A&E (TV channel)
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (August 2011)|
|Launched||February 1, 1984
(as a program block on Nickelodeon)
(as a 24 hour channel)
|Owned by||A+E Networks
(Hearst Corporation (50%), Disney–ABC Television Group (50%))
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)
480i (16:9 letterbox SDTV)
|Slogan||Real Life. Drama.|
|Broadcast area||United States and Canada|
|Headquarters||New York City, New York, United States|
|Formerly called||Arts & Entertainment Network
The Biography Channel
Lifetime Movie Network
Lifetime Real Women
|Dish Network||118 (HD/SD)
|Bell TV (Canada)||615 (SD)
|Shaw Direct (Canada)||520 (SD)
|Available on most U.S. and Canadian cable providers||Check local cable listings, channels may vary|
|Bell Fibe TV (Canada)||1615 (HD)
|AT&T U-verse||1132 (HD)
|Telus TV (Canada)||670 (HD)
A&E (an initialism for its former name, the Arts & Entertainment Network), is an American cable and satellite television channel that serves as the flagship television property of A+E Networks, a joint venture between the Hearst Corporation and Disney–ABC Television Group (both of which maintain a 50% ownership interest). The channel is headquartered in New York City and operates offices in Atlanta, Georgia; Chicago, Illinois; Detroit, Michigan; London, England; Los Angeles, California and Stamford, Connecticut. The U.S. version of the channel is shown in Canada while international versions exist for Australia and Latin America. The network plans a major launch in Europe during 2014 with several local versions.
The channel, which originally focused programming on biographies, documentaries, and drama series (especially crime dramas and mysteries), has expanded to include reality television programming. As of August 2013, approximately 98,302,000 American households (86.08% of households with television) receive the A&E channel.
A&E launched on February 1, 1984, initially available to 9.3 million cable television homes in the U.S. and Canada. The network is a result of the 1984 merger of Hearst/ABC's Alpha Repertory Television Service (ARTS) and (pre–General Electric merger) RCA-owned The Entertainment Channel. When A&E debuted, the channel took over the satellite transponder timeslot that ARTS occupied from its launch in 1981. Children's television channel Nickelodeon signed off just before 9 p.m. Eastern Time, and A&E took over at 9 p.m. with a three-hour programming block, which was repeated at 9 p.m. Pacific Time. In January 1985, A&E moved to its own dedicated transponder and began delivering its programming 24 hours a day, while Nickelodeon replaced the vacated A&E programming with a classic television block called Nick at Nite on July 1 of that year. However, some cable providers continued to carry Nickelodeon and A&E on the same channel and would usually switch over A&E at 8 p.m. Eastern. It was not until the early 1990s that these companies found separate channels for both networks.
A&E was envisioned as a commercial counterpart to PBS, and in its early days focused on such PBS-style programming as the Leonard Bernstein Fidelio, filmed in 1978. Later it began to add programming originally seen on commercial networks, such as reruns of Columbo; Breaking Away; Quincy; The Equalizer; Law & Order; and Night Court. Highbrow British mysteries including Agatha Christie's Poirot; Cracker; Dalziel and Pascoe; Inspector Morse; Lovejoy; Midsomer Murders, the Joan Hickson Miss Marple series and Sherlock Holmes were also featured; several of these series were produced in association with A&E. By 1990, A&E's original programming accounted for 35 to 40 percent of the network's program content.
A&E's signature show was Biography, a one-hour documentary series that A&E revived in 1987. In 1994, airings of Biography went from weekly broadcasts to airing five nights a week, which helped boost A&E's ratings to record levels. The nightly series became A&E's top-rated show and one of cable television's most notable successes. Biography received primetime Emmy Awards in 1999 and 2002.
In May 1995, the channel's name officially changed to the A&E Network, to reflect its declining focus on arts and entertainment. By 1997, the network had branded itself as simply A&E, and was using the slogans "Time Well Spent" and "Escape the Ordinary."
