History topper Nancy Dubuc will add leadership over Lifetime Networks to her duties at AETN.
Dubuc, as expected, was named to president and general manager of the women's programmer, succeeding Andrea Wong. Dubuc will also retain her role as president and general manager of History's brands.
In her new role, Dubuc will be responsible for the Lifetime and History brands' strategic planning, programming, consumer marketing, publicity and brand development.
AETN, which assumed control of Lifetime Entertainment Services last September, believes that Dubuc, who has been president of History since late in 2006, can reinvigorate Lifetime -- once the top-rated network in cable -- but in 2009 barely a top 20 performer that shed 20% of its audience in primetime.
If programming past is prologue, Lifetime could be poised for a comeback. During Dubuc's time atop the network, the service launched the 10 best-rated shows in its history, including Ice Road Truckers, Pawn Stars, The Universe, Ax Men, Life After People and How The Earth Was Made.
Moreover, History has scored its top five specials, including America The Story of US, which premiered before a record 5.7 million watchers on Sunday night, WWII in HD and the Emmy-nominated Life After People. In 2009, 102 Minutes That Changed America earned three Emmy Awards, including best non-fiction special.
"Nancy is one of the most dynamic executives working in television. Her track record of success by focusing on a brand's target audience and creating programming for them is extraordinary," said AETN president and CEO Abbe Raven in announcing Dubuc's appointment.. "Nancy has great respect for the power of the Lifetime brand and I am confident she will lead the terrific team there to new heights."
"I am incredibly honored to now lead the Lifetime team," said Dubuc. "Lifetime and Lifetime Movie Network are two of the most powerful and evocative brands on the media landscape. I am excited for the challenge to explore the unlimited potential of programming for women."
After many had annointed her as the front-runner to succeed Wong, who officially departed AETN last week, reports of Dubuc's ascension began to surface yesterday.
Monday night, Dubuc was scheduled to take part in a panel discussion in New York City with other cable programmers, but was substitued for by A&E senior vice president Robert Sharenow. The panel moderator explained that Dubuc was headed to Los Angeles for a big news announcement Tuesday. AETN spokesman Michael Feeney did not respond to phone and email messages about what that expected news was, ahead of the news release Tuesday.
Raven said in an interview in this week's Multichannel Newsthat: "I absolutely am confident that we will, with an infusion of original programming and great cross-promotion, be able to reverse any kind of [ratings] trend" at Lifetime. "You will start to see ratings growth as we evolve Lifetime to be a little bit more contemporary in style. I think there are minor tweaks that we can make to continue to grow the Lifetime ratings. Right now, we're flat, but that will change and I am absolutely confident that you will see that evolution of Lifetime.
"Lifetime at one time was the No. 1 network in all of cable, and we can absolutely reclaim that title," Raven declared.