Dan Davids

The History Channel

By Published on .

It's often been said that history repeats itself. Luckily for The History Channel, Dan Davids is repeating himself as the top executive at the network.

Mr. Davids, 55, who now serves as president of History, was front and center when the channel launched in 1995. And then-after a stint at History's mothership, A&E Network-he returned to History three years ago.

At the time, History had gone through a three-year period of stagnant ratings in prime time. But that picture changed dramatically. Between yearend 2002 and yearend 2005, prime-time ratings bumped up 25%. Last year turned out to be History Channel's best year ever. In the rankings of cable channels delivering adults 25-54, History climbed up three notches to No. 10. It also rose three notches, to No. 6, among men 25-54. And it had a personal best in the men 18-49 category, too.

Mr. Davids has focused on big-event specials and series to "young up" the audience. Notable among them is the series "Digging for the Truth," hosted by the photogenic, adventurous Josh Bernstein. Now in its second season, the show remains History's No. 1 series of all time in both adults 25-54 and 18-49 impressions. The show relies on rich online content , such as Mr. Bernstein's personal blog, an online discussion and a current contest sponsored by Outback Steakhouse in which users track clues from Mr. Bernstein's search for Shangri-la.

Expanding the audience for the network is something that Mr. Davids, considers one of his greatest achievements. But like many a network executive, Mr. Davids says History faces a major challenge with an increasingly fragmented media environment. But he's not without his secret weapons. Look for the announcement of a new platform expansion some time this month.

Notable areas of growth:
* Its "Save our History," program is backed by Bank of America, Lowe's and others.
* Eleven years after its launch, History Channel reaches 89 million households.
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