Bob DeBitetto, who revitalized the programming lineup at A&E with attention-grabbing reality shows featuring over-the-top personalities such as Victoria Gotti and Dog the Bounty Hunter, has been rewarded with a bigger job.
Mr. DeBitetto has been promoted from executive VP of programming to executive VP and general manager for A&E Network. He will assume responsibilities previously handled by Abbe Raven, who had been president of the channel before becoming president and CEO of parent company A&E Television Networks in March.
“Bob’s had an incredible track record,” Ms. Raven said. A brief search was conducted, and the selection of Mr. DeBitetto “speaks volumes about the team we’ve had here at A&E for the past 21/2 years.”
Mr. DeBitetto joined A&E as senior VP of programming in 2003 from Turner Broadcasting, where he was president of original programming for TNT and oversaw TNT Originals. He was promoted to executive VP of programming at A&E earlier this year.
Since 2003, when the network was losing audience, the network has launched “Dog,” “Growing Up Gotti” and “Intervention” and acquired new series, including “CSI: Miami,” “24” and “The Sopranos.”
During that time A&E ratings have grown 40 percent among adults 25 to 54 and 62 percent among adults 18 to 49, according to Nielsen Media Research data.
As general manager Mr. DeBitetto will assume leadership for the network, design its strategic plan and take responsibility for marketing brand development, public relations and on-air promotion.
He will also be in charge of A&E’s related networks, Biography and the Crime & Investigation Network.
Programming responsibilities for A&E will be divided among current staffers, who will be given broader responsibilities, Ms. Raven said.
The appointment will free Ms. Raven to concentrate on strategy for the holding company and focus “on where we as a premier entertainment company go next for the future.”
One area she will look at is the impact of technology on AETN’s business. “We have two of the most successful cable networks and we’re trying to use those platforms to build the business,” she said.
Departments including ad sales and affiliate sales will continue to be part of the holding company, but they work hand in hand with the general managers of the networks, Ms. Raven said.