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A+E Boss Nancy Dubuc Preaches “TV Is Not Dead” At Upfront Party

By | Thursday May 8, 2014 @ 7:55pm PDT

Upfronts2014_badge“Today we require the largest event space in Manhattan,” A+E Networks President and CEO Nancy Dubuc told the crowd tonight at New York’s vast (and packed) Park Avenue Armory on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. “I’m here to tell you that TV is not dead. We are in the next Golden Age of content,” she added, zinging that it’s TV content that drives the business at competitors Amazon, Netflix, Yahoo, and others. Surrounded by stars from the multichannel network  group — including Duck Dynasty‘s Willie and Korie Robertson; Devious Maids leads Ana A&E1Ortiz, Dania Ramirez and exec producer Susan Lucci; Nick and brother Drew Lachey, stars of their own new series about a bar in Cincinnati; and superstar chef Marcus Samuelsson, among many others — Dubuc ribbed introducer Mark Wahlberg, another linchpin of the network, saying “I love it when a man knows his place — right, ladies?”

Related: A&E Unveils Unscripted Slate Of Series & Pilots

Dubuc emphasized A+E’s expanding commitment to original programming, to the current tune of $1 billion per year. New shows in the coming season include History’s Texas Rising, about the wild and sometimes violent history of the Texas Rangers; a Lifetime miniseries based on The Red Tent, a popular novel that reworked Old Testament stories through the eyes of women; and A&E’s Dogs Of War, a series about a couple who pair veterans struggling with postwar trauma with canine companions. Read More »

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Jeff Shell & Les Moonves Slam Jeffrey Katzenberg’s Remarks That “Movies Are Not A Growth Business”

By | Wednesday April 30, 2014 @ 10:49am PDT

jeffshell5“I think the film business is going to be a tremendous growth business,” said Jeff Shell today. Speaking at the Milken Institute’s Global Conference in Beverly Hills, the Universal Filmed Entertainment chairman rebuffed Jeffrey Katzenberg’s proclamation earlier this week at the same conference that “movies are not a growth business.” “Domestic ticket sales are flat but if you look internationally most of the markets are growing like crazy,” Shell said, noting that globally is where the vast majority of box office comes from now. The studio boss’ comments came just hours after Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes slapped down the DreamWorks Animation CEO’s remarks. DWA shares are down around 11% today after it took a $57M writedown for Mr Peabody & Sherman.

Related: Katzenberg At Milken: “Movies Are Not A Growth Business”

Shell was joined on the Entertainment: The Big Picture panel today by A+E Networks president and CEO Nancy Dubuc, CBS boss Les Moonves and Activision Blizzard boss Bobby Kotick.
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Cable Show: ESPN President Rips Streaming Services

By | Tuesday April 29, 2014 @ 12:26pm PDT

ESPN Skipper pic“We have better product than they do,” said ESPN President John Skipper today at the NCTA’s Cable Show convention in downtown LA about challenges to cable from Netflix, Amazon and Yahoo. “Shame on us if we don’t protect our turf,” he added. “We’re allowing them to set the tone of the conversation — we should set the tone of the conversation.” Proclaiming that “the single greatest buttress in the pay-TV package is ESPN,” Skipper also acknowledged the shifting landscape of cable and the real threats from new platforms. “We’re not all going to grow and make more money unless we sell the value” of pay-TV, he said. “There was not this discussion when it was a growing pie. We’ve got to find a way to grow the pie.”

imgresThe sports TV boss and Cable Show co-chair was joined today on the panel in the cavernous West Hall of the LA Convention Center by Time Warner Cable CEO Rob Marcus, A+E Networks president and CEO Nancy Dubuc, Turner Broadcasting Systems CEO John Martin and Suddenlink CEO Jerald Kent. “You’re dealing with a Netflix and Amazon that are not sharing their viewership,” said Dubuc, picking up on Skipper’s comments. Said Skipper: “Competition is not a bad thing but we need to feel a way to innovate. And find a way to let people get content on all their devices.” Read More »

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UPDATED: Phil Robertson’s ‘Duck Dynasty’ Return Has TV Industry Abuzz

By | Friday December 27, 2013 @ 6:26pm PST

LisaColumn__131015210634-275x198UPDATE, FRIDAY 6:20 PM: Earlier this week, TV industry sages forecast that if A&E wanted the Robertson family to continue starring in the network’s cash cow Duck Dynasty, after the network put patriarch Phil on indefinite hiatus over incendiary comments he’d made in a GQ interview (the family issued a statement saying they were standing with Phil) the network would have to “eat crow” — and forecast A&E would “do it right after Christmas.”

