A&E pushes Bio net

Cabler shuffles exec posts

A&E is engineering a major push to get its 24-hour Biography Channel cleared in more U.S. homes, promoting Tom Heymann to the new post of senior VP and GM.

“The beauty of the Biography concept is that it’s such a solid brand,” said Heymann, who moves up from senior VP and GM of A&E’s interactive division.

Heymann said his plan is “to combine the content and marketing of Biography Channel, the Biography Web site and Biography’s monthly magazine, which has a paid circulation of 700,000.”

Promoting the new channel in the magazine and on the Web site is one of Biography’s selling points to get cable operators to add the channel to their digital tiers.

A fresh network like the three-year-old Biography “could help operators to drive digital boxes into people’s homes,” particularly since Heymann expects to schedule more previews of Biography on A&E “to gain more consumer awareness of the channel.”

The linchpin programming of Biography is repeats of the 60-minute “Biography” episodes. But Heymann said the network also schedules documentaries, reality shows and movies. For example, he said, a “Biography” of Paul Newman will be followed by a showing of the 1967 Newman movie “Cool Hand Luke,” which will lead in to a documentary about Southern prisons.

Two other veteran A&E executives will join the Biography Channel: John Hartinger, who becomes VP of marketing, and Deirdre O’Hearn, who will be director of programming.