A+E Networks Shake-up Leads to a New History Chief

Jana Bennett replaces Dirk Hoogstra

Dirk Hoogstra is history at History. The evp and gm of History and H2, who has been overseeing the networks since June 2013, is out, effective immediately.

His replacement is FYI and LMN president Jana Bennett, who has been named president and gm of History, A+E Networks announced today. Bennett, who joined the company in 2013, will now oversee all strategic planning, programming and marketing for History and H2.

"Jana has one of the strongest track records building and shaping global brands—first at the BBC and now here at A+E Networks," said Nancy Dubuc, president and CEO, A+E Networks, in a statement. "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 a passion for History—where we've come from and where we are headed," said Bennett in a statement.

As head of FYI—a July 2014 rebranding of what was Bio—Bennett drove the network to double-digit ratings growth. She also increased LMN's ratings in its target demographic, women ages 25 to 54, across all dayparts (including daytime, prime time and late night) while driving the network to its youngest median age since 2006. Before joining A+E Networks, Bennett was president of BBC Worldwide Networks.

A+E, which will search for a new FYI and LMN chief, said Hoogstra "will return to his roots in independent production." While Hoogstra, who has served as evp and gm of History and H2 since June 2013, oversaw History's expansion into scripted programming with Vikings, ratings have declined under his watch, as the network's new series and miniseries offerings haven't grabbed audiences like prior hits Hatfields & McCoys and Pawn Stars. 

This is A+E Networks' second major shake-up this year. In February, Lifetime's Rob Sharenow replaced David McKillop as head of A&E and now oversees both networks.