Which, of course, is exactly what happened!  And here’s what the industry is saying about that, via Twitter:

- Thomas Roberts, MSNBC anchor: Just dialing into #DuckDynasty update. Homophobia will not be conquered overnight & certainly not aided by A&E execs.

- Joe Scarborough: As predicted early. Biggest bias in LA is $$$.

- Dan Abrams: But talk about trying to bury the #DuckDynasty news. . after 5p on the Friday before New Years.

- W. Kamau Bell: “Hardest 9 days of my gay hating life.” – Phil Robertson on A&E lifting his suspension from Duck Dynasty.  

- Billy Eichner, creator of Funny Or Die’s Fuse TV game show Billy on the Street: Very excited A&E is resuming Duck Dynasty with Phil Robertson.  We need more ignorant homophobic racists who probably hate women on the air.

- Andy Lassner, Ellen exec producer: A&E has lifted its suspension of Phil Robertson. Family & friends are said to be gathering tonight to celebrate inside his beard.

- Justin Stangel, Late Show with David Letterman exec prod: A&E lifts Phil Robertson’s suspension from #DuckDynasty. Thank God! I can finally leave my Y2K bunker

 

More to come…

PREVIOUS, TUESDAY, 10:30 AM: Five Things A&E Did Wrong has become the hot parlor game among TV industry execs at holiday get-togethers. Cable news network execs, meanwhile, are giving thanks for the cultural warfare that has erupted, during this traditionally slow news period, over A&E’s decision to suspend Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson for comparing homosexuality to bestiality in a GQ interview even Phil’s family has acknowledged was “coarse.”

Related: Phil Robertson Breaks Silence, Defends Anti-Gay Comments

A&E has been dazedly dog paddling since the interview came out and its hit show suddenly stopped quacking like all those other homespun reality series on TV and began Bible-thumping like the religious parable duckdynastyit actually is.

In case you’re one of the many who spend the holiday season hiding under a flat rock: A conservative Christian group has hit 210,000 signatures and counting on its petition demanding A&E immediately reinstate Phil, one retailer has reversed its decision to yank Duck Dynasty products off its shelves because of customer blowback, and a big-box retailer can’t keep up with customer demand for Duck Dynasty merchandise. Conservative possible presidential candidates are taking Phil to their bosom, and he invited the Daily Mail to his church on Sunday to witness him preaching:  ‘Jesus will take sins away. If you’re a homosexual, he’ll take it away. If you’re an adulterer, if you’re a liar, what’s the difference? If you break one sin, you may as well break them all.”

Related: A+E Shocked To Learn Bible Thumping ‘Duck Dynasty’ Star Talks Like Bible Thumper

“A rookie mistake.” That’s how one TV industry veteran who’s put in time dealing with rogue reality stars described A&E’s handling of its Duck Dynasty nightmare.  Read More »

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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. Read More »

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A+E Networks CEO Nancy Dubuc Sets Her Top Management Team

By | Monday June 3, 2013 @ 11:30am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

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.

Related: BBC’s Jana Bennett To Run Bio And LMN Under Dubuc’s Plan

“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.”

Read More »

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Nancy Dubuc Elevated To President & CEO Of A+E Networks, Abbe Raven To Chairman

By | Monday April 22, 2013 @ 12:59pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

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”. Read More »

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Brands And Binge Viewing Dominate HRTS Cable Chiefs Panel

By | Wednesday February 27, 2013 @ 2:57pm PST

“The studios are not in brand conversations. It’s not a filmmaker’s medium anymore. We’re in the brand play business,” HBO Programming President Michael Lombardo said today during the Hollywood Radio And Television Society Cable Chiefs lunch in Beverly Hills. Brands and binge viewing were the primary topics of conversation among the panel that featured Lombardo, A+E Networks President, Entertainment and Media Nancy Dubuc and Turner Entertainment Networks president Steve Koonin. Ben Silverman was moderator. “You’re seeing a number of storytellers unable to work in the studio system”, Lombardo continued. “The paradigm has shifted; serious adult drama is happening on cable. That’s what people talk about on Monday — it’s the cable show they saw, not the movies anymore”. Said Dubuc, “We each have our own brand fulfillment and it is our jobs to not only manage that but to evolve it.”

