A+E Networks' Superstar Content-Driven Superhighway--Version 2.0

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Cover image for  article: A+E Networks' Superstar Content-Driven Superhighway--Version 2.0

A year ago, A+E Networks unfurled an ambitious lineup of original series and made-for-TV movies featuring or executive produced by actors, sports figures and other personalities on its major linear networks -- A&E, The HISTORY Channel and Lifetime. The multi-month SAG-AFTRA and Writers Guild of America strikes last summer forced some of those projects to be delayed or scuttled this current season. At the company's third annual virtual Upfront presentation this past Wednesday afternoon, A+E renewed its commitment to top talent-made programming in the 2024-25 season ahead.

The Big Message: Expect a diverse, versatile lineup of talent to deliver a diverse, outstanding assortment of content that will engage and inspire viewers. "We're living in a moment of transformation and possibility," explained Paul Buccieri (pictured top right), A+E Networks Group Chairman and President. "It's in this environment that creative and commercial risk-taking can truly flourish. We're committed to the highest-quality content and to make it as accessible as possible." In addition, A+E's top talent pool will now be tapped by Home.Made.Nation, the company's fast-growing lifestyle channel.

Hosts: Buccieri and A+E Ad Sales President Peter Olsen (pictured top left) bookended the presentation's beginning and end, respectively. Other segments were introduced by an off-camera female voice.

A+E and Chief Administrative Officer & Chief Diversity Officer Karen Gray are being inducted into the Advancing Diversity Hall of Honors at the marketing community's largest annual gathering of DEIB professionals, the leaders who support them, and our community's diverse emerging talent. To join A+E and learn about the event and this year's 16 inductees, visit www.AdvancingDiversity.org.

What Worked: As eye-catching and clip-filled a presentation as it gets. Once more, A+E let the talent and scenes from their upcoming work make the pitch, whether Tom Hanks outlining his desire to do the definitive World War II docuseries, or Good Morning America co-host Robin Roberts expressing her passion for producing Lifetime biopics. Backdrops portraying the variety of original series and movies were well-placed throughout the presentation.

What Also Worked: A special segment near the end on innovative examples of branded short-form messages and segments, spread throughout A+E's linear and free ad-supported channels (FAST). Two notable efforts: Spoonful of Joy, a Campbell Soup vignette for Lifetime about an autistic child's trip to the supermarket, accompanied by Tatyana Ali and Buddy Valastro, and Greatest of All Time History Channel segments with Ancestry.com information.

Data Points: About 2,000 original programming hours will run on A+E services this coming season. Also gearing up: activity at the company's in-house production units -- A+E Studios (scripted) and A+E Factual Studios (unscripted/reality). A+E Studios has more than 70 scripted series in development, while A+E Factual Studios has 200-plus hours of unscripted series in production. Going into this spring, A+E now operates 50-plus FAST channels {the majority devoted to single series) that reach viewers through smart TV sets/devices and multichannel bundles.

News: For the upcoming 250th anniversary of this nation's birth, HISTORY Channel will present a variety of on-air series, segments and events (including Kevin Costner's The West miniseries originally scheduled to run this season) under the History Honors 250 banner. One unique feature: contributions from 250 people selected from all 50 states. Hello Sunshine, Reese Witherspoon's content factory, will develop a number of Home.Made.Nation series, starting with Country House Hunters, where couples seek their ideal country shelter. CAP 2, the production house managed by former New York Yankees baseball superstar Derek Jeter, will set up two HISTORY Channel series: History's Greatest Warriors and The Icons that Built America. Look for Tom Hanks WWII miniseries to run 20 episodes during 2025. New A&E series ahead include Secrets of the Hells Angels and Houses of Horror: Secrets of College Greek Life. I Will Survive singer Gloria Gaynor will be among the subjects of upcoming Lifetime biopics, while Billy Zane will star in another Lifetime movie as Larry Ray, the ex-con who started a notorious cult at Sarah Lawrence College.

Parting Words: "If we want to move people, we're going to have to let them move us. We've become a place where the biggest personalities come to get personal." -- Robin Roberts, talking about herRobin Roberts Presents original Lifetime movies

"We're unearthing unseen footage, unheard audio, rare home movies and new interviews. All restored, shared and woven together to bring you the definite story of World War II. My hope is it will move us all to better understand the world we live in today." -- Tom Hanks, discussing his new HISTORY Channel miniseries

"We are committed to moving audiences to action by delivering best-in-class customer service." -- A+E Networks Ad Sales President Peter Olsen

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