A&E and Lifetime Channels Complete Their Merger
By BILL CARTER
The long-anticipated merger of the cable channels A&E and Lifetime was completed on Thursday as the companies that jointly owned the channels announced a deal that will place Abbe Raven, the current president of A&E, in charge of the combined entity.
The Walt Disney Company, the Hearst Corporation and NBC Universal announced the agreement, which has been in the works for several months. The deal, which still requires some last-minute international regulatory approval, calls for A&E Television Networks to acquire Lifetime Entertainment Services.
The new unit will continue to be called A&E Television Networks, with Lifetime Entertainment Services as a subsidiary. Specific financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The chief executive of Lifetime, Andrea Wong, will now report to Ms. Raven.
Ms. Raven, who has been at A&E and its predecessor companies since 1984, noted that the new entity has three of the top 10 entertainment cable channels by ratings: A&E, History and Lifetime. The new company will encompass 10 channels, including digital versions, and 20 Web sites, Ms. Raven said.
One advantage of the combination will be demographic reach, Ms. Raven said. Lifetime, with shows like “Project Runway” and a new drama, “Drop Dead Diva,” is among the strongest cable channels in reaching women; History, with reality shows like “Ice Road Truckers,” is among the strongest in reaching men.
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I’m an avid Lifetime Movie Network fan. Yeah, I’m addicted to that channel, especially when there’s nothing else on the hundreds of channels on cable tv. They show some interesting movies on LMN.
As for A&E, well that channel has made a dramatic change from when I first started watching it years ago. It’s gone from having some really interesting shows which you can now find on the Biography Channel to being taken over by reality shows. For a while they were showing repeats of one of my favorite tv shows, Third Watch but you don’t see that show on A&E anymore.