"The word 'arts,' in regard to television, has associations such as 'sometimes elitist,' 'sometimes boring,' 'sometimes overly refined' and 'doesn't translate well to TV,'" Whitney Goit, executive vice president for sales and marketing, stated. "Even the arts patron often finds arts on TV not as satisfying as it should be ... And the word 'entertainment' is too vague. Therefore, much like ESPN uses its letters rather than what they stand for – Entertainment Sports (Programming) Network – we decided to go to just A&E." Of the network's tagline, Goit said, "Intellectually, 'Time well spent' defines a comparison between those who view a lot of television as a wasteland, and their acknowledgment that there are good things on TV and that they'd like to watch more thought-provoking TV."
A&E commissioned Horatio Hornblower (1999), winner of two Emmy Awards, and the seven subsequent dramas in the series; Dash and Lilly (1999), which received nine Emmy nominations; and The Crossing (2000), which won the Peabody Award. The network created two original weekly drama series, Sidney Lumet's 100 Centre Street and Nero Wolfe (both of which lasted from 2001 to 2002).
In the summer of 2002, A&E underwent an overhaul in management which moved the network's focus toward reality television in order to attract a younger demographic and cancelled the network's two original scripted series. In May 2003, A&E launched a marketing campaign with the network's new tagline, "The Art of Entertainment." Between 2003 and 2007, the channel gradually retired several long-running series, moving its classic mysteries to The Biography Channel and cancelling Breakfast with the Arts, in favor of reality programming such as Dog the Bounty Hunter, Gene Simmons Family Jewels, Growing Up Gotti, Family Plots, Airline, Inked, King of Cars and Criss Angel Mindfreak. In addition, A&E had garnered favorable notice for true-crime documentary series such as Cold Case Files, American Justice, City Confidential, Investigative Reports and The First 48. The network also cut back on its broadcasts of Biography from originally twice daily to weekend mornings only.
The changes were criticized as causing A&E to become an aberration of its original focus on fine arts programming. For example, Maury Chaykin reflected on the cancellation of the A&E original series A Nero Wolfe Mystery in a 2008 interview: "I'm a bit jaded and cynical about which shows succeed on television. I worked on a fantastic show once called Nero Wolfe, but at the time A&E was transforming from the premiere intellectual cable network in America to one that airs Dog the Bounty Hunter on repeat, so it was never promoted and eventually went off the air."
The docudrama Flight 93, about the hijacking of the plane which crashed in Pennsylvania during the September 11, 2001 attacks was the most watched program on the network; it attracted 5.9 million viewers for its initial telecast on January 30, 2006. This was later surpassed by Duck Dynasty's fourth season premiere. The previous record-holder for the network was a World War II docudrama, Ike: Countdown to D-Day, starring Tom Selleck and broadcast in 2004, with 5.5 million viewers. A&E later acquired rights to rerun the critically acclaimed HBO series The Sopranos; its A&E premiere on January 10, 2007, averaged 3.86 million viewers, making it the most-watched premiere of a rerun off-network series in cable television history at the time. The series has continued to perform well for A&E, and the network now regularly ranks in the top ten basic U.S. cable channels in prime time ratings.
On May 26, 2008, in conjunction with the premiere of the original film The Andromeda Strain, A&E rebranded with a new logo and slogan, Real Life. Drama., with the new logo being an altered version of the older logo, along with a larger ampersand equal to the letters. At the same time, A&E began a heavy cross-promotional campaign of on-screen graphics promoting other programs as well as various features of the A&E website. Each segment of each program aired on A&E now contains one program and one website cross-promotional graphic.
As part of its continuing efforts to include more scripted shows, A&E ordered several dramas for Fall 2009. Among them were projects from Jerry Bruckheimer, Shawn Ryan and Lynda Obst, and a western miniseries from Kevin Costner. Several unscripted series were also renewed or ordered for fall, including Intervention, The First 48, Gene Simmons Family Jewels, Dog the Bounty Hunter, Crime 360, Criss Angel Mindfreak, Paranormal State, Manhunters, Storage Wars, Parking Wars and Shipping Wars.
