Paul Buccieri Exits ITV, Hired for Top A+E Networks Job (Exclusive)

Paul Buccieri  - P 2013
ITV Studios America

He will oversee A&E and History

Paul Buccieri is leaving ITV Studios and has joined A+E Networks in a senior role.

"I'm thrilled to be joining the A+E Networks family," said Buccieri in a statement. “I want to thank ITV for an incredible seven year journey. I could not be more appreciative of all the wonderful people I’ve worked with during my time there."

The veteran executive, who has served as chairman of the U.S. Group at television behemoth ITV, will take a key role atop A+E cable networks, History and A&E. He will report directly to A+E Networks CEO Nancy Dubuc, with whom he has worked on ITV series including Duck Dynasty, Pawn Stars and The First 48. Buccieri will likely start early next year.

"Paul and I have a longstanding professional relationship going back to our early programming days on some of A&E’s biggest hits. I could not be more excited that he is joining the A+E Networks family. Paul is one of those unique executives who brings both strong leadership skills and business acumen to the creative process," said Dubuc in a statement. “He is also a brilliant strategist. As the media landscape continues to evolve, Paul will be looking at the future of our powerful brands with a macro vision."

The hire is a reflection of the changing needs of a fast-evolving TV marketplace, and the expanding job requirements of those who work within it. Even half a decade ago, the primary responsibilities of a top network executive were primarily centered on producing and marketing hit shows. Now, in addition to those duties, execs at that level also have to be thinking strategically about different models of creating content, different platforms for said content, a rapidly changing ad market and the measurement and monetization of viewership, all in ways that they never had to before.

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In a bid to satisfy that range of needs at two of A+E's most lucrative networks, Dubuc is expected to keep History general manager Dirk Hoogstra and A&E GM David McKillop in their current roles, where they'll remain largely dedicated to programming. Buccieri, for his part, will be more focused on the larger business needs of the two networks. He brings with him a firm understanding of different ways of modeling content creation and distribution and the importance of owning as much content as possible.

Among the other draws: Buccieri is particularly adept at managing creatives, and should be able to attract to the company the top producers, writers and directors with whom he has relationships. Having Buccieri in place will also relieve Dubuc from some of the day-to-day network responsibilities for which she no longer has the time or bandwidth in her current role. That said, he'll likely work closely with her as the pair looks at how best to exploit the company's vast library and rethinks distribution strategies. Buccieri's entrance likely will coincide with chairman Abbe Raven's exit, and he's likely to provide Dubuc with some of the business savvy that Raven had.

To date, A&E has been a lean, tight-knit company, where the top brass has worked its way up the corporate ladder as Dubuc did. Exceptions include Jana Bennett, who was brought aboard in 2013 to run FYI, and former ABC Studios boss Barry Jossen, who joined veteran Bob DeBitetto earlier this year to head up the newly formed A+E Studio. Given all of the change that had surrounded Dubuc's 2013 promotion to CEO — including a network rebrand from Bio to FYI and the addition of a studio — Dubuc is said to have been hesitant to bring in an outsider, albeit one who has a strong and lengthy relationship with her and her team, for that job until now.

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At ITV, Buccieri has overseen a TV empire in rapid expansion mode, thanks to an acquisition spree that had him scooping up production companies including Leftfield Entertainment (Pawn Stars), Gurney Productions (Duck Dynasty), High Noon Entertainment (Cake Boss) and Thinkfactory Media (4th and Loud). The well \-respected exec joined ITV in 2007 as president and CEO of the U.S. Group, and grew the company's business by 40 percent in year one. Prior to that, he had served as president of programming, production and development for Fox's 20th Television division, where at one point he was overseeing 500 hours of programming. Buccieri landed there after working as an executive producer under a three-year overall deal with Endemol USA.

Nov. 4, 9:18 a.m. Updated with statement and confirmation from A+E Networks.