A&E TELEVISION NETWORKS ACQUIRES AMERICAN GANGSTER FROM BET
Series to air on Crime & Investigation Network� Worldwide
AETN International Named Exclusive International Program Sales Distributor
(April 21, 2009) New York � A&E Television Networks (AETN) has acquired seasons 1-3 of AMERICAN GANGSTER, the acclaimed series from BET that examines the lives and crimes of some of America's most notorious criminals. AMERICAN GANGSTER will air worldwide on Crime & Investigation Network� (CI). As part of the agreement, AETN will represent worldwide sales of the series through AETN International.
Narrated by actor Ving Rhames (Mission Impossible), AMERICAN GANGSTER profiles infamous crime figures through the use of witness accounts, courtroom documents, archival footage, photographs and interviews with people familiar with the cases. Featured experts include former members of these polarizing criminals' organizations, police officials from the time period, attorneys that represented the criminals and crime historians. The series reflects the life and times of American criminals, how their actions have affected the public at large.
Among the criminals profiled in AMERICAN GANGSTER are, the Washington, DC sniper; the Chambers Brothers, drug-dealing emigrants from one of the America's poorest rural counties; Stanley "Tookie" Williams, who was executed for murder in California amid controversy regarding his real role in the founding of America's most notorious street gang, the Crips; Frank Lucas, the larger-than-life subject of the Hollywood blockbuster motion picture, also titled �American Gangster'; and "Freeway" Ricky Ross - L.A.'s homegrown crack king - a hustler and pawn within a complex international enterprise.
AMERICAN GANGSTER is produced by Nelson George, Frank Sinton of Asylum Entertainment, Mark Rowland and BET.
Crime & Investigation Network is a proven domestic and international success, having tripled its viewership in just two years. The network's catalog features over 1500 hours of programming in a variety of genres, including real-life, forensic, justice, and crime profiles. CI draws on the original series and specials from A&E Network, an acknowledged innovator in the crime and justice programming genre with acclaimed franchise series such as The First 48, Manhunters and Crime 360. In 2008, A&E dominated the category, with six of the top ten original non-fiction crime series on ad supported cable in the US. In the US, Crime & Investigation Network launched in September 2005, and an HD service launched in October 2008.
"With its compelling storylines and high quality production value, AMERICAN GANGSTER is the perfect complement to the rich CI library of investigative fare," said Sean Cohan, Senior Vice President, International, AETN. "We are confident that the broadcast community will respond well to the series and are very pleased to represent it worldwide."
"AMERICAN GANGSTER is one of BET's most critically acclaimed and thought-provoking series, and we're extremely proud of the success the show has enjoyed on our network," said Michael D. Armstrong, Senior Vice President & General Manager, BET International. "We're excited that it will be reaching a new worldwide audience through this landmark deal with A&E."
About Crime & Investigation Network
Real crime, real people, real drama � Crime & Investigation Network is the ultimate destination for crime, investigation and mystery programming. The channel opens the door to crime labs, police archives and the justice system, providing viewers a behind-the-scenes look at criminal investigations, probing unexplained mysteries and examining the lives of infamous murderers and outlaws. While police work to crack some of the world's most fascinating crimes, viewers witness first-hand how law enforcement agencies utilize old fashioned detective work and the latest forensic investigation tools to solve cases.
A&E Television Networks (AETN) is an award-winning, global media content company offering consumers a diverse communications environment ranging from television networks to websites, to home videos/DVDs to gaming and educational software. AETN is comprised of A&E Network�, History�, History International�, Bio�, The History Channel en espa�ol�, Military History Channel�, Crime & Investigation Network�, AETN International, A&E IndieFilms� and AETN Consumer Products. AETN is a joint venture of The Hearst Corporation, Disney-ABC Television Group and NBC Universal.
About BET International
With a mission to build a global distribution footprint beyond BET Networks' presence in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean, BET International currently operates in the United Kingdom and sub-Saharan Africa and oversees the extension of BET programming on multiple platforms around the world, developing 24-hour BET-branded networks, BET-branded television blocks, and BET-branded broadband and mobile offerings � all to serve consumers of Black culture globally. BET Networks, a division of Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), reaches more than 98 million households worldwide.