The longtime A+E Networks communications chief, one of Nancy Dubuc’s most trusted executives, has been elevated to EVP Corporate Communications. Michael Feeney continues to report to Dubuc, A+E Networks’ President and CEO. Feeney has been overseeing A+E Networks’ global and corporate communications, corporate marketing and philanthropic and community outreach since 2006, when he was appointed SVP Corporate Communications for predecessor A&E TV Networks. Following the group’s merger with Lifetime Networks, Feeney oversaw the logo design and corporate rebrand of the company to A+E Networks. “Michael has been the architect of A+E Networks’ successful communications strategy for the past decade,” said Dubuc. “He is one of the most effective communicators in our industry.” Feeney has been in the A+E family for more than a decade. The one-time NBC page joined the company in 2001 as Director of History Publicity and Public Affairs and was promoted to VP Publicity for A&E Network and Bio three years later. His current communications portfolio includes all A+E brands, which include A&E, Lifetime, History, LMN, Bio and H2.
Global Showbiz Briefs: Kris Kristofferson Pic ‘Joe’s Mountain’ Gets Backers; A+E Nets Takes Over AETN All Asia; More
Breakthrough, Dutch Features Board Kristofferson Pic ‘Joe’s Mountain’
Toronto-based Breakthrough Entertainment has joined with Dutch Features Global Entertainment to co-executive produce Joe’s Mountain, starring Kris Kristofferson. Dutch Features will team with Breakthrough to secure European distribution partners for the film to be directed by Chuck Rose, who also wrote the script. The producers say they are in discussions to cast Helen Hunt opposite Kristofferson, who plays a former ladies man who becomes a local celebrity when his dreams of future events start coming true. His powers are put to the test when he meets a younger woman and her dying son and embarks on a road trip to find a mysterious lake that will change their lives. Production will take place in Canada. Henry Boger produces.
A+E Networks Assumes Full Control of AETN All Asia Networks
A+E Networks has concluded a transaction with Astro Overseas Limited to assume full ownership of AETN All Asia Networks, the Singapore-based company formed as a joint venture in 2007. AETN All Asia Networks will be rebranded as A+E Networks Asia. “The transition to full ownership of A+E Networks Asia is a first for our company and marks an important milestone,” said A+E president and CEO Nancy Dubuc. The announcement comes on the heels of the recent launch of Lifetime and H2 in the region. A+E Networks Asia also operates History, Crime & Investigation Network and bio in the region.
Bad tattoos and bad times in Sin City are coming to A&E. The channel’s new Bad Ink series is set to debut on August 11, A+E Networks announced today. The series will premiere with a double shot …
Global Showbiz Briefs: Corus, Telefilm Canada Pact; ITV Cooks With Gino D’Acampo; Izabella Wiley Joins A+E; More
Corus, Telefilm Canada Create Fund For Family Movies
Corus Entertainment and Telefilm Canada have launched the Family Feature Production Fund to encourage the production of Canadian English-language live-action family movies for theatrical release. The fund will provide financing for as many as two films a year with budgets between $3.5M and $5M. The pilot initiative will be open to Canadian feature producers with a fully developed film script and a comprehensive plan for market viability. Corus and Telefilm will jointly evaluate the applications with Corus contributing financing, a broadcast commitment and marketing support from its portfolio of networks which includes Movie Central, W Movies and YTV.
ITV Series Will Follow Chef Gino D’Acampo Around Southern Italy
ITV Studios Daytime has been commissioned by ITV to produce Gino’s Italian Escape, a six-part series set in Southern Italy. The half-hour program will be presented by chef Gino D’Acampo who is known to local auds for his participation on ITV’s This Morning show. ITV Studios Global Entertainment, which is handling world sales, has also brokered a deal with Hodder & Stoughton for a cook book to accompany the series. For the lifestyle, travel and cooking series, D’Acampo will cross Southern Italy in search of the region’s best kept secrets. This is ITV Studios Daytime’s first factual commission for ITV primetime and will air in September.
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.”
Nancy Dubuc‘s meteoric rise continues. Seven months after she was named President, Entertainment and Media, A+E Networks, taking creative oversight of the entire cable group, Dubuc has now been named president and CEO of A+E Networks. She succeeds Abbe Raven, who is being elevated to Chairman, A+E Networks. The promotions come as A+E networks continue to deliver blockbuster ratings, most recently with History’s The Bible and Vikings and A&E’s Duck Dynasty.
Effective June 1, 2013, Dubuc will oversee the day-to-day operations of the company with the brand groups and business divisions reporting to her. Raven will be in charge of A+E Networks’ long-term business and revenue opportunities, as well as public policy initiatives, and serve as corporate strategic adviser. Raven will report directly to the company’s Board led by Anne Sweeney, president, Disney/ABC Television Group, and Steven Swartz, president & COO, Hearst Corp. Dubuc will report both to Raven and the Board. “Abbe and Nancy have enjoyed one of the most successful partnerships in our business. Together, over the last several years, they have built some of the strongest brands in media, Sweeney and Swartz said jointly. “We look forward to the company’s next chapter as Abbe becomes chairman and Nancy steps into her expanded new role as president and CEO and leads the company into the future”.
A+E Names Sally Habbershaw International VP
Sally Habbershaw has joined A+E Networks as VP international programming, production and operations. Based in New York, Habbershaw will manage teams responsible for those areas and oversee the A+E Networks program catalog. She will also be expected to help boost ratings and launch new channel brands. Habbershaw reports to Christian Murphy, SVP international programming and marketing. Habbershaw joins A+E Networks from AMC Networks where she was VP of acquisitions, scheduling and promotions at Sundance and WE Global. Prior to that she worked for Viacom as director of development for VH1 in the U.S. and as VP general manager for VH1 UK in London.
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:
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.”