A+E Networks Set for Upfront With Content Ready to Run

Whenever advertisers are ready to make their upfront buys, A+E Networks has programming ready for them.

Paul Buccieri, group president at A+E Networks

Paul Buccieri, group president at A+E Networks (Image credit: A+E Networks)

At a time when the COVID-19 crisis has bottled up production, Paul Buccieri, group president at A+E Networks, said his channels are in production 52 weeks a year. They have more than 1,000 hours of content that hasn’t been on the air and another thousand hours in post production.

That’s enough content to take A+E Networks all the way through the third quarter of 2021, Buccieri said. And it’s big name content. Producers and stars working for A+E including President Bill Clinton, Robin Roberts, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jeff Foxworthy, Betty White and Jamie Lee Curtis.

“In a time of uncertainty, we’re providing certainty,” he said. At A+E, advertisers can buy shows their familiar with, or watch full episodes of shows that haven’t been on the air yet.

“I think that’s a differentiator between us and some of our competitors, who don’t have the product produced yet.”

A+E produced a star-studded virtual upfront tape back in March. Peter Olsen, A+E’s executive VP for ad sales said it’s collected more than 500 views.

“I think clients have been impressed with this kind of continuity message,” Olsen said. “We can point to what the content is going to be.”

Olsen said that recent conversations with clients have started to sound like typical pre-upfront conversation. “There’s been that hint of optimism and normalcy returning to the dialog,” he said.

“Some clients want to go down the path of innovation and targeting and guaranteed outcomes. Some just want to go back and get their spots on the air,” Olsen said. “We’re taking a flexible approach and really listening to what their needs are, timing-wise. Whether it’s this summer or this fall or in between, we’re prepared for all those scenarios.”

In terms of programming, A&E Network has a new live series coming up, an auction series hosted by Jeff Foxworthy called What’s It Worth? Live.

Speaking of live, the network has ordered 160 new episodes of Live PD.

A&E also has a new project with WWE called The Quest for Lost WWE Treasures.

History is announcing a documentary series with President Clinton that will explore the history of the American presidency. The network is expanding its partnership with Appian Way, RadicalMedia and historian Doris Kearns Goodwin by greenlighting three miniseries: Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and The Men Who Built America 2, executive produced by DiCaprio.

Sara Cunningham (left) and Jamie Lee Curtis

Sara Cunningham (left) and Jamie Lee Curtis (Image credit: A+E Networks)

History is also teaming up with foodie Adam Richman for a second season of The Food That Built America. Richman will also be hosting a new series with the working title American Made, about the creators of America’s most groundbreaking inventions.

Lifetime is marking its 30th anniversary of original movies this year and has more than 50 new movies set to premiere over the course of the rest of 2020.

Talent involved in the latest crop of films including Jamie Lee Curtis, Robin Roberts, Kelly Rowland, Mario Lopez, Melissa Joan Hart and Betty White.

Curtis is executive producing, directing and staring in How We Sleep at Night: The Sara Cunningham Story, which is a true story about a devout Christian mother who comes to terms with her son being gay.

White will be in one of Lifetime holiday movies. Despite the production issues affecting the industry, Lifetime expects to have as many holiday movies as last year. Christmas films will feature Kelly Rowland, Melissa Joan Hart and Mario Lopez.

Lifetime is also working on a third movie about the formerly royal couple with the working title Harry & Meghan: Escaping the Palace.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.