A&E (TV network)

  (Redirected from A&E Network)

A&E is an American pay television network, the flagship television property of A&E Networks. The network focuses primarily on non-fiction programming, including reality docusoaps, true crime, and documentary miniseries.

A&E Network logo.svg
CountryUnited States
Broadcast areaUnited States
SloganWe are A&E
HeadquartersNew York City, New York, U.S.
Picture format1080i (HDTV)
(480i letterboxed for the SDTV feed)
OwnerA&E Networks
(Hearst Communications/Disney Media Networks)
Sister channels
LaunchedFebruary 1, 1984; 36 years ago (1984-02-01)
ReplacedAlpha Repertory Television Service
The Entertainment Channel
Former names
  • Arts & Entertainment Network (1984–1995)
  • A&E Network (1995–1997)
Available on most cable providersChannel slots may vary on each operator
Orby TVChannel 110 (HD)
Dish NetworkChannel 118 (HD)
DirecTVChannel 265
Shaw Direct (Canada)Channel 520 (SD)
Channel 124 (HD)
Bell Satellite TV (Canada)Channel 615 (SD)
Channel 1721 (HD)
DirecTV CaribbeanChannel 256
Verizon FiOSChannel 181 (SD)
Channel 681 (HD)
Optik TV (Canada)Channel 300 (HD; east)
Channel 9300 (SD; West)
Bell Fibe TV (Canada)Channel 615 (SD)
Channel 1615 (HD)
Zazeen (Canada)Channel 86 (HD)
VMedia (Canada)Channel 270 (HD)
Gemstelecom (Canada)Channel 101 (HD)
Streaming media
Philo, FuboTV, Sling TV, AT&T TV

The network was originally founded in 1984 as the Arts & Entertainment Network, initially focusing on fine arts, documentaries (including its then-flagship series Biography), and dramas (including imported series from the United Kingdom). In 1995, the network rebranded as A&E, in an effort to downplay the negative perceptions of arts programming and generally market the network as a "thought-provoking" alternative to other television channels. In 2002, at the expense of its arts programming, A&E began to gradually focus more on reality series to attract younger viewers.[1] By 2017, the network had also phased out scripted programs, making reality shows its primary focus.

As of July 2015, A&E is available to approximately 95,968,000 pay television households (82.4% of households with television) in the United States.[2] The US version of the channel is being distributed in Canada while international versions were launched for Australia, Latin America, and Europe.


Arts & Entertainment NetworkEdit

A&E launched on February 1, 1984, initially available to 9.3 million cable television homes in the U.S. and Canada.[3] 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.[4]

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 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time, and A&E took over at 9:00 p.m. with a three-hour programming block, which was repeated at 9:00 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, 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 to A&E at 8:00 p.m. Eastern. It was not until the early 1990s, when providers began installing advanced headend equipment that allowed for expanded channel capacity, that these companies allocated 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. In the 1990s, it began to add programming originally seen on commercial networks, such as reruns of Columbo, The Fugitive, Breaking Away, Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer, The New Mike Hammer, The Cosby Mysteries, Quincy, The Equalizer, Law & Order, The Rockford Files, and Night Court. Highbrow British mysteries including Agatha Christie's Poirot, The Avengers, Cracker, Dalziel and Pascoe, Inspector Morse, Lovejoy, Midsomer Murders, Miss Marple, 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.[5] The comedy series An Evening at the Improv built a young adult audience in the late 80s and continued through 1996. Also, Comedy On the Road won a CableACE Award (13th Annual Event).

A&E's signature show was Biography, a one-hour documentary series that A&E revived in 1987.[6] 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.[5] The nightly series became A&E's top-rated show and one of cable television's most notable successes.[6] Biography received Primetime Emmy Awards in 1999 and 2002.{[citation needed]

In its first decade, A&E had limited advertising, with fewer commercials at the time, mostly for A&E programs and its magazine. Beginning in the mid-1990s, advertising was increased substantially on the channel.

