Speaker Mary Donahue

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Mary Donahue

SVP, Development & Programming


Mary Donahue is Senior Vice President, Development and Programming for History, a position she’s held since 2017. Working with a team of programmers, she’s responsible for managing all production at the network, overseeing a slate that includes events and premium drama documentaries. Recent projects include History’s record-breaking Evel Live, the highly rated Grant with executive producer Leonardo DiCaprio and Abraham Lincoln, with Pulitzer Prize winning author, Doris Kearns Goodwin. Committed to the diverse storytelling that defines History’s brand, Donahue and the History team are currently producing projects ranging from Food that Built America to The Colosseum, Sitting Bull, Theodore Roosevelt, and Harlem Hell Fighters. The team is also charged with integrating new programs with digital initiatives.

Donahue also oversees all new and returning series, including Curse of Oak Island, American Pickers, and Forged in Fire, as well as Pawn Stars and Swamp People, two definitive hits she developed during a previous stint at History. Donahue also served as SVP, Non-Fiction Programming at Lifetime, where she helped launch True Tori, Bring It, The Rap Game, and the Little Women series. She also oversaw Dance Moms and Project Runway.

Prior to joining A&E Networks, Donahue worked from 2004 to 2008 at Discovery Channel. While there, she developed and launched a broad slate of shows, including Man vs. Wild, Storm Chasers, Alaska Experiment, Cash Cab and Future Weapons, as well as the Emmy nominated Expedition series with the BBC Natural History Unit. Donahue also oversaw Mythbusters and Dirty Jobs, growing ratings on both. She also worked at The Oprah Winfrey Show, where she was a producer/field director for six years and for ABC News, NBC News, USA Today and CNN. Additionally, she was a showrunner for TLC’s A Wedding Story, earning its first Emmy nomination and win.

She is a cum laude graduate of Williams College and holds MA degrees in American Studies with a specialty in film studies from both Boston University and The University of Sussex in Brighton, England, where she was a Rotary scholar. Donahue has been nominated for ten Emmys and won four times. Programs she developed have earned 20 Emmy nominations.

Speaking on: What’s hot in docs: trends you need to know; Spotlight on A+E Networks: History Channel and Homemade Nation

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