History Channel President/GM Dirk Hoogstra is history: Jana Bennett has replaced him in the role, effectively immediately.
Hoogstra will head back to his roots in independent production; Bennett hails from A+E Networks FYI and LMN, where she also had the title of president. A search for her replacement there is already underway. In her new digs, Bennett will oversee all strategic planning, programming, marketing and brand development for History and H2 from New York City.
Under Bennett’s watchful eye, FYI was rebranded from BIO last year. It’s since grown by double digits in the ratings, securing itself as the top upscale entertainment network on ad-supported cable. LMN has seen similar — but less dramatic — improvement in Nielsen numbers during her tenure.
Prior to joining A+E Networks, Bennett (pictured above) was president of BBC Worldwide Networks & Global BBC iPlayer. During her role at BBC Worldwide, she was responsible for 16 branded channels, across 100 countries, reaching 380 million subscriber homes. Before that, Bennett headed up BBC Television where she was responsible for the BBC’s 6 free-to-air channels in the U.K.
“Jana has one of the strongest track records building and shaping global brands — first at the BBC and now here at A+E Networks,” Nancy Dubuc, president and chief executive officer of A+E Networks, said. “She joined our company with the mandate to take our networks into new and exciting places and what she’s done with FYI in such a short amount of time is remarkable. History and H2 will greatly benefit from her creative prowess and steady stewardship.”
“I have long been a fan of Jana’s work, particularly with what she’s done with FYI and LMN,” Paul Buccieri, president of A&E and History, added. “Her vast experience in all genres of programming, marketing, distribution and digital is unparalleled and I’m very much looking forward to working with her at History.”
“We thank Dirk for his many contributions to History,” continued Buccieri, who Bennett will report to. “He was the force behind some of the network’s greatest successes that helped propel History to become one of entertainment’s top brands.”
“I have a passion for history — where we’ve come from and where we are headed,” said Bennett. “I am thrilled that I have been asked by Nancy and Paul to lead the team that will bring one of the strongest and most respected brands across the globe into new and exciting territory.”