How Nancy Dubuc Keeps a $26 Billion Company on Top

Courtesy of A&E

The THR Power 100 honoree and president and CEO of A+E Television Networks is launching homegrown hits ('UnREAL'), swinging for the fences ('Roots' reboot) and investing in young men (Viceland).

A version of this story first appeared in the Dec. 18 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

The ad-supported cable industry is under assault, and sources of the incoming fire are numerous: cord-cutters and cord-nevers, skinny bundles and a la carte, mobile and over-the-top. To say nothing of a creative crisis in cable’s unscripted landscape that has sent ratings into a nosedive. So what is the CEO of a cable network group — one with $4 billion in annual revenue, 500 employees and a valuation of more than $26 billion — to do in the face of such challenges? Invest and diversify. Since being upped to her current post atop the company in 2013, Dubuc has led AETN’s initial $250 million investment in Vice Media. More recently, she hammered out a deal with Vice CEO Shane Smith to rebrand History spinoff H2 into Viceland as well as up A+E’s stake in the company to nearly 20 percent. "Our venture with them allows us to diversify our portfolio's category reach and elevates a key asset in the new distribution paradigm," she says. At the same time, the married mother of two is investing in homegrown scripted projects via A+E Studios, which launched in 2013, and this year found a critical darling in Lifetime’s UnREAL. The studio now is in production on a reboot of the epic miniseries Roots with an A-list cast that includes Forest Whitaker, Anna Paquin and Jonathan Rhys Meyers.

WHAT I WISH I KNEW WHEN I FIRST STARTED IN HOLLYWOOD “Achievement isn’t the only currency.”

I’M STILL STARSTRUCK BY George Lucas and Mary J. Blige

SUPERPOWER I WISH I HAD “Wonder Woman’s invisible (or even visible) jet.”

INDUSTRY PET PEEVE “People who say something is great in the room when everyone knows it’s not.”

MY QUIRKIEST HABIT “I play Scrabble on my iPad before lights out every night.”


Other Power Squad honorees: Shari Redstone, Bonnie Hammer, Elizabeth Banks, Cindy Holland, Kathleen Kennedy, Donna LangleyJennifer Lawrence, Dana Walden, Megyn Kelly, Shonda Rhimes, Viola Davis, Kerry Washington, Ilene Chaiken, Taraji P. Henson, Barbara Broccoli, Amy Schumer