Cable Programming Executive Jana Bennett Dies

Jana Bennett
Jana Bennett (Image credit: A+E Networks)

Veteran programming executive and former History Channel president Jana Bennett died Thursday at 66.

Bennett, in a 2019 interview with The Evening Standard, revealed that she was suffering from a brain tumor and was supporting research focusing on the disease.  

Bennett served as History Channel’s president and general manager from 2015 to 2017, overseeing the production of such hit series as Roots and Vikings. Named as a Multichannel News Wonder Woman in 2017, Bennett originally joined A+E Networks in 2013 to oversee the rebrand of BIO into FYI. Bennett also oversaw operations for TLC in the late 1990s.

Prior to A+E, Bennett ran British-based BBC Worldwide from 2010 to 2012, part of a multi-decade stint at the BBC. 

“All of us at A+E Networks deeply mourn the loss of our friend and colleague Jana Bennett,” Paul Buccieri, president & chairman, A+E Networks said in a statement. “Jana had an extraordinary career in media and her contributions to the A+E Networks family are too enormous to count. She was a groundbreaking, game-changing, generous and beautiful person. She will be terribly missed by all of us, and especially by me. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family at this time.” ■ 

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.