As Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Discovery Channel, Michael Quattrone oversaw all areas of programming, management, and operations, including production, on-air promotion, program development and scheduling. His seven-year term as head of the network is the most successful in its history.
Quattrone conceptualized and developed numerous original productions including Discovery Channel’s most ambitious programming initiative, Expedition Adventure, in which Discovery funded and filmed groundbreaking expeditions around the world. The March 2000 special, Raising the Mammoth, resulted in both Discovery Channel and cable industry ratings records (an average of 10.1 million viewers during its premiere telecast, the second most-watched non-sports program on cable during the 1999-2000 television season). Quattrone also was responsible for Discovery Channel’s co-production with the BBC of the Peabody and Primetime Emmy Award winning Walking with Dinosaurs. In April 2000 it delivered an average of 10.7 million viewers in its first airing, beating out Raising the Mammoth to become the most watched non-sports cable program of the 1999-2000 television season. These critically acclaimed specials are still the two highest rated documentaries in basic cable history.
In addition, Quattrone’s network unit developed and produced thousands of hours of programming, including the network’s Titanic Live broadcast – an unprecedented live program from the famous wreck site; The Ultimate Guide, highly praised cutting-edge quarterly specials; the Emmy Award winning Discovery News and its successor Deadline Discovery; On the Inside, a popular series focusing on many of the world’s most intriguing places, events, landmarks, and organizations; and two of the most viewed non-fiction series on basic cable, The New Detectives: Case Studies in Forensic Science and The FBI Files.
Quattrone also managed Discovery Communications’ “Watch with the World” specials, which aired on the same night in primetime in nearly 150 countries and in over 25 languages. Those specials included Cleopatra’s Palace: In Search of a Legend, Raising the Mammoth and Inside the Space Station.
Perhaps most importantly, even as the Discovery Channel’s audience increased 67% during his tenure, it maintained its “highest quality” ranking in nearly every independent consumer survey. The valuable combination of extraordinary ratings growth and programming excellence made the network a favorite of many of America’s largest advertisers.
Quattrone joined Discovery Communications, Inc. in October 1991 as Director of Program Scheduling, Evaluation, and Budget for The Learning Channel, moving over to DCI’s flagship Discovery Channel in February 1993 as Vice President of Programming, Production, and Development. He became the network’s first Executive Vice President and General Manager in early 1996, retaining that position until he left in March 2001. Prior to joining DCI, Quattrone was the Director of Television Broadcasting for WHYY-TV, Philadelphia’s public television station. He also served as Program Manager in Residence at the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) national headquarters in Alexandria, VA. Previously, he was on the Board of Directors of Acorn Media, Inc. in Silver Spring, MD and American Public Television in Boston, MA.
In 2003, he and his wife Kathy formed Chesapeake Seasons LLC, a media company providing content development and strategic services. Current and previous clients include PBS, National Geographic Channel, Discovery Communications, TV One, NOVA, Hoff Productions and CTVC.
A graduate of Villanova University, he currently resides with Kathy and their yellow Labrador Retriever Chessie on Maryland’s beautiful Eastern Shore.