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A&E first launched as a channel in January 1985 after airing as a programming block on 'Nickelodeon' since February 1984. Their original focus was on dramas, biographies and documentaries but have since branched out into adding reality series. The station originated after a merger of ABC's ARTS and NBC's Entertainment Channel. A&E is the flagship station of the Arts and Entertainment Television Networks, which also owns The History Channel and The Biography Channel. A&E once aired the most British made series outside of PBS and BBC America, but has backed down since the large addition of reality programming. Once a source for fine arts programs, A&E has almost pulled the plug on that entirely. In fact, their most popular programs are all reality based series such as Dog The Bounty Hunter, Criss Angel: Mindfreak, and Gene Simmons Family Jewels. Their documentary series such as Cold Case Files, First 48 and American Justice are also highly popular. A&E has recently acquired the rights to the tough HBO drama The Sopranos. Their most watched docudrama made for the network was Flight 93, the story of the hijacked plane during 9/11 in which the passengers overtook the hijackers and crashed the plane over Pennsylvania, instead of its target in Washington D.C. The movie rated 5.9 million viewers on its first showing. A&E can now be seen in HD through many cable companies and soon on Directv.

Also Known As:
Arts & Entertainment Network (1984-1995)
A&E Network (1995-1997)
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