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History President Jana Bennett to Depart Cable Channel

Variety logo Variety 5/5/2017 Cynthia Littleton
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Jana Bennett is leaving her post as president and general manager of cable channel History.

Bennett was named History’s top programming executive in September 2015 after her success in overseeing the relaunch of another A+E Networks channel, Bio, as FYI. She took over for Dirk Hoogstra.

The move will make Bennett’s successor History’s third president in as many years. In the interim, Paul Cabana, senior VP of programming, will oversee the channel until a successor is named. Cabana will report to A&E and History president Paul Buccieri.

In a note to staffers A+E CEO Nancy Dubuc said the move was Bennett’s decision. The British exec plans to launch a new venture and split her time on both sides of the Atlantic.

“Jana came to me and told me that she wanted to split her time between London and NY and start a new entrepreneurial venture aimed at creating the best of British and American content for both markets,” Dubuc  wrote.

During Bennett’s short tenure at History the channel stepped up its scripted event programming activity, starting with last year’s miniseries “Roots.” The military drama “Six” successfully launched earlier this year and was renewed for a second season. History has another high-profile sword-and-sandal drama, “Knightfall,” set to bow later this year.

Bennett joined A+E Networks from the BBC in 2013 to serve as president of Lifetime Movie Network and to launch the FYI lifestyle channel. She quickly became a key player in Dubuc’s inner circle.

“This was a difficult decision and Nancy was incredibly understanding about my desire to spend some of my time in the UK. Having been lucky enough to have worked in media on both sides of the Atlantic, I’ll be leaving later this summer to set up my new venture based here and in London,” Bennett wrote in a memo. “I am confident that History will go from strength to strength and will continue to tell stories that America and the rest of the world loves.”

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