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Dog Traces Fugitive To El Savador

Bounty hunter Duane “Dog” Chapman will return from the Mainland today with evidence that convicted sex offender Frank Lefrandt Jr. left Honolulu and ended up in El Salvador — via Los Angeles and Phoenix, Chapman’s publicist said yesterday.

Although Chapman will give authorities ATM and other records that show that Lefrandt is in San Salvador, El Salvador, he will not pursue Lefrandt without a provisional arrest warrant to enter El Salvador, publicist Mona Wood said yesterday.

In June 2003, Chapman, his son Leland Chapman and fellow bounty hunter Tim Chapman, who is not related, faced criminal charges in Mexico for “unlawful deprivation of liberty” when they captured a fugitive serial rapist, Max Factor heir Andrew Luster, in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

A Mexican judge eventually dismissed their case, but the Chapmans had also faced extradition and arrest warrants that were issued in the United States while their case was on appeal.

Chapman is the star of the Honolulu-based A&E reality TV show, “Dog the Bounty Hunter,” but the show was not in production while Chapman followed Lefrandt’s trail on the Mainland and into El Salvador, Wood said.

It is likely, however, that A&E crews would follow Chapman into El Salvador if he gets permission to go there, Wood said.

a former missionary

Chapman also found out that Lefrandt served as a Mormon missionary in Guatemala 30 years ago.

“He may know the area, but it is definitely not going to be a vacation for him,” Chapman said in a statement released by Wood.

On Tuesday, a Circuit Court judge ordered forfeiture of $100,000 bail posted by bondsman James Lindblad for Lefrandt after Lefrandt failed to turn himself in to prison authorities.

Story continues at

http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/20081208/NEWS0601/812080315/1001/localnewsfront

Fugitive leaves bail bondsman in lurch

By Jim Dooley
Advertiser Staff Writer

It’s been a roller-coaster week for bail bondsman James Lindblad.

On Tuesday, a Circuit Court judge ordered forfeiture of $100,000 bail posted by Lindblad for convicted sex offender Frank Lefrandt Jr.

The order came after Lefrandt failed to turn himself in to prison authorities last Friday. His whereabouts are unknown.

“It’s a terrible thing for his (Lefrandt’s) family,” Lindblad said. “First the criminal charges, now this. He’s married, with five children. They put up their house as collateral for the bond.”

Lindblad, owner of A-1 Bail Bonds, said he’s enlisted Duane “Dog the Bounty Hunter” Chapman to find Lefrandt.

“We work together sometimes,” Lindblad said. “He’s on the Mainland now, looking for Frank.”

Good news came Wednesday night on another case that has gnawed at Lindblad for more than a decade. U.S. Marshals announced they had captured fugitive Hawai’i sex offender Michael Andrew Stephens in Mexico.

Lindblad forfeited $42,000 bail posted for Stephens in 1995 when he fled the state while awaiting retrial on charges of kidnaping and sexually assaulting a teenage boy.

“I’ve written more than 20,000 bonds in my career here, and this is the only guy that ever got away,” Lindblad said. “I always knew he was in Mexico. I almost caught him there once, but he slipped away.”

Lindblad said he also partnered with Chapman in trying to track down Stephens.

“We found out in 1996 that he was traveling between Palm Springs and Mexico,” he said.

“We got an an address for him in Mexico and notified the authorities, but when they got there, he had slipped away.”

Marshals and Mexico customs officials located Stephens this month after he was profiled earlier this year on the “America’s Most Wanted” television show.

He was helping run a restaurant called Casa Bahia in Zihuatanejo-Ixtapa, Mexico.

Stephens was known in the area as “Will,” according to messages posted on a Zihuatanejo Internet message board since Stephens was arrested.

Stephens is being deported by the Mexican government to Houston, where he will be held for extradition to Hawai’i.

He was convicted here in 1990 of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a 16-year-old boy. Prosecutors sought a 20-year prison sentence in that case, calling Stephens a danger to society.

Stephens had been investigated earlier for alleged sex assaults of teenage boys, and five days before he was arrested in the 1990 case, police charged him with assaulting another teenager at the Hawai’i Kai boat ramp, according to court records.

