15. Nancy Dubuc, EVP and GM, History
Since January 2007, Dubuc has led History to record numbers in key demos and has rejuvenated the brand. No decisions are made at History without her approval, and her expertise is reflected in overall growth affecting affiliates, advertisers and the creative community. An education advocate, in 2007 she launched one of cable’s most successful outreach initiatives, Take a Veteran to School Day, enlisting 40 cable affiliates, all 50 states and hundreds of schools. She also mentors young people aspiring to careers in television.
16. Sue Naegle, President, HBO Entertainment
The former co-head of United Talent Agency came to HBO this past spring with what was hoped to be continuing good relations with top talent. She was no stranger to the network, having already brought notable projects to HBO, including Alan Ball’s current series, True Blood. Naegle oversees all of HBO’s series programming and specials, evaluating and selecting projects as well as nurturing new talent. She works with nonprofit organizations Girls Inc., which supports and educates American girls; Hollygrove, which serves abused children; and One Kid, One World, which helps poverty-stricken children worldwide.
17. Michele Ganeless, President, Comedy Central
Ganeless, who is Comedy’s first female president, heads one of cable’s most recognizable and successful channel’s — the No. 1 network among men 18-24 and men 18-34. Under her leadership, Comedy has been at the forefront of the digital revolution, dominating the comedy categories across all platforms. Although having Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert on your talent roster during a long and fascinating election season hasn’t hurt, Ganeless has been a key architect in the continued dominance of the TV comedy brand. She has also parlayed her influence to create Comedy Central Summer School, a program that enables minority students of various backgrounds to develop their skills writing comedy and gain experience working at a cable network.
18. Brooke Johnson, President, Food Network
Johnson has a proven track record for launching hit shows, new networks and creating business opportunities. Doubling revenue at A&E, she conceived of and launched the successful Biography network. At Food Network, Brooke oversees The Next Food Network Star, which reached new ratings heights and younger demographics in 2008. She has extended the Food Network brand into new territories — a line of products at Kohl’s, joint cookbooks with network talent, a magazine and other integrated ad opportunities with talent and shows. She is also an active member of WICT.
19. Susan Packard, President, Brand Outreach, Scripps Networks
The 2008 Cable Hall of Fame inductee co-founded HGTV and has held several leadership roles at Scripps, including COO. She led the development and launch of DIY Network and Fine Living, and has helped Scripps Networks reach a market value of over $6 billion. Packard is currently responsible for aligning Scripps Networks’ corporate citizenship activities with its business agenda. She has been named a WICT Woman of the Year, and received the 2007 YWCA Tribute to Women Award. She also serves on the executive committee of The Cable Center.
20. Sheila Nevins, President, HBO Documentary Films
Nevins could be the international documentary film world’s most powerful executive. She’s responsible for overseeing the development and production of all documentaries for HBO/Cinemax, and has been developing docs for almost 30 years. As an executive producer, she has received 30 prime-time Emmys, 25 News and Documentary Emmys and 28 Peabodys. During her tenure at HBO, the programmer’s documentaries have won 19 Oscars. Nevins has been honored with an Emmy Lifetime Achievement Award, a Lucy Award from Women in Film, a Humanitarian Award from the National Board of Review, a Personal Peabody, not to mention a CableFAX: The Magazine Hall of Fame nod.
21. Lauren Zalaznick, President, NBC Universal Women and Lifestyle Entertainment Networks
Zalaznick assumed her current post this year with the launch of Women@NBCU, a content and marketing initiative designed to help advertisers connect with women through NBC Universal brands, including Bravo, Oxygen, iVillage and Green Is Universal, as well as with female-skewing NBC properties. In her prior role as president of Bravo Media and Oxygen Media, she developed Bravo into one of the most-watched cable networks and helped strengthen the Oxygen brand.