by Jacqueline Grossman
A&E Television Networks is a privately held media company located in New York City that owns and operates 10 channels that are available by both cable and satellite. The network’s channels reach more than 300 million households in 150 countries, producing content in 35 different languages . Its mission involves bringing human stories to life, knowing full well that quality entertainment can come straight from real-world experiences. Lifetime Television, its flagship network, is the most powerful media brand targeted to women, with shows such as Dance Moms and Project Runway. Since its launch in February, 1984, Lifetime has grown significantly, reaching nearly 98 million households today . In addition to this station, the A&E television channel itself offers a mix of reality-based programming and documentaries while its History, Military History, and History 2 channels air original programs on historical topics. The company also operates sister networks such as Crime & Investigation Network and The Biography Channel. It has international networks in the UK and Asia. .
AETN was formed in 1983 as a joint venture between Hearst, Walt Disney, and NBCUniversal (NBCU). The company launched Lifetime in 1984, followed by the History Channel, History Channel International, and The Biography Channel in 1995 and 1998, respectively. Throughout its history, the network has achieved incredible success, for instance in 2004 when it won 24 Emmy nominations and in 2008, when HISTORY (renamed from The History Channel) became the #1 cable network in primetime among the target demographic: adults 18-49. A&E continues to demonstrate success through its new reality television shows Duck Dynasty, Storage Wars, and Hoarders. In July of last year, NBC sold its 15.8 percent stake of A&E to Hearst and Walt Disney for $3.03 billion. 
Abbe Raven has been the President and CEO of A&E Television Networks since March 2005. Before overseeing all A&E holdings, she was part of the original team that launched the History Channel and reinvented A&E (channel) in 2003. Ms. Raven is a firm believer in the motto “slow and steady wins the race,” having started as a secretary for A&E and learned the business from the bottom up. Today, she is an award-winning President and CEO who has been named one of the Top 5 Most Powerful Women in Entertainment by The Hollywood Reporter. 
As, Executive VP, Finance and CFO, Gerard Gruosso is responsible for the management of A&E’s accounts, budgets, and strategic planning. He also oversees the network’s facilities and information management. Mr. Gruosso has been with A&E since 1985, beginning as Assistant Controller, working his way up to Controller and Vice President, and eventually reaching his current position. 
President, Entertainment and Media Nancy Dubuc oversees the creation and development of A&E’s brand and marketing in addition to managing A&E International and A&E Digital. Before transitioning to this position, Ms. Dubuc previously served as the President and General Manager of HISTORY and Lifetime Networks. 
Six-time Emmy Award-winner Dan Suratt is the Executive VP, Digital Media and Business Development. He handles the network’s business negotiations and digital distribution. As a result of his efforts, Mr. Suratt has doubled A&E’s site traffic to 22 million visitors per month. 
Lifetime Television was off to a great start in the first month of 2013. It’s original movie, Prosecuting Casey Anthony, generated great success for the channel; it ranked as the number one telecast across ad-supported cable in total viewers, adults 18+, women 18+, women 25-54, and women 18-49 on the night it premiered. The movie—which starred Golden Globe and Emmy Award nominee Rob Lowe—was the first opportunity to recount the infamous Casey Anthony trial. It is from the perspective of Jeff Ashton, the Florida prosecutor who was involved in the case and provides details on his aggressive investigation of Caylee Anthony’s death. 
A&E’s unexpected hit, Duck Dynasty, became the channel’s number 1 telecast ever and number one nonfiction series on cable in 2013. The show follows the lives of the Roberson family members, owners of Duck Commander, a business that makes products for duck hunters. Its season three premiere earned a total of 8.6 million viewers, ranking ahead of FOX’s American Idol. What is it that distinguishes this series from other “redneck” reality shows like Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, Swamp Pawn, and Buckwild? Television critics argue that it comes down to the characters themselves. The Robersons are savvy, educated businessmen with diverse yet endearing personalities. In addition, the show flows at a relaxed pace and is suitable for family audiences. 
A&E received more great news in March. Its A&E television channel had its best quarter in history among total viewers and adults 25-54, soaring past the previously record-setting first quarter 2012. One of the key reasons for this success is the increase in well-received original series that aired in the first quarter of 2013, specifically Bates Motel, Duck Dynasty, and Storage Wars. Due to these shows, the network was up 2% in adults 25-54 (835,000 vs. 819,000) and up 6% in total viewers (1.7 million vs.1.6 million). March was the most watched month in the quarter, and it was the first time A&E averaged more than one million viewers age 25-54 in a single month. These records have propelled A&E up to become the fourth ranked most-watched cable network in all three demographics this March (18-49, 25-54, and total viewers). 
The History Channel enjoyed success from its first scripted series, Vikings. The hit drama explores the adventure, bloodshed, and passion that existed during the Dark Ages, all through the eyes of the Vikings. Vikings is special in that it not only celebrates the excitement of warfare but also demonstrates the strength of familial ties. According to the network, Vikings attracted 4.8 million total viewers, with 2.2 million adults 25-54 and 1.9 million adults 18-49. These ratings made Vikings the most-watched cable series in its timeslot. 
One of A&E’s most popular television shows, Storage Wars, is returning on April 16th with a full series of 24 episodes, despite the network’s participation in lawsuits with former show star Dave Hester. The hit series premiered in 2010 and features teams of auctioneers looking to “hit it big” by purchasing the contents of storage facilities after inspecting it for a short amount of time. Hester took the network to court claiming the show is staged; he argued that the show’s producers knew what items were in which storage locker and used this knowledge to rig the bidders’ fates.  Even with this controversy, Storage Wars ranked as A&E’s number one series among adults aged 18-49 and 25-54. It also achieved the number three rating for non-fiction show on cable among adults aged 25-54. Last year, the show averaged 4.2 million total viewers.  Click here for a link to this season’s trailer.
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7. Storage Wars