Charges in that case were dropped after Stephens was convicted in the 1990 case.

Friends and business associates of Stephens wrote letters of recommendation on his behalf to the court in the 1990 case, and he was sentenced to five years of probation. He was re-indicted on new charges of sexually assaulting a teenage victim in 1993.

Jurors could not agree on a verdict on the assault charges, convicting Stephen only of promoting liquor to a minor.

After staging a fake disappearance at sea, Stephens fled the state while awaiting retrial on the 1993 sex assault charges.

Credit. Honoluluadvertiser.com

Dog Headed To California In Search Of Child Abuser

[
HONOLULU — Duane “Dog” Chapman headed for California Wednesday night to find another Hawaii fugitive.

Frank LeFrandt Jr. was supposed to have started serving a 10-year prison term for raping a 13-year-old boy.

A Circuit Court judge issued a $5 million bench warrant on Tuesday after LeFrandt jumped bail. His car was found last week at the airport. This afternoon A-1 Bondsman hired Chapman to help find LeFrandt. Chapman left for Los Angeles in the evening. Chapman is known for his reality TV series on the A&E Network “Dog the Bounty Hunter.” LeFrandt was arrested in August after sexually assaulting a 13-year-old boy in the back of his newspaper delivery van.
Deputy Prosecutor Thalia Murphy said a deal was cut with the married father of two children to spare the victim from testifying. Prosecutors said he is traveling under a false identity. His lawyers said they do not know where he is.
Chapman broke into the national limelight when he captured Max Factor heir Andrew Luster in Mexico. Luster was wanted in connection with a series of rapes.

Frank Lefrandt Jr.

Leave us a comment if you know where this man is or have seen him

Dog Looks For Child Molester

Dog Chapman Searching For Child Molester

By Andrew Pereira

STORY SUMMARY>>>

Duane “Dog” Chapman, bounty hunter and star of his own reality TV show is on the trail of a convicted child molester who failed to report to a Honolulu prison on December 1.

Under a deal with prosecutors Frank Lefrandt Jr., 47 of Aiea, pled guilty to second and third degree sex assault and one count of second degree attempted sex assault against a 13 year old boy. At the time of the attack Lefrandt was working as a newspaper delivery supervisor and had hired the child as his helper.

“I’ve chased many and caught many sexual predators,” said Chapman during an autograph signing session for fans at his Downtown Honolulu office.

Chapman says he found Lefrandt’s abandoned car last week at Honolulu International Airport. The bounty hunter believes the fugitive is no longer in Hawaii and may have fled the U.S.

“He doesn’t have a lot of money but all of a sudden he does have money to buy plane tickets, rent cars (and) go different places, so someone is obviously helping.”

Chapman stands to make ten percent of the $100,000 bail bond issued on Lefrandt’s behalf in August. However Chapman’s wife Beth says her husband is not concerned about money.

She points to Chapman’s capture of convicted rapist Andrew Luster in Mexico in June of 2003. The bounty hunter was never awarded the $300,000 he requested from the state of California for capturing the heir to the Max factor cosmetics fortune.

“Cases that involved women or children who have been hurt by predators, those cases he feels the most passionate about,” said Beth Chapman. “People that Dog goes after unfortunately they all fall because he can’t shake it out of his mind; he can’t stop thinking about it.”

Chapman says anyone with information about Lefrandt’s whereabouts should call authorities first, but he says he’s willing to listen to anyone who may have a lead.

Chapman can be reached at Da Kine Bail Bonds at 808-921-2245 or by e-mail at dakinebailbonds@msn.com

Autograph Signing Official Announcement

‘Dog the Bounty Hunter’ Cast Signing Autographs at Merchandise Store
Dog, Beth, Duane Lee and Baby Lyssa will attend Wednesday event
By Mona Wood, 12/2/2008 9:17:25 AM

Honolulu, HI – The cast of Dog the Bounty Hunter, A&E’s hit Real-Life series, will be autographing merchandise and posing for photos with any purchase from their logo merchandise store, Da Dog House, this Wednesday, December 3, from 12-2 p.m, at Da Kine Bail Bonds (1381 Queen Emma Street), a few doors maukaon the 1st floor; Street parking only.Meet the world-famous Dog the bounty Hunter, Duane Chapman, wife Beth, and children-bounty hunters Duane Lee and Baby Lyssa Chapman and get the perfect gift for fans, which includes a free autograph or photo op with any purchase.