Koonin cut to the chase: “Brands are the temple we worship at,” he quipped to laughter as he described the work and metrics that went into developing TNT’s “We Know Drama” tagline. “When you manage a brand you have to be consistent,” he said. “Basic cable has become an oxymoron now, there is nothing basic about it”. He added: We’ve changed our marketing strategy. We’re going to market from green light to finale, though I shouldn’t say that. We have to give people reason after reason after reason, I can go on and on, to get it,” Koonin said. Read More »

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Mipcom: A+E’s Nancy Dubuc Talks Taking Risks, Calls Lifetime A “Work In Progress”

A+E Networks president of entertainment and media Nancy Dubuc appeared for a Media Mastermind Keynote this morning in Cannes. The recently promoted exec reflected on the evolution of History which has been scoring big wins including with recent mini Hatfields & McCoys. A few years back, she said, “We knew in our gut that History needed to be more than a timeline.” With surprisingly successful shows like Ice Road Truckers and Pawn Stars, Dubuc said, “I think the culture and DNA of our organization is to take risks.”

Dubuc qualified the controversial upcoming Lifetime movie Liz & Dick starring Lindsay Lohan as a risk, but said everyone was well aware ahead of time. “It was framed from the point of view of me informing everybody: ‘Here’s the situation, here are the risks I’m taking, so hold on.’”

The buzzy movie debuts on Thanksgiving weekend and Dubuc maintains that Lifetime needs to get even buzzier. “There’s no question, Lifetime must evolve. It’s a work in progress right now.” A series project from Renee Zellweger is on deck at the network, the saucy Jennifer Love Hewitt series The Client List is getting a second season and the Steel Magnolias reboot just debuted last night with a cast that includes Queen Latifah, Alfre Woodard and Phylicia Rashad. Dubuc joked that Zellweger, Latifah and Love Hewitt were “all in my will now.” On a more serious note, she sounded a challenge to the Hollywood community that laments the lack of female-driven projects, “You can’t go out and talk about it and not come,” to Lifetime, she said. Read More »

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Nancy Dubuc Promoted At A+E Networks; Will Oversee All Networks, Including A&E

By | Thursday September 13, 2012 @ 2:53pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

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 »

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EVP JoAnn Alfano Leaves Lifetime

By | Friday March 4, 2011 @ 4:06pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Lifetime’s head of development, EVP entertainment JoAnn Alfano, is leaving the female-centered cable network effective immediately. For the time being, Lifetime president and general manger Nancy Dubuc will oversee the network’s development, with SVP series programming Nina Lederman and SVP original movies Tanya Lopez reporting to her.

Alfano, former head of Lorne Michaels’ production company Broadway Video and head of comedy at NBC, joined Lifetime in the fall of 2008, succeeding entertainment president Susanne Daniels. Alfano said that she made the decision to leave right after the recent merger of Lifetime and A&E Networks, which put Lifetime under the purview of History president and GM Dubuc. “I wanted to stay on through the first year to help shepherd some great projects through the development process,” she said. “Now that those projects are into production and under way, I feel it is the right time for me to move on.  While I am saddened to leave my incredibly talented team, I am extremely proud of the work we created together. I will continue rooting for them and everyone at Lifetime for years to come.”

Alfano recently oversaw development of Lifetime’s first crop of pilots under Dubuc, which resulted in series orders to Against the Wall and Exit 19, for a launch later this year. (Additionally, one of the five pilots ordered, Meet Jane, remains in contention, and another, the untitled Michael Sardo drama starring Carrie-Anne Moss, is yet to be … Read More »

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Lifetime Greenlights 2 New Scripted Series

Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Lifetime’s new president and general manager Nancy Dubuc is putting her stamp on the female-centered cable network with her first scripted series orders. Lifetime has picked up to series two female-driven cop dramas, Against the Wall and Exit 19, for a launch later this year.

The orders, both for 13 episodes, can’t come soon enough for Lifetime, which desperately needs more original scripted programming. It is down to two scripted series – veteran Army Wives, which was renewed for a fifth season, and dramedy Drop Dead Diva, which has been picked up for a third season. The last scripted series premieres on the network were in 2009 (Diva and the short-lived comedy Sherri). Because of Lifetime’s acquisition by A&E Networks, Lifetime held off on development from mid-2009, when the deal was announced, until May 1, 2010 when History president and general manager Nancy Dubuc took over as Lifetime’s new president and general manager. She dived into development, reading piles of scripts identified by Lifetime’s development team led by JoAnn Alfano. “Over the last several months, we have been working tirelessly on a new development slate of scripted dramas, nonfiction series and original movies at Lifetime,” Dubuc said stressing that “continuing our legacy of great scripted dramas is critical” to the network’s success. She cited the newly picked-up Against the Wall and Exit 19 as examples of the “high-quality auspices … Read More »

