A&E Strategic Opportunities - September 2008



A&E made a lot of drastic program content changes in recent years, going more mainstream in reality and moving away from such staple doc series as BIOGRAPHY, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTS, and AMERICAN JUSTICE.   Series such as THE FIRST 48 and INTERVENTION still maintain the network's roots in crime/investigation, while reality shows like DOG THE BOUNTY HUNTER, THE TWO COREYS, CRISS ANGEL MINDFREAK, and GENE SIMMONS FAMILY JEWELS define the network today and are certainly priorities in terms of image.

DOG THE BOUNTY HUNTER and GROWING UP GOTTI helped bring A&E into the world of general entertainment, by taking its tradition of crime into reality programming. After growing in popularity with younger demos, A&E was able to branch out even more with shows like INKED, KING OF CARS, and DRIVING FORCE.  All of these programs have compelling, quirky and/or unique characters, along with something edgy in their lifestyle. Plus, they all have appeal to the upscale crime and investigation viewer while attracting the younger demos.

At the same time, there is room for specials that work well around news headlines of the day and current social issues. These types of programs help A&E maintain its traditional audience of adults 25-54.

In early 2007, the network announced its first development slate of drama series in years.  The first project to come out of that slate, THE CLEANER starring Benjamin Bratt, premiered in July, 2008.  This new phase for the network's program offering builds on their acquired dramas, particularly SOPRANOS, and the successful real life franchises. 

A&E can't be too extreme in its content but just edgy enough to fuel publicity and appeal to its new, younger audience. New program decisions are based on current successful blocks and formats; so whatever is working now, count on A&E wanting more of the same but new.


Edgy, unique and buzzworthy slice-of-life reality series centered on celebrities, from A to C-list;  crime or social-issue oriented documentary series;  topical documentary specials;  movies based on true stories ripped from the headlines.


Leading off-network drama series.


A&E has a strict policy against accepting unsolicited submissions but works regularly with distributors and talent agencies.  Once a producer or other creative has secured an entry at the network, a treatment should be accompanied by a pilot or presentation tape, especially if the project is centered around characters or other key talent.


The network doesn't refer to itself as a "women's" channel, but the gender skew leans almost 60% female.  Something to keep in mind when developing a program pitch.


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