There will be official merchandise for sale – most not available at their online store; Lots of new styles, including “Beth” and “Leland” clothing;

Plus Duane will also sign copies of his NY Times best-seller “You Can Run But You Can’t Hide.”

There’s even a $9.99 sale bin for those on a budget

Dog the Bounty Hunter has been one of the highest rated real life series on cable since it launched in 2004, and #1 for A&E since 2005. The last season of the hit show averaged nearly 3 million viewers per premiere episode. Dog the Bounty Hunter Season 5 included the 100th episode of the series, a major landmark for television shows, featuring a celebration filmed in Waikiki. The cast is currently filming Season 6 on Oahu.

Mona K. Wood is a spokesperson for the Chapmans.

More Action From Dog And Beth Against Their Former Agent

Fool Us Once, Sue You; Twice, Screw You

Duane “Dog” Chapman and wife Beth have escalated their war against their former talent agent, claiming he and his company have deceived them yet again.

The Chapmans are embroiled in a fight over fees Boris Krutonog and his company, Pivot Point Entertainment, allegedly began collecting in connection with an A&E deal. The Chapmans say Krutonog secretly negotiated a producer’s fee with A&E, which is based on a percentage of their earnings from the network. The Chapmans claim the fee is a subterfuge for a talent agent’s fee, which Krutonog can’t collect because he is not a licensed agent.

Now the Chapmans claim Krutonog is at it again, secretly filing a claim with the New York Labor Commissioner to resolve the matter, even though the case is already being heard by the California Labor Commissioner (New York is more likely to cut Krutonog a break).

The Chapmans now want the judge to put the brakes on the New York case. Wouldn’t it be easier to just pick the dude up in the middle of the night and cart him over to Mexico

credit.  http://www.tmz.com

Meet Dog And Crew For Autographs At His Official Store Wednesday

FOR FANS WHO WANT REAL AUTOGRAPHS

The cast of Dog the Bounty Hunter, A&E’s real-Life series based on Oahu, will be autographing merchandise and posing for photos at their logo merchandise store, Da Dog House, at noon Wednesday.

Da Dog House is located in teh same building as Da Kine Bail Bonds at 1381 Queen Emma Street.

Street parking only is available.

The Bounty Hunter has been one of the highest rated real life series on cable since it launched in 2004, and No. 1 for A&E since 2005.

During last year’s fifth season, the show averaged nearly three million viewers per premiere episode.

Jimmy Pfueger Surrenders, Dog Pays $71,000 Bail

from http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com

By Rick Daysog
Advertiser Staff Writer

Retired car dealer Jimmy Pflueger, who was indicted last week in connection with the deadly collapse of the Kaloko Dam in 2006, surrendered to authorities this morning. TV star Duane Chapman, aka “Dog the Bounty Hunter” and a longtime friend of Pflueger, came with him to Halawa State Prison and posted the bail of $71,000.

Pflueger was booked and processed at the prison receiving desk, said Louise Kim McCoy, spokeswoman for the state Department of Public Safety. He was freed after posting the bond. Pflueger, 82, was indicted by a Kaua’i grand jury on seven counts of manslaughter and one count reckless endangering for the March 14, 2006, tragedy that killed seven people on Kaua’i. Pflueger’s attorney, Bill McCorriston, said last week that Pflueger plans to plead not guilty to the charges.

