Big Bang strategy where 75% percent of the schedule is off broadcast programming,” Raven said, a reference to TBS’ recent ratings success with reruns of CBS’ The Big Bang Theory.
Raven next called out the cable networks who have launched reality shows with concepts closely resembling such as A&E and History hits as Storage Wars, Pawn Stars and Hoarders: TruTV’s Hardcore Pawn and Storage Hunters, Discovery Channel’s Auction Kings and TLC’s Hoarding: Buried Alive. “Our integrity and respect for the creative community does not allow us to even think of copying other networks’ shows,” she said. “We have too much reverence for our brands to become a clone of other networks. We do not want the 25th generation of the Pawn and Storage shows like TLC, Tru or Discovery. We want … Read More »
It took awhile but A&E and Warner Horizon finally closed a deal for a 10-episode third season of the network’s most-watched drama series ever, Longmire. The announcement comes after Longmire executive producer John Coveny tweeted back in August, shortly after the series’ second-season finale: “The call just came: SEASON 3 for is a GO!.” In its second season, Longmire averaged 3.7 million total viewers with the season finale episode August 26 delivering a season high of 4.4 million total viewers. “Longmire has become one of the most compelling dramas on television with a devoted audience and we are so proud of the show,” said A&E GM David McKillop. Read More »
A&E announced today it will premiere its latest homage to the Wahlberg brothers on January 22; Wahlburgers will show brothers Mark and Donnie heading back to Boston to join forces with brother Paul in a hamburger restaurant that’s already working on its second location, and serves as home base for the gang from the old neighborhood, including, A&E says, the real Johnny “Drama” Alves, Henry “Nacho” Laun, Mark’s chidhood pal Billy Leonard, and family matriarch Alma.
This is not to be confused with the teamsters reality-series pilot A&E had ordered from Mark Wahlberg, the Boston-set six-episode reality series about four female friends struggling to break through their blue-collar surroundings that A&E ordered from Mark Wahlberg, or Donnie Wahlberg’s reality series Boston Finest that somehow escaped A&E’s notice and wound up on TNT.
“We’re thrilled to partner with the entire Wahlberg family as they graciously lift the curtain to share this new side of their story,” said A&E exec vp and GM David McKillop of the series, on which Mark and Donnie Wahlberg are among the executive producers.
Wahlburgers is produced for A&E Networks by 44 Blue Productions, in association with Closest to the Hole Productions, Leverage Entertainment and Donnie D Productions. In addition to the two Wahlberg’s Stephen Levinson is exec producing. For 44 Blue Productions, exec producers are Rasha Drachkovitch and Jym Buss. Executive Producers for A&E are Lily Neumeyer and Devon Graham.
A&E Network announced today it will roll out a new brand identity and new tagline: “Be Original” on December 11, during its Duck Dynasty Christmas special. In its announcement, the network noted its programming is 100% original in primetime — compared to, say, USA Network (11% original), TNT (20% original), FX (14% original) and TBS (7% original). “As the A&E brand continues to evolve, it has become increasingly important to let both the consumer and trade know what A&E stands for,” said Guy Slattery, EVP Marketing, A&E Network. “Our new tagline embodies who we are and not just what we do,” chimed in David McKillop, General Manager & EVP of A&E Network. “From Duck Dynasty to Bates Motel, we are 100% original with the most unique characters and content in television. ‘Be Original’ is much more than a tagline, it’s a rallying cry for our programmers and marketers to always take creative risks, perpetually innovate, inspire and engage the next generation of viewers.” Wish we had a buck….
Anyway, see if you can remember which networks had these taglines: Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Hit French series The Returned (Les Revenants) is getting an American remake. A&E Network has nabbed rights to the supernatural/suspense drama, which will be developed as a co-production between A+E Studios and FremantleMedia North America. There is no writer in place but I hear the network is in discussions with Carlton Cuse, executive producer/co-showrunner of A&E’s breakout hit Bates Motel to take on the adaptation.
Created by Fabrice Gobert, Les Revenants was inspired by the 2004 feature film by the same name directed by Robin Campillo (English-language title They Came Back). It focuses on a small town that is turned upside down when several local people who have been long presumed dead suddenly reappear, having not aged and unaware of their own fatality. As they attempt to resume their lives, strange phenomena and gruesome murders begin to occur. “The Returned takes an incredibly unique approach, filled with suspense and twists and turns, to the subject of the living dead,” said A&E’s EVP and general manager David McKillop. Added FMNA CEO Thom Beers, “Having seen Fabrice Gobert’s original version and the success the series has had in France, we’re thrilled to be partnering with the team at A+E to bring this enigmatic thriller to U.S. audiences.” Read More »
The four-hour two-part Bonnie & Clyde mini is set to air Sunday, December 8th and Monday, December 9th at 9 PM simultaneously on A&E, Lifetime and History. Emile Hirsch (Into The Wild) and Holliday Grainger (The Borgias) star in the title roles of outlaw couple Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker. The killer cast also includes Holly Hunter as Bonnie’s mother, Emma Parker, and William Hurt as Frank Hamer, the Texas Ranger pursuing the Barrow gang. Bonnie & Clyde follows Barrow, Parker and the notorious Barrow Gang as they sweep through the Central and Southern United States committing small-time robberies and daring bank heists, leaving murdered police officers and civilians in their wake. Cast also includes include Sarah Hyland (Modern Family), Lane Garrison (Prison Break), Elizabeth Reaser (The Twilight Saga), Austin Hebert (True Blood) and Dale Dickey (Winter’s Bone). The miniseries is produced by Sony Pictures Television and executive produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. John Rice and Joe Batteer penned the script and Oscar-nominated Bruce Beresford (Driving Miss Daisy, Tender Mercies, Breaker Morant) directed.
Jay McGraw and Dr. Phil McGraw are executive producers on The Marriage Test, a 90-minute special that explores the troubled relationships of four couples who agree to live together under one roof for seven days of in-depth counseling to try to save their marriages. A&E Network will premiere the special1 at 10 PM September 2 as a backdoor pilot. Led by husband-and-wife marriage coaches Will Craig and Laurie Gerber, the couples take part in a series of exercises that include individual and group therapy sessions all aimed at salvaging their troubled unions. At the end of the week, each twosome will have to decide whether recommit and stay together and or break up and go their separate ways. Marriage Test is produced for A&E Networks by Ghost Mountain Prods and Bienstock Young Media. Executive producers are the McGraws, Carla Pennington, Eugene Young and Jay Bienstock; Drew Tappon serves as exec producer for A&E.