In June 2009, it was reported that A&E Television Networks was in discussions to acquire Lifetime (then jointly owned by two of A&E's then-three corporate parents, Hearst and Disney). The transaction was eventually consummated on August 27, 2009.
In 2011, A&E introduced a brand new series called Beyond Scared Straight, based on the original 1978 documentary film, which follows troubled juveniles on a jail tour, followed by updates on their post-prison behavior. In July 2012, NBCUniversal sold its 15% stake in network parent A+E Networks to Hearst and Disney (which each owned a 42.5% interest in the company), making the two companies 50/50 partners in the joint venture.
A&E is presently known for reality series such as Dog the Bounty Hunter, Intervention, Storage Wars, Duck Dynasty, Criss Angel Mindfreak, and Paranormal State. It also broadcasts a limited amount of scripted original programming including The Glades, Bates Motel, and Longmire.
In its original format, the network had often shown programming from abroad, particularly BBC network productions from the United Kingdom. Examples of British programming frequently broadcast on the channel included the documentary Freud. However, the broadcast of British programming on A&E has diminished greatly since it began incorporating more reality shows onto its schedule. For example, the network waited almost a year and a half to show the fourth series of Spooks, retitled as MI-5, first airing it after prime time on Friday nights at 11 p.m. Eastern, before pulling the series after only two episodes, it later aired the rest of the season's episodes in a day-long marathon on October 21, 2006.
Its fine arts programming have also been completely removed from the channel's schedule. Thursday nights once featured an anthology series called A&E Stage, hosted by Tammy Grimes and later John Mauceri, which featured telecasts of notable plays, concerts, full-length documentaries related to the arts, and complete operas, although shown with commercials. Such programs as Otto Schenk's 1978 production of Fidelio, with Leonard Bernstein conducting, were rebroadcast on this anthology, as well as an adaption of Agatha Christie's Spider's Web, starring Penelope Keith, originally broadcast in the UK on December 26, 1982. The final fine arts-related show to air on the network, Breakfast with the Arts, once featured a higher quantity of classical music than in its final years, and fewer interviews. The show was cancelled in July 2007.
Movies and miniseries
Notable movies and miniseries produced or co-produced by the A&E Network include the following:
- Pride and Prejudice (1995)
- Emma (1996)
- Jane Eyre (1997)
- The Pale Horse (1997)
- The Ebb-Tide (1998)
- Tess of the D'Urberviles (1998)
- Vanity Fair (1998)
- Murder in a Small Town (1999)
- The Lady in Question (1999)
- P.T. Barnum (1999)
- The Scarlet Pimpernel (1999)
- Small Vices (1999)
- The Golden Spiders: A Nero Wolfe Mystery (2000)
- The Great Gatsby (2000)
- Longitude (2000)
- Lorna Doone (2000)
- Thin Air (2000)
- The Lost Battalion (2001)
- The Lost World (2001)
- Victoria & Albert (2001)
- Walking Shadow (2001)
- Lathe of Heaven (2002)
- The Magnificent Ambersons (2002)
- Napoléon (2002)
- Shackleton (2002)
- Benedict Arnold: A Question of Honor (2003)
- The Mayor of Casterbridge (2003)
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (March 2009)|
A&E HD is a 1080i high definition simulcast feed of A&E that launched on September 4, 2006. It has found a home on many cable and satellite systems in Canada but was until recently rare in the U.S. However, A&E HD is in the process of becoming more widely available in the U.S., since Comcast, the largest US cable provider, is expanding the number of systems including A&E HD in its lineup in preparation of greater competition from HD satellite service. A&E HD is notable for being one of several cable networks stretching standard definition content horizontally to fill the display area of widescreen HDTVs, rather than preserving the original aspect ratio of 4:3.
- Carmody, John, "The TV Column"; The Washington Post, May 2, 1995. "The Arts & Entertainment cable network has officially changed its name to A&E Network."
- Seidman, Robert (August 23, 2013). "List of How Many Homes Each Cable Networks Is In - Cable Network Coverage Estimates As Of August 2013". TV by the Numbers. Zap2it. Retrieved August 25, 2013.