In 1994, the channel picked up reruns of Law & Order on an eight-year agreement. Picking up the show allowed the channel to thrive by brought in additional viewers.[7]


In May 1995, the channel's name officially changed to the A&E Network,[8] to reflect its declining focus on arts and entertainment.[9] By 1996, 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."[10]

A&E and Meridian Broadcasting commissioned Horatio Hornblower (1999), winner of two Primetime 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[1] and Nero Wolfe, both[citation needed] of which lasted from 2001 to 2002.[1]


In 2002, the contract for Law and Order had expired with the renewal asking price at four times the original per episode fee. Dropping that show allowed the channel to move to more "brand-defining scripted and nonfiction series."[7] In mid-2002, A&E underwent an overhaul in management which moved the network's focus toward reality television in order to attract a younger demographic[11] 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."[12] 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.[13]

In 2005,[14] A&E launched their feature film production arm A&E IndieFilms to help the channel's image and provide content for the channel.[15]

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."[16]

The docudrama Flight 93, about the hijacking of the plane which crashed in Pennsylvania during the September 11 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 third 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.[17] A&E later acquired rights to rerun the 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.[18] 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.[19]

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., representing its shift from an arts-focused network to a more contemporary network focused on scripted programming.[20][21] Additional shows in this major scripted push were drama series The Cleaner and The Beast, which both lasted two seasons.[1]

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.[22]

On December 11, 2013, A&E unveiled a new on-air brand identity built around the slogan "Be Original", emphasizing the network's lineup of original productions and positioning it as a "much lighter, more fun place to come and spend time".[21][23][24]

On December 19, 2013, A&E placed Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty on indefinite hiatus following remarks on homosexuals in an interview with GQ.[25][26][27] A&E said in a statement, "We are extremely disappointed to have read Phil Robertson's comments in GQ, which are based on his own personal beliefs and are not reflected in the series Duck Dynasty. His personal views in no way reflect those of A+E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community."[28][29][30] On December 27, 2013, A&E announced they would begin filming again with the entire Robertson family on the heels of large public outcry and discussions with the Robertson family and numerous advocacy groups.[31]

Such programs as Duck Dynasty, Bates Motel and Storage Wars put A&E fourth in 2013 among cable channels in the key 18-to-49 age demographic.[7]


On February 20, 2014, A&E Networks UK announced a UK version of the channel to launch on Sky channel 168 on March 24, with a Virgin Media launch date planned for next year. In Spain and Portugal, the channel was launched on October 1, 2014, replacing The Biography Channel in that market.[32]

A&E was again involved with controversy when the network cancelled Longmire after three seasons; ending the series on a cliffhanger and angering fans. The network cited production costs and the fact that the show skewed an older audience as reason for its cancellation.[33][34] The series was later picked up by Netflix.[1] In 2015, A&E picked up the CBS drama Unforgettable for a fourth season as well as the second season of docuseries Married at First Sight, which will move from sister network FYI. The network also announced the revival of Intervention following its cancellation in 2013.[35][36]

In October 2016, A&E premiered Live PD, a new live reality series that followed U.S. police departments on patrol in real-time. First scheduled for an eight-episode run, its success prompted A&E to order increasingly larger numbers of additional episodes, as well as produce various spin-offs. In 2018, a survey by Inscape found Live PD to be the most-watched program among non-live (DVR and VOD) and over-the-top viewers in 2018.[37][38] The series was credited with having reversed a decline in viewership experienced by A&E since the end of Duck Dynasty; Live PD was among the most-watched programs on cable television.[39]

On January 19, 2017, A&E announced a reboot of Cold Case Files, over a decade after its final season premiered in 2006.[40] As of April 2017 with the conclusion of Bates Motel, the network officially removed scripted series from its programming strategy and would focus exclusively on non-fiction programming. The Biography franchise returned to A&E on June 28, 2017, with The Notorious Life of Biggie Smalls.[1]

In June 2020, Live PD was cancelled by the network in the wake of protests over the police killing of George Floyd, and after reports were confirmed that the show's production staff had recorded and then deleted footage of the killing of Javier Ambler under police custody.[41][42] The show's cancellation, and the removal of its reruns, resulted in the network losing half its viewership.[43]