Pflueger has previously denied that he altered the dam or its structure. Pflueger was accompanied by Chapman, attorney David Minkin and representatives of the state Attorney General’s Office this morning.  For more than two years, the Attorney General’s Office has been investigating allegations that Pflueger or others tampered with the dam, contributing to its collapse

Dog Posts Bail For Man Whose Actions Allegedly Killing Eight People Including A Small Child

More details at http://www.hawaiiareporter.com

Jimmy Pflueger Indicted for Manslaughter for Kaloko Deaths
After today’s booking, Pflueger’s bail was posted by A&E Bounty Hunter Duane ‘Dog’ Chapman
By Malia Zimmerman, 11/24/2008 11:46:23 AM

LIHUE, KAUAI: A ferocious rainstorm hit Kauai Friday spurring a downpour predicted to be as heavy as the storm that hit the island in March 2006.

It was that storm that filled James Pflueger’s Ka Loko Reservoir until its dam breached in the early morning hours of March 14, releasing an estimated 400 million gallons of water on the North Shore residents below, killing eight people and causing tremendous property damage.

On Friday, as the skies darkened over Kauai, a grand jury met in secret inside the Kauai courthouse for its fourth straight day to hear evidence on the 2006 dam breach. At issue was whether Pflueger, a wealthy retired automobile mogul, willfully covered or altered his dam’s main safety feature, called a “spillway”, causing the water in the 30-acre Ka Loko Reservoir to overtop and breach the dam when the rising rainwater couldn’t be safely released.

Before noon, the grand jury issued an indictment against Pflueger for seven counts of Manslaughter and one count of Reckless Endangering in the First Degree. Pflueger turned himself in to authorities today for booking, and according to his civil attorney Bill McCorriston, will plead “not guilty” when arraigned at a later date on Kauai. His bail was posted on Kauai this morning by A&E Bounty Hunter Duane ‘Dog’ Chapman, a close family friend.

The indictments handed down against Pflueger mark a dramatic end to the two-and-a-half year criminal investigation led by Hawaii Attorney General Mark Bennett.

“We believe that the evidence justified the presentation to a grand jury of a case charging James Pfleuger with Manslaughter for recklessly causing the deaths of Alan Gareth Dingwall, Daniel Jay Arroyo, Rowan Grey Makana Fehring-Dingwall, Aurora Solveig Fehring, Christina Michelle McNees, Timothy Wendell Noonan, Jr., and Carl Wayne Rotstein,” Bennett says.

Aurora, Alan and Rowan

Chistina Sunny McNees

The indictments also caused many local observers to wonder how one of Hawaii’s most wealthy and powerful businessmen, who for most of his 84 years lived a lifestyle of the rich and famous, is charged with crimes that could land him in prison for the rest of his life.

Living High in Hawaii

Once one of Hawaii’s most well known “Waikiki Beach Boys”, Pflueger associated with the likes of Duke Kahanamoku and other famous surfers and paddlers from Waikiki’s Outrigger Canoe Club. As the grandson of Mary Nauepu Bannister Lucas, a Native Hawaiian taken in as an infant by Kaahumanu, the “favorite wife” of Kamehameha the Great, Pflueger lived a privileged life in pre-statehood Hawaii.

In the 1960s, Pflueger worked in car sales and bought his first dealership. “I know how to work and work hard and I know how to talk to people,” Pflueger told Hawaii Reporter in a 2006 interview. He was the first to bring Honda to Hawaii, the deal made him one of the wealthiest men in the state.

Besides remarkable success in business, Pflueger had many other talents. Extremely rugged and athletic, even in his later years, he surfed, paddled, water-skiied and jet-skied. He flew his own helicopter and some times irritated his neighbors when he landed it where he pleased. He drove rugged vehicles up steep mountains. He helped build Hawaii’s first racetrack and won racing competitions. Eventually, Pflueger married and had five children.

And Pflueger bought land – a great deal of it – on almost every maln Hawaiian island. The story of how Kauai’s 118-year-old Ka Loko Dam, and its surrounding 1,000 acres of land came to be in the possession of Pflueger and the Mary Lucas Estate, of which James Pflueger is an heir, began 144 years ago in the Kingdom of Hawaii under the rule of Kamehameha V, when Mary Lucas was born. Mary Lucas accumulated considerable land holdings in Niu Valley on Oahu and on the North Shore of Kauai during her more than 100 years of life and left it to her family. At the time of the Ka Loko Dam disaster, he owned more than 500 acres on Kauai, including most of the land around the reservoir and the dam itself.