- Parisi, Paula, "New look bows A&E's 2nd 10"; The Hollywood Reporter, December 29, 1993
- "Freud, Warts and All, Sits for the Camera". The New York Times. January 20, 1985. Retrieved April 24, 2008.
- Hoover's Company Records, July 12, 2011
- Gay, Verne (Newsday), "Biography: Top Show on Cable's A&E Network"; St. Louis Post-Dispatch, August 21, 1996
- Awards for Biography at the Internet Movie Database
- de Moraes, Lisa (May 9, 2008). "On TV". The Washington Post.
- Ross, Chuck, "Cable Marketer of the Year: A&E"; Advertising Age, December 8, 1997
- Salamon, Julie, "When Group Therapy Means Coming Clean on TV"; The New York Times, June 22, 2004. "Two years ago Nick Davatzes, president and chief executive of A&E Television Networks, called his executives to a retreat, to 'wallow in the mud,' as he described the exercise. From that wallowing emerged an overhaul in management and outlook, including the conclusion that reality television could not be ignored if the network wanted younger viewers."
- Friedman, Wayne, "Strategy shift: A&E focuses on entertainment"; Advertising Age, May 5, 2003
- "A&E: Biography". A&E Television Networks. Archived from the original on July 16, 2007. Retrieved August 1, 2007.
- Farquharson, Vanessa, "Whole lot of Chaykin going on"; National Post, August 21, 2008. "After some initial advertising for the April second season premiere, A&E stopped publicizing the show," Scarlet Street magazine (No. 46, p. 20) reported in late 2002.
- Steve Rosenbaum (February 1, 2006). ""Flight 93" Breaks A&E Records". Docu-Blog/Steve's POV. Archived from the original on October 18, 2006. Retrieved September 30, 2006.
- Anthony Crupi (January 15, 2007). "Time to Collect: A&E's Sopranos Bet Pays Off". Mediaweek.com. Archived from the original on October 8, 2007. Retrieved February 13, 2007.
- Fitzgerald, Toni (February 14, 2007). "True grit: Remaking the A&E network". MediaLifeMagazine. Retrieved March 21, 2007.[dead link]
- MediaPost Publications Home of MediaDailyNews, MEDIA and OMMA Magazines
- "A&E Orders Bruckheimer Pilot; Renews Nine Shows". The Live Feed. May 12, 2009.
- NBCU Looks for Lifetime Stake, Mediaweek, June 4, 2009
- Disney, Hearst, NBC in Talks on Cable Joint Venture, New York Times, June 4, 2009
- Disney, Hearst, NBC Universal Talk AETN Restructuring, Broadcasting & Cable, June 3, 2009
- A&E Acquires Lifetime, Variety.com, August 27, 2009
- A&E Networks, Lifetime Merger Completed, Broadcasting & Cable, August 27, 2009
- Goldsmith, Jill (July 10, 2012). "Comcast to sell A&E stake for $3 billion: A&E to redeem the 15.8% stake". Sacramento Bee. Retrieved July 11, 2012.
- Rose, Lacey (October 9, 2013). "A&E Unveils New 'Be Original' Tagline as Part of Rebranding". The Hollywood Reporter.
- Kondolojy, Amanda (October 9, 2013). "A&E Network to Unveil New Network Identity Across All Platforms". TV by the Numbers.
- "A&E Unveils New Logo, Tagline". Deadline Hollywood. October 9, 2013.
- "TV stokes desperate hunger for fame". CNN. November 30, 2009.
- Matt Roush (September 29, 2006). "MI-5: Is It MIA?". TVGuide.com. Retrieved September 30, 2006.
- Becker, Anne, "A&E Slates New Music Show; Intimate 'Sessions' aimed at mainstream tastes"; Broadcasting and Cable, July 15, 2007
- aetv.com, A&E's official website
- A&E Latin America Site
- AETN Corporate Site
- A&E Community Site
- Biography Channel
- Biography Community Site
- The History Channel
- History Channel Community Site