NBCUniversal's planned makeover of E! Entertainment has just ramped up with the appointment of marketing executive Suzanne Kolb as the channel's new president.
Thursday's selection of Kolb, a six-year veteran of E!, capped a six-month search that began in late January when Comcast Corp. took control of media giant NBCUniversal. Comcast promptly folded its cable channels, including the Los Angeles-based E!, into NBCUniversal's higher-performing cable channel portfolio. At the same time, Ted Harbert, head of Comcast's entertainment channels, received a new assignment -- running business operations for the NBC broadcast network -- which created a key opening in E!'s executive suite.
"Suzanne was poised and ready to go. She has the competency, the skills -- and the passion -- to help us take E! to the next level," Bonnie Hammer, chairwoman of NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment and Cable Studios, said in an interview Thursday. Kolb will report to Hammer, who is responsible for NBCUniversal's profitable USA and Syfy cable channels -- and now E!
Hammer's strategy is to slowly add scripted programs to E!'s splashy lineup, which has rocketed in the ratings with popular reality shows starring the Kardashian sisters -- "Keeping up with the Kardashians" and "Khloe & Lamar," featuring Los Angeles Lakers forward Lamar Odom. The channel also features an eclectic and saucy mix of tabloid celebrity news, with "E! News" and "The Soup," and the "Chelsea Lately" talk show with Chelsea Handler.