Mary Lucas

According to numerous stories Pflueger shared with Hawaii Reporter about his business ventures and occasional encounters with people who crossed him, he didn’t let anyone get in his way either in business or in life and he didn’t answer to anyone when it came to his actions on his private land.

A Fall from Grace

The indictments handed down on Friday are not the first time Jimmy Pflueger has run afoul of the law.

When Pflueger purchased 393 acres from his family trust for $6.4 million on the North Shore of Kauai overlooking the beach in Pilaa in April 1997, he says the property, then valued at $7 million, was “ugly, that no one in the family wanted it,” and that his daughter Tracy, a real estate agent, warned him of potential problems from property owners who would access their kuleanas or neighboring small land parcels through his property.

But he says Pilaa captured his heart and set out to make it “beautiful” with the help of a special tractor that could make the once forest-filled grounds manicured like a golf course. “You know, you see all these weeds, we buried them. Anything you see here you can knock down and bury them,” Pflueger said, motioning around his Pilaa property.

Pflueger now admits he illegally graded and grubbed several acres of his property fronting Pilaa beach in 2001. Heavy rains on the 50 to 100 acres of exposed land led to the November 26, 2001, catastrophic mudslide, which devastated the beach and bay.

The mudslide also damaged the property, home and small business of Amy and Rick Marvin. With the help of local attorney Teresa Tico, the Marvins won a large civil settlement against Pflueger in 2007.

Amy and Rick Marvin

Kauai Attorney Teresa Tico

Beginning in 2001, Teresa Tico and Amy Marvin pushed for criminal charges against Pflueger, and in 2006, after an extensive investigation by county, state and federal officials, Pflueger was charged with 13 counts. He pled guilty to 10 felonies and was sentenced to three years probation and a nationwide record for a storm water case – and he was levied a $12 million fine.

“You know what? I did do work without a permit. I screwed up. And I said ok I accepted it. I am a felon,” Pflueger says, adding, “This was a nightmare.” He said in court that there would have been no problem if the rains hadn’t come. Pflueger is still performing remedial work at Pilaa mandated by the settlement with the EPA.

Ka Loko, A Crime Scene?

Before his illegal grading and grubbing at Pilaa in 2001, Pflueger admits he did the same kind of work on a nearby Kauai property around Ka Loko reservoir.

The land surrounding the reservoir is partially owned by him and the Mary Lucas Trust, for which he was one of two lead trustees with his cousin Paul Cassidy, until his niece, Christiane Lucas, took them both to court to have them removed for mismanagement. She accused her uncles, particularly Pflueger, of “self dealing,” something which infuriates Pflueger who maintains he is a “good steward of the land.”

Multiple permits are required to work around a dam, but those weren’t obtained before the work in the area, according to state special investigator Robert Godbey.

Local Realtor Mike Dyer, who once managed the dam, reservoir and surrounding property for a former owner, says he visited Pflueger’s property in 1997 and saw construction around the reservoir, which he believed compromised the dam’s safety, so he took photos and says he faxed two letters to Pflueger calling attention to the fact that Pflueger had covered the spillway. The spillway, which Dyer describe as 15 to 20 feet wide concrete slab located just below the dam, was key to releasing water overflow safely. Without a spillway, he told Pflueger that if there was too much water flowing into the reservoir from heavy rains, it could overtop the dam, causing it to breach.

Mike and Shar Dyer

At the same time Dyer expressed his concern, a separate anonymous tip sent County’s Department of Public Works inspector to investigate Ka Loko on November 7, 1997 where he documented illegal grading with heavy equipment on the hilltop adjacent to Ka Loko Reservoir. Pflueger and his workers had leveled a 50-foot hill to create home sites. The inspector sent a “Notice of Grading Violation” by a certified letter to Pflueger saying inspectors “observed and verified the grading on the subject property to be in violation” of the County’s ordinances and ordered Pflueger to “stop work immediately with the exception of work to correct any hazards to public safety and health.”

