Animal Planet, Science and Velocity Networks
Since taking over leadership of Animal Planet Media in February 2007, Kaplan has transformed and revolutionized the business by repositioning the network into a more adult-focused, competitive entertainment brand. One year later in February 2008, Kaplan relaunched Animal Planet with a new logo, new brand campaign and new programming vision that delivered on the expansive and unexpected range of visceral experiences within the animal kingdom, creating a bold entertainment destination. In recognition of Kaplan’s role as a top performing executive in cable television, she was named in March of this year to the Wonder Woman class of 2013 by Multichannel News. Then, in July, she was honored as a 2013 Woman to Watch by Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT), and was again honored in September as a 2013 CableFax Hall of Fame enductee.
In 2010, Kaplan signaled a further evolution in programming strategy and brand with the introduction of a new tagline “Surprisingly Human.” Under Kaplan’s direction, Animal Planet has grown its audience 39% among P25-54 since the 2008 re-brand and finished 2012 as a top-20 cable network. In 2012, the network achieved its most-watched year in network history in prime among HH (476K), P25-54 (292K) and posted its most-watched year ever in total day among P2+ viewers (434K), HH (342K), and P25-54 (190K).
Continuing that success in 2013, Animal Planet recently achieved its most-watched third quarter ever in prime and total day among major key demos, including P2+ viewers (742K, 496K), HH (525K, 369K), P25-54 (305K, 201K) and P18-49 (286K, 196K). This followed record breaking first and second quarters and marked the third consecutive quarter that the network ranked among the top-20 ad-supported cable networks based on M25-54 delivery (#19). The network also ranks among the top-20 cable networks in 2013 to date (#16).
With Kaplan at the Animal Planet helm, the network launched WHALE WARS, an environmental adventure series following the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society who use unconventional and radical methods to eradicate alleged illegal whaling operations. Following that success, she launched the network's best-performing series ever, RIVER MONSTERS, a nature adventure series following extreme angler Jeremy Wade in his worldwide search for harrowing tales of man-eating fish. In its most recent fifth season, RIVER MONSTERS delivered its most watched season ever with 1.8M P2+ viewers.
Adding to Kaplan’s roster of hits are FINDING BIGFOOT, MONSTER WEEK AND CALL OF THE WILDMAN. FINDING BIGFOOT ranks among the network's top-three-performing series of all time among P25-54, and delivered 1.2M P2+ viewers overall last season. In second quarter 2013, the second annual MONSTER WEEKdelivered Animal Planet’s most-watched week to date in both prime and total day. And, MERMAIDS: THE NEW EVIDENCE,which aired at the tail end of MONSTER WEEK,became Animal Planet’s most-watched telecast of all time with 3.6M P2+ viewers breaking the record for the network’s first-ever MONSTER WEEK in 2012, featuring MERMAIDS: THE BODY FOUND, which delivered nearly 2 million viewers (1.96M P2+) for its premiere. Showcasing “Surprisingly Human” characters, Animal Planet introduced “Turtleman” Ernie Brown Jr. in the series CALL OF THE WILDMAN. An immediate pop-culture sensation, CALL OF THE WILDMAN ranks as the network’s second-most watched series year to date, delivering 1.3M P2+ viewers. The season-two debut saw a series high of 1.9M P2+ viewers
In recognition of Kaplan's strong creative and business leadership of Animal Planet, in January 2011 she was promoted to president of Science Channel and in November of 2012 given oversight of Velocity with Science Channel general manager, Debbie Myers and Velocity general manager Robert Scanlon, reporting to her respectively. Working with the Science Channel and Velocity teams, Kaplan continues to build on their success by growing viewership while maintaining the day to day oversight and aggressive growth of Animal Planet as president and general manager.
Kaplan is responsible for the strategic direction and day-to-day operations of this multi-media venture that includes the Animal Planet television network, available in more than 96 million homes in the US; online assets www.animalplanet.com, the ultimate online destination for all things animal; the 24/7 broadband channel, and other media platforms including a robust Video-on-Demand (VOD) service; mobile content; and merchandising extensions.
Kaplan joined Discovery Communications Inc. in 1997 as senior vice president for Children's Programming and Products, and oversaw the launch of Discovery Kids Channel that same year. For over a decade, Kaplan directed children's programming for Discovery Networks, U.S., including all Discovery Kids Channel programming as well as the three-hour commercial free READY, SET, LEARN pre-school block that aired on TLC and Discovery Kids Channel, the discoverykids.com website, and children's products and services. In 2006, Kaplan led Discovery Kids Channel to 14 daytime Emmy nominations.
Before joining Discovery, Kaplan served as executive vice president at Lancit Media Entertainment, the Emmy Award-winning producer of children's programs including "Reading Rainbow" and "The Puzzle Place." Discovery purchased a minority equity stake in Lancit Media in September 1996, and Kaplan became responsible for managing the relationship between Discovery and Lancit.
Kaplan also served as director of advertising for Kraft General Foods where she was responsible for brand strategy, positioning, and advertising. Additionally, Kaplan was a vice president at Ogilvy & Mather, with clients including General Foods, AT&T and TWA. She also consulted to Warner Amex Satellite Entertainment on the development of a shopping channel.
Kaplan is an alumna of Brown University where she majored in Semiotics. She and her husband live in New York City with their two sons, who claim to watch nothing but Animal Planet.