A&E primarily broadcasts non-fiction programs and reality docuseries; notable series broadcast in its current era have included The First 48, Duck Dynasty, Intervention, Live PD, Storage Wars, and Wahlburgers.[1][44]

As of April 2017 with the conclusion of Bates Motel, the network officially removed scripted series from its programming strategy and shifted focus exclusively to non-fiction programming (leaving scripted series to sister networks such as History and Lifetime). The network cited the strength of recent series such as 60 Days In, Live PD, as well as the documentary series Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, and its planned revival of Biography as a limited series of documentaries across A&E's channels.[1]

In its original format, the network had often shown programming from abroad, particularly BBC network productions from the United Kingdom.[4] Examples of British programming frequently broadcast on the channel included the documentary Freud.[4] Its fine arts programming was also phased out; 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 adaptation 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.[45]

Movies and miniseriesEdit

Notable movies and miniseries produced or co-produced by the A&E Network include the following:

High definitionEdit

The 1080i high definition simulcast feed of A&E launched on September 4, 2006; it was formerly in 720p before the merger with Lifetime Entertainment. The network is available in this format on most subscription systems.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Andreeva, Nellie (April 27, 2017). "A&E Doubles Down On Nonfiction, Exits Scripted In Programming Strategy Shift". Deadline. Penske Business Media, LLC. Retrieved December 5, 2017.
  2. ^ "List of how many homes each cable network is in as of July 2015". TV by the Numbers. Zap2it. July 21, 2015. Archived from the original on January 2, 2016. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
  3. ^ Parisi, Paula, "New look bows A&E's 2nd 10"; The Hollywood Reporter, December 29, 1993
  4. ^ a b c "Freud, Warts and All, Sits for the Camera". The New York Times. January 20, 1985. Retrieved April 24, 2008.
  5. ^ a b Hoover's Company Records, July 12, 2011
  6. ^ a b Gay, Verne (Newsday), "Biography: Top Show on Cable's A&E Network"; St. Louis Post-Dispatch, August 21, 1996
  7. ^ a b c Block, Alex Ben (March 28, 2014). "A+E at 30: How a Tiny Network Became a $26 Billion Success Story". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  8. ^ 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."
  9. ^ de Moraes, Lisa (May 9, 2008). "On TV". The Washington Post.
  10. ^ Ross, Chuck, "Cable Marketer of the Year: A&E"; Advertising Age, December 8, 1997
  11. ^ Salamon, Julie (June 22, 2004). "When Group Therapy Means Coming Clean on TV". The New York Times. 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.
  12. ^ Friedman, Wayne, "Strategy shift: A&E focuses on entertainment"; Advertising Age, May 5, 2003
  13. ^ "A&E: Biography". A&E Television Networks. Archived from the original on July 16, 2007. Retrieved August 1, 2007.
  14. ^ Flaherty, Mike (January 16, 2009). "A&E IndieFilms taps Molly Thompson". Variety. Retrieved May 4, 2020.
  15. ^ Cox, Gordon (April 12, 2016). "A&E IndieFilms Thrives After Decade of Backing Steady Stream of Quality Docs". Variety. Retrieved May 4, 2020.
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ Steve Rosenbaum (February 1, 2006). ""Flight 93" Breaks A&E Records". Docu-Blog/Steve's POV. Archived from the original on 2006-10-18. Retrieved September 30, 2006.
  18. ^ 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.
  19. ^ Fitzgerald, Toni (February 14, 2007). "True grit: Remaking the A&E network". MediaLifeMagazine. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved March 21, 2007.
  20. ^ "MediaPost Publications Home of MediaDailyNews, MEDIA and OMMA Magazines". Archived from the original on 2006-02-26. Retrieved 2008-05-10.
