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A+E Upfront Highlights Women, Sidesteps Vice

NEW YORK — The A+E Networks upfront presentation Thursday night mostly sidestepped the prior week’s big personnel news and emphasized, with an array of female stars, the programmer’s commitment and appeal to women viewers.

Notably absent from the event at the New York Public Library was former A+E Networks CEO Nancy Dubuc, who has left to take the top spot at Vice Media.

The only extended mention of Vice and its A+E joint-venture network Viceland came during a presentation by Meg Gill, star of unscripted series Beerland.

Gill joined a lineup representing various parts of the A+E Networks portfolio — including Leah Remini and Marcia Clark (A&E), Toni Braxton and Queen Latifah (Lifetime) and Olivia Munn (History) — furthering an emphasis on storytelling.

Abbe Raven, back as acting CEO, set the tone, relating how she worked at the New York Public Library as a teen. “A&E, History, Lifetime, LMN, FYI and Viceland are iconic brands that each have their own unique swagger and cultural relevance, and have forged a connection with our audience that is stronger than ever in today’s crowded media landscape,” she said.

Of course, there also were announcements about new programs and deals. Lifetime inked production pacts with Latifah, who starred in original movie Flint, and Braxton, who starred in Faith Under Fire, for a mix of documentaries and original movies to air later this year. They include Latifah’s Where Did the Women of Hip Hop Go? and a one-hour special on the remake of 1990s hip-hop song U.N.I.TY.

Lifetime slated September debuts for scripted series You and Rob Lowe-produced original movie The Bad Seed.

History set plans for History 100, a series of projects documenting the most influential events of the last century, and July 8 special Evel Live, where motorsports pro Travis Pastrana will recreate three of daredevil Evel Knievel’s most dangerous stunt jumps.