Two years of helping to drive ratings improvement and lower the network’s median viewing age have earned Bob DeBitetto the title of executive vice president and general manager of A&E Network.
DeBitetto -- who joined A&E in 2003, lately as executive VP of programming -- succeeds Abbe Raven as A&E’s leader. When Nickolas Davatzes retired, Raven became CEO of A&E Television Networks.
DeBitetto is now responsible for A&E’s strategic planning, programming, consumer marketing, brand development, public relations and on-air promotions. He also oversees The Biography Channel and the fledgling Crime & Investigation Network.
Senior VP of nonfiction and alternative programming Nancy Dubuc has risen, too, adding direction of the Biography franchise and Being, the new Mick Jagger-produced profile series.
DeBitetto has overseen such real-life series additions as Dog the Bounty Hunter, Airline, Growing Up Gotti and Intervention that helped to score a 40% ratings rise among adults 25-54 and a 62% jump in the 18-49 demo in his tenure. A&E has whittled the median age of its viewers to 49 from 60 in that time.
He has also been instrumental in A&E securing syndication deals for such top series as The Sopranos, 24 and CSI: Miami. Those 2006 primetime fixtures are key to A&E’s plan to rank among the top five cable networks in its key demos.
“Bob has been instrumental in the growth of our company. He’s the ideal candidate because he’s a strong strategic thinker, a creative executive with a keen business sense,” Raven said. “He has his finger on the pulse of pop culture, which has been transferred to the network.”
A&E, with 24, had the most Primetime Emmy Award nominations for a basic-cable network in 2004, Raven noted.
DeBitetto earlier spent seven years in a variety of positions at Turner Broadcasting System Inc., including president of original programming. He also worked at Disney Motion Pictures Group.