  21. ^ a b Rose, Lacey (October 9, 2013). "A&E Unveils New 'Be Original' Tagline as Part of Rebranding". The Hollywood Reporter.
  22. ^ "A&E Orders Bruckheimer Pilot; Renews Nine Shows". The Live Feed. May 12, 2009.
  23. ^ Kondolojy, Amanda (October 9, 2013). "A&E Network to Unveil New Network Identity Across All Platforms". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on January 19, 2015.
  24. ^ "A&E Unveils New Logo, Tagline". Deadline Hollywood. October 9, 2013.
  25. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (December 18, 2013). "'Duck Dynasty's' Phil Robertson on Indefinite Hiatus Following Anti-Gay Remarks". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 20, 2013.
  26. ^ "'Duck Dynasty' patriarch Phil Robertson suspended over anti-gay comments". Chicago Tribune Company. December 18, 2013. Retrieved December 20, 2013.
  27. ^ Marechal, AJ (December 18, 2013). "'Duck Dynasty': Phil Robertson Suspended Indefinitely Following Anti-Gay Remarks". Variety. Retrieved December 20, 2013.
  28. ^ Hibberd, James (December 20, 2013). "'Duck Dynasty' star suspended for anti-gay comments". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 20, 2013.
  29. ^ Patrick Kevin Day (December 18, 2013). "A&E puts 'Duck Dynasty' star on hiatus following anti-gay comments". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 20, 2013.
  30. ^ Aaron Parsley; Mary Green (December 18, 2013). "A&E Suspends Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson Following Anti-Gay Comments". People Magazine. Retrieved December 20, 2013.
  31. ^ "'Duck Dynasty' to resume filming with Phil Robertson after A&E lifts ban". Fox News. 2013-12-28. Retrieved 2014-02-02.
  32. ^ "A&E, el canal factual de televisión líder en EEUU, llega por primera vez a España".
  33. ^ "In the Wake of Longmire's Cancellation, What's Next for A&E?". Retrieved 2014-01-12.
  34. ^ "'Longmire' Series Cancellation: A&E Defends Decision To Drop Popular Crime Drama, Writer Tells Networks Not To 'Write Off' The Over 50 Crowd". Enstars. September 19, 2014. Retrieved December 1, 2014.
  35. ^ "'Unforgettable' To Be Resurrected Again With Season 4 Order At A&E". Retrieved February 6, 2015.
  36. ^ "A&E's Emmy-Award winning and critically-acclaimed docuseries, "Intervention", returns to the network..." A&E (Press release). January 13, 2015. Archived from the original on 2015-01-30. Retrieved January 17, 2015.
  37. ^ "'Live PD' Docuseries Gets Order For 150 Additional Episodes From A&E". Deadline. 2018-09-21. Retrieved 2019-12-07.
  38. ^ Hayes, Dade (2018-12-28). "'Live PD' Is Most-Viewed Show Of 2018 On OTT, VOD And DVR – Survey". Deadline. Retrieved 2019-12-07.
  39. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (November 20, 2019). "With Shows Like 'Live PD,' Paul Buccieri Brings A+E Networks Back to Its Roots". Variety. Retrieved February 7, 2020.
  40. ^ Petski, Denise (January 19, 2017). "'Cold Case Files' True Crime Series Getting Reboot On A&E". Deadline. Retrieved June 15, 2017.
  41. ^ Plohetski, Claire Osborn and Tony. "'Live PD' says it destroyed video of Javier Ambler II's death during 2019 Texas police stop". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2020-07-27.
  42. ^ Schneider, Michael; Schneider, Michael (2020-06-11). "'Live PD': Inside A&E's Swift Decision to Cancel the Show, and Whether it Will Ever Return". Variety. Retrieved 2020-06-14.
  43. ^ Flint, Joe (24 July 2020). "A&E Has Lost Half Its Viewers Since Dropping 'Live PD' Network's prime-time viewership was up 4% this year before it canceled its hit police reality show, Nielsen data show". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 25 July 2020.
  44. ^ "TV stokes desperate hunger for fame". CNN. November 30, 2009.
  45. ^ Becker, Anne, "A&E Slates New Music Show; Intimate 'Sessions' aimed at mainstream tastes"; Broadcasting and Cable, July 15, 2007

External linksEdit