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Document Details


Title: Nick Davatzes
Document type: Oral history
Accessibility: Free Only
Repository: Cable Center. Barco Library. Special Collections
Collection: Cable Center Oral History Collection
Description: Nick Davatzes created and developed two of the brightest gems among cable's programming crown jewels: The A&E Network and The History Channel. The son of a Greek immigrant, Davatzes was born and raised in New York City, graduated from St. John's University and received a Ph.D. from New York University. After 12 years with the Xerox Corp. he was recruited to work for Gus Hauser at Warner Amex, which owned cable systems and programming services. At Warner Amex Davatzes learned the basics of the cable business and helped develop some of the innovative cable systems that the company built in cities such as Dallas. In his oral history he recounts some of the experiences at Warner Amex with franchising, programming and building and running the interactive QUBE systems. He also touches on the activities of some of his colleagues such as Dick Aurelio and Larry Wangberg. In 1983 he was recruited to run a merger between two failed cable networks: The Entertainment Network, owned by RCA and the Rockefeller family and the ARTS Network, owned by Hearst Corp. and ABC. Out of the wreckage of these two networks he built the A&E Network, taking it to profitability in three years. In his oral history he talks about the challenges of obtaining distribution, product and establishing an identity for the new network. Davatzes was also involved in many of the legislative battles the cable industry fought in Washington over the years and talks at some length about those experiences. He also discusses the philosophy of programming with particular reference to such A&E hits as the "Biography" series, the "Hornblower" series and "100 Centre St." In 1995 A&E launched a second network, The History Channel, which also proved to be a quick success with viewers and advertisers. Finally, Davatzes talks about the special issues attached to running a business owned by different partners and how for more than 17 years he managed to keep all parties involved and satisfied.
URL: http://www.cablecenter.org/education/library/oralHistoryDetails.cfm?id=76
Original Language: English
Video: [Video available]
Audio: [Audio available]
Time span: Not indicated ... to 2001 (Year of interview)
Speaker: Davatzes, Nick
Speaker gender: Male
Speaker occupation: Chief executive officer; President
Document location: Denver, CO
Document date: 19-Apr-2001
Interviewer: Greene, Susan
Locations discussed: North America; United States
Topics discussed - ASP terms: Broadcasting; Cable television--United States; North America; Oral history; Public broadcasting; Television; Television programs; United States
Topics discussed - Other terms: Cable administrators
ASP release: 2005-06
Document code: OHI0022704-24108