In Depth

The Suits: Nancy Dubuc

President, History

Since being named president of History last year, Nancy Dubuc has ordered up nine of the top-rated series in the network’s history. Her biggest hits have come in the testosterone-spiked, tough-guys-doing-dangerous-jobs genre, led by “Ice Road Truckers” and “Ax Men,” shows that exemplify the way the network’s programming has diversified from a focus on black-and-white World War II footage.

TVWeek’s Real Power

Producers say Ms. Dubuc is at once nurturing and tough.

“If you’re not giving her what she wants, she’ll kick your ass in a heartbeat,” said Thom Beers, producer of “Ice Road Truckers.”

Before turning her full-time attention to History, Ms. Dubuc turned A&E from a sleepy arts network into a reality powerhouse through hits such as “Gene Simmons Family Jewels,” “Dog the Bounty Hunter” and “Criss Angel: Mindfreak.”

For Ms. Dubuc, the biggest challenge in the genre is staying away from shows that are derivative.

“We’re under constant pressure to push through to the next level without jumping the shark, while remaining true to the authenticity of the brand,” she said. “Real drama has always cut through over contest eliminations for us, and those shows are like lighting in a bottle because they’re less controllable.”

Dream collaboration: Tom Forman (“Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”).