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TCA: Lifetime To Pick Up 2 New Drama Series As Part Of Originals Ramp-Up

From Ray Richmond, who is contributing to Deadline Hollywood’s TCA Coverage:

Lifetime plans to double its on-air drama series output in 2011 from two to four, the network’s new president and GM Nancy Dubuc said this morning during the network’s portion of TCA. That includes the pickup to series of two of the network’s five pilots ordered last year (four of them have already been shot). Lifetime brass will make the decision on which two will go to series by February, the network’s EVP JoAnn Alfano said. The two new series will premiere by fourth quarter 2011, along with the returns of vets Army Wives and Drop Dead Diva. The network also is launching a dozen new unscripted series this year, with the rollout beginning in February, along with 15 original films. “We’re committed to expanding our original programming in a major way,” Alfano said. “This is only the beginning.” Here is a list of Lifetime’s upcoming reality series, Seriously Funny Kids, One Born Every Minute, Quad Squad and Glamour Belles, whose premiere dates were announced today: Read More »

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Lifetime Renews ‘Army Wives’ And ‘Diva’

Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Lifetime has renewed its flagship series, Army Wives and Drop Dead Diva. Army Wives has been picked up for a fifth season, while Drop Dead Diva has been renewed for a third season. Both series have received 13-episode orders for a 2011 premiere. “Army Wives and Drop Dead Diva have lead Lifetime’s charge in scripted programming and are key components to our success,” said Nancy Dubuc, president and GM of Lifetime and History, adding that series’ renewal “allows us to launch our next generation of scripted series.” Under Dubuc, who took over Lifetime in the spring, the cable network has ordered 3 pilots, Against the Wall, Exit 13 and an untitled cop drama from Drop Dead Diva creator Josh Berman. The network will certainly use Army Wives and Drop Dead Diva as launching pads for any of the 3 that are picked up to series.

While it has slipped from the blockbuster ratings of its first couple of seasons, Army Wives still remains Lifetime’s highest-rated series ever. Its most recent fourth season averaged 3.2 million viewers, with its finale  (3.9 million) hitting season highs in total viewers and all key demographics. Season 4 also included a planted spinoff episode, but the network recently passed on it. Army Wives is produced by ABC Studios, with Mark Gordon, Deborah Spera, Jeff Melvoin, Marshall Persinger and Harry Bring executive producing. Its cast … Read More »

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Lifetime’s Nancy Dubuc Greenlights 3 Pilots

Nellie Andreeva

Lifetime today picked up the first scripted pilot pickups since the regime change at the female-centered cable network. lifetime2History’s Nancy Dubuc took the reins of Lifetime as president and has been reading piles of pilot scripts with an eye at jump starting Lifetime’s scripted development by ordering at least 5 and as many as 8 pilots, mostly in the closed-ended procedural genre.

The network today greenlighted 3:

AGAINST THE WALL: written by Annie Brunner, it is a family drama set in Chicago following policewoman Abby Kowalski, who causes a rift with her three cop brothers when she decides to join the department’s Internal Affairs division.

EXIT 19, from Jeff Bell, follows single mother Gloria Shepherd as she juggles her demanding personal and professional lives raising two children while working as a New York Police Department homicide detective. The pilot is from ABC Studios and CBS TV Studios, executive producer/writer Bell and executive producers Nina Wass and Gene Stein. The project was originally developed at CBS during the 2007-2008 season when it was ordered as a pilot presentation starring Geena Davis.

– UNTITLED JOSH BERMAN PROJECT is a closed-ended drama set in San Diego, where police detective Molly Collins, married mother of two on the verge of divorce, and her partner Brooke Kross, recently engaged, investigate the city’s most high-profile crimes while navigating their divergent personal lives. Berman and Sony are already in business with Lifetime through sophomore hit Drop Dead Diva, which was created by … Read More »

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Discovery Channel’s Gena McCarthy Becomes Lifetime’s New Head Of Reality

Nellie Andreeva

Gena McCarthyGena McCarthy has joined Lifetime as SVP reality & alternative programming. McCarthy will start on July 6, overseeing the development and production of unscripted series for the female-centered cable network and reporting to JoAnn Alfano, EVP entertainment. The top reality post at Lifetime has been vacant since the departure of Jessica Samet late last year. Lifetime has ventured into unscripted programming before, most notably with the acquisition of Project Runway under former CEO Andrea Wong. While scripted series will continue to be the focus, Lifetime’s reality portfolio is expected to grow under new president/GM Nancy Dubuc, who also runs the docu-driven History Channel. Read More »

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