NEW YORK - A&E Networks is flying high: History found gold with Hatfields & McCoys, The Bible and Vikings this past year. A&E's Duck Dynasty set records with 9.6 million viewers for last month's finale and Lifetime also is on the upswing.
Executives touted those gains and new projects to advertisers at a presentation Wednesday at Lincoln Center.
• A&E, currently in its first season of Psycho prequel Bates Motel, is preparing a new scripted drama, Those Who Kill, starring Chloe Sevigny as a detective tracking a serial killer. It also is planning an unscripted series about stay-at-home dads.
• History has a Houdini miniseries starring Adrien Brody, an unscripted series about daredevils and a real-life version of Hatfields.
• Lifetime plans Devious Maids, a soap from Desperate Housewives producer Marc Cherry originally developed for ABC, due in June. Also on tap: Witches of East End, a drama starring Julia Ormond, Jenna Dewan-Tatum and Madchen Amick, and miniseries Bonnie & Clyde, starring Holly Hunter and William Hurt, that will be simulcast on A&E and History.
The three main networks, History, A&E and Lifetime, represent three of the top six networks among women ages 25 to 54, a key target, and are all top-15 networks among all viewers.
All six of its networks gained audience last year, an "amazing stride," says chairman Abbe Raven in prepared remarks to advertisers. And "on the strength of this unprecedented growth of our portfolio, A&E Networks is now the second largest cable group in the nation" among that crowd.