In Depth

Women in Television: Abbe Raven

Who: Abbe Raven, president and CEO, A&E Television Networks

Women in TV

Why: Investing in programming is paying dividends for Ms. Raven: The company has had a record-breaking year in 2008, with all of its key networks—A&E Network, History, Biography and History International—posting gains. Ms. Raven has been providing her network managers with more than $650 million to create quality shows, and they’ve been delivering. A&E this year returned to creating original dramas with “The Cleaner,” thanks to a slate of half a dozen returning scripted shows that each generated more than 1 million impressions. In just over a year, History has launched many of its most successful shows to date, including “Ice Road Truckers.” “The fact that we’re not dependent on just one hit has really solidified who we are,” Ms. Raven said. “And I think that’s very different than some other networks.”

What: Ms. Raven plans to keep A&E cooking with many of the same ingredients. “I think it’s continuing to invest in program development and to look at ourselves as a leading entertainment content company,” she said. “We’re also looking at how we can continue to expand on the Web.”

As far as being a woman in the television business, Ms. Raven said: “My philosophy on that is I want to be remembered as a great CEO, not just a female CEO, and we’ve had a damn great year this year.”