A+E Networks said Jana Bennett has been promoted to president and general manger of History, after previously overseeing FYI and LMN. She replaces Dirk Hoogstra, whom A+E said will "return to his roots in independent production." The company will seek a replacement for Bennett at FYI and LMN as her new appointment is immediate. Bennett, who came to A+E from the BBC in 2013, reports to A&E and History president Paul Buccieri and will be responsible for all strategic planning, programming, marketing and brand development at History and H2, A+E said.
In a release, Nancy Dubuc, President and CEO of A+E Networks, said: “Jana has one of the strongest track records building and shaping global brands – first at the BBC and now here at A+E Networks. She joined our company with the mandate to take our networks into new and exciting places and what she’s done with FYI in such a short amount of time is remarkable. HISTORY and H2 will greatly benefit from her creative prowess and steady stewardship.”
Buccieri said, “I have long been a fan of Jana’s work, particularly with what she’s done with FYI and LMN. Her vast experience in all genres of programming, marketing, distribution and digital is unparalleled and I’m very much looking forward to working with her at History.”
And Bennett, in the release, said: “I have a passion for HISTORY – where we’ve come from and where we are headed. I am thrilled that I have been asked by Nancy and Paul to lead the team that will bring one of the strongest and most respected brands across the globe into new and exciting territory.”
Of Hoogstra, Bennett said in the release: “We thank Dirk for his many contributions to HISTORY. He was the force behind some of the network’s greatest successes that helped propel HISTORY to become one of entertainment’s top brands.”
A+E highlighted Bennett's work rebranding BIO to FYI in July 2014 (and later that year in Canada and Southeast Asian markets), achieving double-digit ratings growth and introducing new series and franchises including Married at First Sight, Arranged, Seven Year Switch and a pair of "Tiny House" shows. At LMN (rebranded from Lifetime Movie Network) she has added new original unscripted series and driven ratings gains in all day parts among women ages 25-54, A+E said.
History, meanwhile, has had some ratings disappointments, including the Memorial Day miniseries Texas Rising. For the summer, the network's primetime viewing average declined by 20%, to 1.525 million from 1.913 million, according to one analysis of Nielsen figures. A+E also has been making some executive realignments, such as broadening Lifetime executive vice president and general manager Rob Sharenow's duties to including being EVP and GM at A&E Network.
Bennett was president of BBC World Wide Networks & Global BBC iPlayer before coming to A+E Networks, which is a joint venture of Disney-ABC Television Group and Hearst Corp. Earlier in her career, she was general manager of TLC network.