As was documented in realscreen‘s February/March issue, A&E Networks looks like it recently discovered the fountain of youth. By taking a hard look at where the channel was heading and then making the tough choices required to change course, the net has dropped its average viewer age from 61 to 46, and viewers continue to get younger.
That change can be credited to the non-fiction department. It was Dog the Bounty Hunter and Inked, not to mention the Criss Angels and their ilk, that promoted such a precipitous drop in the viewer demo, and – it can be said without being overly dramatic – likely saved the network from tottering off into a doddering viewer no man’s land.
Much of the credit for those moves can be laid at the feet of Nancy Dubuc, SVP of non-fiction and alternative programming. One producer polled during the compilation of this list referred to Dubuc as ‘a great crap shooter.’ That’s probably the perfect description for an exec who looks at a sked full of Murder, She Wrote and thinks Duane ‘Dog’ Chapman is the ideal foil.
Kudos should also go to the rest of the non-fiction team, from Dubuc’s VP, Rob Sharenow, right up to EVP and GM Bob DeBitetto.