The heads of A&E Network and The History Channel swapped positions Monday as A&E
Television Networks tries to fix its channels' ailments.
Abbe Raven, a veteran programmer, takes over as executive vice president and
general manager for A&E, while Dan Davids, who launched History in 1995,
becomes History's executive VP and GM.
Explaining the switch, AETN president and CEO Nick Davatzes said, "We decided
it would be easier if we had someone with more programming experience at the
head of A&E."
He added, "History's real challenges are ad sales and marketing, and those
work for Dan's strong suits."
Raven faces the more daunting challenge. A&E's ratings have been
slipping, down 8 percent in the third quarter, according to Nielsen Media
Research. More troublesome is A&E's recent original-programming woes. The
network canned its two original dramas, 100 Centre Street and Nero
Wolfe, earlier this year, and head of programming Allen Sabinson was recently
Davatzes says he's still looking for a programming chief, but installing
Raven allows the network to move forward with new programming plans.
History's ratings are more consistent, ranging between a 0.8 and
0.9. The network does want to ramp up ad sales and, while it reaches 80 million
homes, it will likely seek to improve carriage deals and channel placement.