But Pflueger did not stop work at Ka Loko. Instead, Pflueger, who told Hawaii Reporter in an exclusive interview in 2006 that he felt he was being harassed by inspectors, says he personally visited Mayor Maryanne Kusaka and gave her $9,000 cash. County records show that subsequently the stop work order was not enforced.

On Nov. 26, 1997, John Buist, Jr., a civil engineer for the county, says he was summoned by Mayor Kusaka to discuss Pflueger’s grading violation. Buist says the Mayor and the Assistant Administrator, Wallace Rezentes, Sr., questioned “why Mr. Pflueger should be required to obtain a permit for work in such a remote area.” Buist explained “the ordinance applied no matter how remote the site may be, and noted that this was not the first violation for which Mr. Pflueger had been cited.” But instead of the mayor coming down on Pflueger, Buist was told to “stop all actions involving Mr. Pflueger.”

Pflueger told Hawaii Reporter that he doesn’t remember any correspondence with Dyer and he does not recall ever seeing a spillway at Ka Loko. But he admitted that he could have covered the spillway himself: “And that reservoir around it is beautiful because I mowed it right down there to the edge. I did, mowed everything. I mowed everything. And if I filled something up or if somebody filled it up – tell me. Tell me. I mean, tell me,” Pflueger says.

Regardless if he covered the spillway, Pflueger says he is not responsible for the death and destruction that resulted from the dam breach. He blames former landowner, C. Brewer, and the Kilauea Irrigation Company’s manager, Tom Hitch, who through a 1987 water rights agreement distributed water from the reservoir to the farmers below. He says they should have noticed if he covered the spillway because they were in charge of maintaining the water system.

“Everything is covered with grass. Everything is covered with grass. Whatever happened, happened. I never saw the spillway. I don’t know where the damned thing is. But who is the operator of the dam? It is their responsibility. … But if I did it (cover the spillway), no problem. I don’t remember doing it, but if I did it, no problem.”

He also blames the State of Hawaii because the Department of Land and Natural Resources officers never paid him a visit, despite a 1987 law that says dams must be inspected every 5 years. (The DNLR director at the time of the breach, Peter Young, said Pflueger did not grant the DNLR access to his property).

The Indictments

Hawaii Attorney General Mark Bennett led the grand jury proceedings, despite an earlier protest last Tuesday from Pflueger’s attorney William McCorriston, who unsuccessfully aimed to have Bennett and his office prevented from heading the criminal investigation because he claimed Bennett has a conflict of interest being that the state could also prove culpable.

Bennett says he believes the evidence in the case justified the presentation to the grand jury, but that “an indictment is only an accusation and Pflueger is considered innocent unless and until he is found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt by a judge or jury.” He confirmed if convicted, Pflueger could be sentenced for up to 10 years in prison for each of the manslaughter counts.

Just after the indictment was filed, McCorriston held a press conference to announce his client’s outrage, saying that the 82-year-old Pflueger shouldn’t be subject to such legal proceedings because he infirmed with a heart condition, and moreover, because he is innocent. McCorriston says he will fight to move the criminal trial to Oahu or the Big Island and is considering waiving a jury trial because he doesn’t believe his client can get a fair trial on Kauai after “years of bad press.”

McCorriston also unsuccessfully attempted to move Pflueger’s civil trials from Kauai after they were consolidated in Kauai’s 5th Circuit, even taking his plea to the Hawaii Supreme Court.

Bennett says he will vigorously fight attempts to move the trial off the island. The vast majority of witnesses are on Kauai, and the some of the victims’ families say moving the trial would be difficult for them.

Two civil trials are scheduled in 2009: A wrongful death suit in February and a property damage suit in September 2010. So far, Fifth Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Watanabe has refused to reschedule the civil trials despite attempts from Pflueger’s legal team to get them delayed; but now that Pflueger has been indicted for Manslaughter and Reckless Endangering, the civil trials may have to wait until the criminal charges are resolved.

A&E Network Chief Talks About the Future Of Dog and Other Programming

Q&A: A&E’s Bob DeBitetto

A&E Network chief talks with B&C about the future of “Dog the Bounty Hunter,” the economy’s effect on programming and devleopment and how the “Sopranos” acquisition has panned out.

