Fresh from revitalizing the History brand, AETN veteran
executive Nancy Dubuc has now been tapped to resurrect the
ratings-challenged, female-targeted Lifetime brand. Dubuc
last week was named president and general manger of Lifetime,
and she discussed her plans for the network as well as
the balancing act she’ll have to deal with running both History
and Lifetime in an e-mail interview with Multichannel News
programming editor R. Thomas Umstead.
MCN: How do you define the Lifetime brand?
Nancy Dubuc: The Lifetime brand is one of the most powerful on
the media landscape. It is synonymous with empowering women.
It is a brand I have great respect for. It was built on great storytelling
and meaningful characters. Lifetime has always given so much
back to the audience it serves. I expect those traditions to continue.
MCN: What can you do to turn around Lifetime’s ratings fortunes?
ND: The key to turning around a brand is finding programming
that resonates with your audience. We are going do a lot of research
looking at our audience and then try to deliver them the
goods. This year, Lifetime and [Lifetime Movie Network] had
great success with ripped-from-the-headlines movies like Pregnancy
Pact and Amish Grace. Project Runway and Army Wives
are still incredibly strong, creatively and ratings-wise. So we are
going to build on these foundations.
MCN: Can Lifetime remain the No. 1 brand for women on cable,
given the competition it faces from WE, Oxygen, TLC, Bravo, Style
and eventually OWN?
ND: Lifetime was the No. 1 brand in cable a few years ago, so the
potential is there to do great things. Right now, Lifetime is still
ahead of the pack by a wide margin and I expect that to continue.
We will be focused on staying very competitive.
MCN: You were able to change History’s fortunes by adding
more reality content like Ice Road Truckers and Pawn Stars,
broadening the History brand beyond documentaries. Will you
look to broaden Lifetime’s brand beyond its target 25-to-54
female viewer with content not typical of it?
ND: It is all about great storytelling, whether you are doing either
non-fiction or scripted. Lifetime has always done a variety of programming
and we will find a balance. We will do the research
and I expect we will look to make the brand more contemporary
and relevant to a wider audience.
MCN: How will you be able to juggle both the Lifetime and History
ND: There is a great team in place at History. So I will be spending
a lot of time with the great teams at Lifetime working on program
development and marketing.