John Hendricks Biography & Net Worth

John Hendricks Biography & Net Worth

John Hendricks Biography & Net Worth

Popular Name: John Hendricks
Real Name:
John Samuel Hendricks
Birth Date:
March 29, 1952 
Birth Place:
Matewan, West Virginia, United States
Age: 69
Gender: Male
Nationality: American
Height: 181 cm
Weight: 68 kg
Sexuality: Straight
Marital Status: Married
Pattie Miller
Maureen Donohue (m. 1981)
Children: 2
Profession: Businessman, Investor
Years active: N/A
Net Worth: $800 Million
Last Updated: 2021


John Hendricks is a notable American businessman who is most famous for being the founder, former chairman, and former chief executive of the broadcasting and film production company Discovery, Inc., which owns the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, and TLC networks, among other Businesses. On March 20, 2014, after thirty-two years in charge, he made known his decision to retire from his position as chairman of Discovery Communications after the yearly shareholders’ meeting of May 16, 2014. Subsequently, he moved on to establish the ad-free, on-demand nonfiction streaming service known as CuriosityStream.

Mr. Hendricks made a fortune in the cable television business, taking about a decade to turn his company into a $700 million a year business. Though not an expert when he ventured into the TV programming business, Hendricks achieved success by knowing how to employ the right people in the most suitable areas: public relations, programming, and marketing. His Discovery Channel turned out to become a staple of cable systems throughout the United States and also went viral in many countries of the world. He continually sought new and more profitable opportunities for his company, exploring high-tech advancements, like cyberspace and digital cable TV. Today, we know this man’s name and all he has accomplished even as he is no longer at the helm. On this note, let’s demystify his life story, career journey, personal endeavors, and other areas of his life. Let’s continue below.

Early Life & Education

John Samuel Hendricks was born on March 29, 1952 in Matewan, West Virginia, United States. His parents were both employed, with his mother working as a clerk for city government while his father worked as a home builder. The family moved to Huntsville, Alabama, in 1958, and John had to experience his childhood days in this new location.

When he was 20 years old, he lost his father. His mother died ten years afterward.

Hendricks is an educated and intelligent man. He started his educational pursuit by joining S.R. Butler High School when he had completed his elementary education. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history, which he earned from the University of Alabama in Huntsville in 1974.

While studying at the University of Alabama in Huntsville he worked in the audio-visual department where he was tasked with bringing documentaries to the public. The year he graduated from the University, Hendricks found his first big job as director of community and government relations for his alma mater. The following year, he got hired by the University of Maryland as director of corporate and foundation relations. While at the University of Maryland, he combined with Edward M. Peabody to co-found a fund-raising consulting company called the American Association of University Consultants and published a number of newsletters directed at academic disciplines such as chemistry.

John Hendricks Biography
John Hendricks

Professional Life & Career Details

Early Days

Before launching The Discovery Channel, John Hendricks was not inexperienced with things associated with broadcasting and communications. He had served as the president of the American Association of University Consultants, a fund-raising consulting company that he founded. As a private consulting organization, the American Association of University Consultants is primarily involved in television distribution as well as the marketing of educational programs and services. In his tenure as a leader at the organization, Hendricks amassed a large client list, including colleges, universities, and educational film distributors.

Along with his duties at the American Association of University Consultants between 1974 and 1980, Mr. Hendricks occupied the seat of director of corporate relations for the prestigious University of Maryland. Before that, from 1973 to 1974, he served at the University of Alabama in Huntsville as director of community and governmental relations.

Discovery Channel

When John Hendricks started Discovery in 1982, he added $20,000 of his own money to the initial financing provided by a New York insurance company and an investment bank. To develop the new cable service, Hendricks incorporated his company, then known as the Cable Educational Network Inc.

Six years on, Hendricks got extra support when cable operators Newhouse Broadcasting, Telecommunications, Inc., and Cox Cable Communications invested in his company. From there, the Discovery Channel became Discovery Communications, Inc. (DCI) and expanded to include foreign, multimedia, and online ventures. Discovery Communications, Inc., which is based in Bethesda, Maryland, also grew into retailing when Hendricks acquired a Texas-based chain of stores called The Nature Company and the Discovery Stores.

Discovery Communications, Inc. has since transformed into one of the largest cable television networks in America and in the world as a whole. By the late 1990s, it was rendering its services to more than 114 million subscribers in 145 countries around the world. It also branched out into new programming areas with the Animal Planet Channel and The Learning Channel.

In 1996, he announced that Discovery was collaborating with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) to splash more than $500 million in the production of new programming and to inaugurate satellite and cable channels worldwide, including a United States channel that would feature performing arts and drama programming produced by the BBC.

In 1997, Discovery premiered its debut feature film, The Leopard Son. It was a documentary about a leopard cub that lived in the Serengeti. That same year, Discovery Communications, Inc. bought the Travel Channel and made plans of developing even more additional networks.

CuriosityStream Inc.

On March 20, 2014, after more than three decades of dedicating his whole life to the company he founded, Hendricks decided to retire from his position as chairman and chief executive of Discovery Communications after the annual stockholders’ meeting of May 16, 2014.

He moved on to launch a new company, the ad-free, on-demand nonfiction streaming service known as CuriosityStream.

Awards & Honors

For his commitment to innovation throughout his career, Mr. Hendricks was honored with an Edison Achievement Award in 2011. He was presented the Golden Plate Award by the American Academy of Achievement in 1997. Furthermore, the 6066 Hendricks asteroid has been named after him in recognition of his works and legacy

John Hendricks Net Worth
John Hendricks, founder and chairman of Discovery Communications

Personal Life & Family

John Hendricks was initially married to Pattie Miller whom he met while they both attended S.R. Butler High School.

In January 1981, he got married to his current wife, Maureen Donohue. The couple are the parents of two children, Andrew Hendricks and Elizabeth Hendricks.

Andrew attended the Landon School and now serves as the President of Driven Experiences, an automotive company that deals with many forms of the marketing media. He is also a professional race car driver in Grand-Am Road Racing. His sister, Elizabeth, attended the Holton-Arms School and also Princeton University. She currently serves as President of Hendricks Factual Media.

Hendricks is distant cousins with American businessman Rick Hendrick, the owner of NASCAR.

John Hendricks Net Worth: Salary, Brands, Expenses, Real Estate

This American businessman, investor, and entrepreneur has been active in various businesses for more than thirty years. He has made a fortune by founding various companies and also by serving as president, chairman, and chief executive of many organizations.

John Hendricks is probably most renowned for his involvement in the establishment of the broadcasting and film production company Discovery, Inc., which owns the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, and TLC networks, and other ventures. As at the time of this publication, his net worth is pegged at a whopping $800 million. He has also tried his hands at investing in multiple endeavors, as well as in the acquisition of several brands and properties.

Hendricks acquired his first property in the 1990s, a decent piece in Colorado where he eventually constructed a 7,000-acre personal building. Subsequently, he bought an additional 1700 acres where he built out a high-end resort and car museum. In 2017, he listed this same property for sale for $149 million. However, he failed to find a buyer. In 2019, he listed both his properties for sale for $280 million. As of this moment, it is unclear if he has sold off his properties. It is expected that the proceeds from the sales of those assets will contribute a huge boost to his net worth, and possibly make him one more billionaire of the United States.


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