– Broadcasting & Cable, 11/22/2008 9:00:00 AM

With off-network reruns of CSI: Miami and Criminal Minds, a deep roster of unscripted crime shows (The First 48, Dog the Bounty Hunter and Manhunters: Fugitive Task Force, premiering Dec. 9) and original series (The Cleaner and the upcoming The Beast), A&E is carving a niche as a law-and-order destination.

Bob DeBitetto, president and general manager of A&E Network and Bio Channel, talks to B&C‘s Marisa Guthrie about how he sees the network positioned during an economic downturn, when the financial crisis may impact television development and his prognosis for veteran reality shows Dog and Intervention.

It seems that at a time of great economic uncertainty, viewers are rejecting open-ended serials and frivolous dramedies for the black-and-white world of cops and criminals. Do you think any of that will matter as we head into hard times?

We’re all looking at a challenging year next year in television. All of us. There’s just no question about it. One of the things that you have to do to be successful is to read the tea leaves, to look forward, not backward.

It is fortuitous that some of the genres that we compete so well in are genres that people today are watching in greater numbers because some of the alternatives seem more frivolous in today’s serious economic climate. We like where we are right now. Maybe in a few years we’ll stick our finger up in the air again and see where things are.

The economic crisis has softened the scatter market. When does the recession begin to impact development?

Everybody is looking to first quarter as a major indicator of what 2009 is going to be like. Despite all the bad news, the fourth quarter has remained remarkably robust for us. If the retail spending numbers are really as bad as everybody thinks they might be this holiday season, that’s when [advertisers] might really decide to cut back on ad spending in the first quarter.

There are a couple of things that are fiscally in favor of A&E right now. Broadcast networks continue to see extremely alarming losses in audience. And some of those audiences are going to cable.

There’s a similar phenomenon going on in advertising spending. We’re seeing the migration of advertising dollars from broadcast to cable. The CPM differential makes cable extremely attractive. In challenging economic times everybody is looking at their ROI and saying where can we most effectively place our ad dollar? I think cable offers a very attractive alternative in a difficult economic environment.

That’s not to say cable’s going to have a banner year next year. We’re certainly all battening down the hatches and taking a close look at our plans.

What is the future of Dog and Intervention?

When you look at the network the last few years, if there is any one thing in terms of nuts and bolts and why we have succeeded, it’s the consistency of our ability to develop, launch and sustain franchises. Not just a show that comes and goes after one or two seasons, but franchises that have staying power for three, four, five, six seasons.

This year, Intervention is having its highest ratings ever, and not by a little bit—50% over last year [in adults 18-49]. So when do I see them ending? I don’t. In those two shows we haven’t seen any indicators yet that maybe we’re getting close to [the end]. We look for it. We haven’t seen it.

Several years ago, A&E paid a lot of money for The Sopranos, which had to be stripped of all cussing, nudity and a lot of violence. In hindsight assess that decision.

If we had it to do all over again, I absolutely would.

Why?

At that time, a few years ago, A&E was in a very different place. We needed an A-triple-plus premium platform that was going to vault us to the next level not only in terms of brand and in terms of network perception, but in terms of a true premium property that we could bring into the ad marketplace to move us forward. If I showed you the list of between 50 and 100 clients that came to us and bought the network who had never bought the network before The Sopranos, you would see what I’m getting at. That franchise led such advancements in the ad marketplace. It really sort of vaulted the network to a new plateau.

I honestly don’t think the network would be where it is today in terms of brand perception and viewership but mostly in terms of CPM pricing and in terms of client mix. I just don’t think we would be in the same place. BMW is one example. BMW never bought A&E before The Sopranos. BMW has been a client ever since. Many many premium clients started to think of our network differently.

Now, given how it performed on the network, would I have preferred to pay less for that franchise? Absolutely. But nevertheless if I had it to do again, I would have absolutely done it again. So there has been a method to this. You just don’t necessarily see it when you look at it from the outside.

Credit to http://www.broadcastingcable.com.  More infomation there.

DM

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