TV Upfront

A&E to Feature Women Leaders And Creators In Advertiser Pitch

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A&E Networks will use its upfront pitch to advertiser to highlight its women leaders and creators.

Amid the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, A&E is looking to show media agencies and their clients that the company, whose networks include History and Lifetime, has a long history of empowering women both in front of and behind the camera.

Abbe Raven
Abbe Raven Credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

To this end, network talent like Toni Braxton, who will star in Lifetime's original movie "Faith Under Fire;" Marcia Clark who headlines the A&E true-crime show "Marcia Clark Investigates the First 48;" Kristin Davis, who is part of Biography's series "History, Herstory;" Meg Gill from Viceland's "Beerland;" Olivia Munn, who joined History's "Six;" soccer star Mallory Pugh; Queen Latifah, who tops the Lifetime movie "Flint;" and Leah Remini, whose show on Scientology has been renewed for a third season, will take the stage Thursday night to tell inspiration stories from their career and personal lives.

Abbe Raven, who became acting chairman this week following the departure of CEO Nancy Dubuc to Vice Media, will open up the presentation at the New York Public Library. Raven, who was Dubuc's predecessor, retired from A&E in 2015 after more than three decades at the company.

"We started this conversation back in December," says Peter Olsen, exec VP of national sales at A&E Networks. "What struck us is [that] we had a 15 year run with Abbe and Nancy as CEOs. We had a history of putting the right people forward no matter the gender. You can't talk about it and hashtag it, you need to empower people. This isn't something new for this company, it has been part of our culture for a long time."

During the presentation, A&E executives will be discussing the company's commitment to "Biography," which was relaunched on A&E last spring, and Lifetime's investment in movies.

History also announced a slate of documentary films, akin to ESPN's "30 For 30," with the working title "History 100." The documentaries will focus on some of the most compelling historical events of the last 100 years.

Olsen will also talk up the company's efforts in helping to build an attribution model that helps prove TV commercials drive business results. A&E, along with several other network groups, have been testing methodology out of analytics company Data Plus Math.

The first of the results of these tests have started to come in, Olsen says, and he expects to do more such deals during the upfronts.

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