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Dubuc upped to CEO of A+E Networks, Raven becomes chairman

April 22, 2013|By Joe Flint
  • Nancy Dubuc, left, will succeed Abbe Raven as CEO of A E Networks. Raven will become chairman.
Nancy Dubuc, left, will succeed Abbe Raven as CEO of A E Networks. Raven will… (A E Networks )

The woman who led History Channel to historic ratings has been promoted.

Nancy Dubuc, president of entertainment and media for A+E Networks, parent of cable networks History, Lifetime and A&E, has been tapped as president and chief executive of the company, which is jointly owned by Walt Disney Co. and Hearst Corp.

Dubuc, 44, will succeed Abbe Raven, 60, who has been chief executive of A+E Networks since 2005. Raven will stay on and become chairman. Dubuc will report to both Raven and the A+E board of directors.

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"Nancy is one of the most talented executives working in media today — a decisive leader, with her hallmark drive and determination," Raven said in a statement.

For Dubuc, the promotion continues a meteoric rise at A+E that started more than a decade ago. Both History Channel and A&E have experienced tremendous ratings growth on Dubuc's watch. Initially seen as having a sharp eye for reality shows such as History's "Pawn Stars" and A&E's "Duck Dynasty," Dubuc has had success lately in scripted fare as well. History's new series "Vikings" has become a hit and A&E's "Bates Motel" has also delivered solid ratings.

There have been some gripes from purists that History Channel and A&E have abandoned their roots in favor of reality fare. Similar complaints have been made about its chief rivals Discovery and TLC.

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At the same time, though, History and A&E are delivering strong ratings and revenue. The closely held company said that since 2005, A+E Networks has tripled its earnings.

As chief executive of A+E, Dubuc will now expand her turf beyond programming to business affairs. She will oversee not only advertising, but also the company's relationships with the pay-TV distributors that carry its networks.

The promotion should put to rest speculation that Dubuc will jump ship to another job. Her name is often on the shortlist whenever there is a major opening in television. Most recently, there has been speculation that she was being wooed by Viacom and NBCUniversal.

In her new role, Raven will oversee long-term strategies as well as public policy initiatives.

Follow Joe Flint on Twitter @JBFlint.

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