E! president Suzanne Kolb wants the writers who went on strike in early April against the Joan Rivers-hosted Fashion Police to know that the WGA West is their real enemy not the network. “The WGA has convinced you that a strike is necessary in order to gain a union contract. But history at E! has shown that not to be true. You are actually losing paychecks because of the guild’s dislike of elections,” she wrote in a letter to the striking scribes that was released today. The writers have said that because a majority of them already want to be represented by the WGA, no election is required. The WGA West assisted the scribes in their complaint last month to the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement. In her letter today, Kolb also made a point of deflecting any blame for the situation from WGA member Rivers, whose production company the writers added on April 10 to their complaint to the state. “Joan Rivers has been and remains emphatically supportive of you,” she wrote. “The responsibility of the show lies on my shoulders, not hers,” Kolb added. The first public remarks from Kolb on the matter didn’t seem to get to her intended audience in a timely fashion. Two writers from the show tell me that they haven’t received a copy of the letter this morning. One writer says he got the letter …
James Hitchcock has joined E! Entertainment as EVP Marketing, reporting to the network’s new president Suzanne Kolb. The appointment stems from Kolb’s promotion in July to E! president, which left vacant her previous post as President, Marketing, News and Online for E! and The Style Network. The job was split in two, with Hitchcock taking over head of marketing duties at E!, while Nicole Sabatini last week was named SVP Marketing for Style. Hitchcock, who started today, oversees all marketing for all E! branded platforms. He previously served as Marketing and Branding Officer at Discovery Channel and as SVP Marketing and Creative for CMT.
E! Entertainment is shifting some responsibilities on the corporate side now that new president Suzanne Kolb is on the job. Today, the network said that Cyndi McClellan has been promoted to President of Network Strategy and E! News, adding oversight of E! News to her responsibilities that include news information programming, strategic planning, research, acquisitions and scheduling. Meanwhile, John Najarian, the EVP and General Manager of Digital and Business Development, will take on strategy and oversight of E! Online as well as his ongoing management of E!’s mobile, broadband and VOD businesses, as well as business development. McClellan and Najarian will report to Kolb; Bruce Perlmutter will continue as SVP News and Online and reports to McClellan and Najarian.
Back in May, we reported about rumblings that E! Entertainment marketing president Suzanne Kolb had emerged as the top internal candidate to replace Ted Harbert as the network’s president, after Harbert moved on to NBC to oversee stations, affiliates, and sales alongside Bob Greenblatt. NBC Cable chairman Bonnie Hammer took her time, but today she made it official about Kolb. Here’s the release:
Los Angeles, July 7, 2011 – Suzanne Kolb has been named President of E! Entertainment, reporting to Bonnie Hammer, Chairman, NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment and Cable Studios. Kolb previously served as President, Marketing, News and Online for E! and The Style Network and has played a key leadership role in driving the networks’ record-breaking growth over the past six years. As E! President, Kolb’s senior management team will include longtime E! executives Steve Dolcemaschio, Chief Operating Officer, Lisa Berger, President, Entertainment Programming, and Cyndi McClellan, Executive Vice President, Research & Program Strategy.
“As a member of E!’s leadership team, Suzanne has played a pivotal role in getting the network to the great place it is today,” said Hammer. “Her strong oversight of three areas key to E!’s success — news, online and marketing — makes her the perfect person to lead the brand through the important next phase of its evolution.”
“I am incredibly grateful to Bonnie for the opportunity to lead E! during this wonderfully exciting and unique time in the brand’s history and equally thrilled to do that in partnership with a management team I know and love,” said Kolb. “E! has enjoyed great success in the past but we’re just getting started.”
In her previous role as President, Marketing, News and Online, E! Entertainment and The Style Network, Kolb led all marketing, communications and brand alliances for both networks, and oversaw the networks’ popular non-linear destinations E! Online and mystyle.com. Most recently Kolb successfully unified and expanded E!’s news entities, including E! News, E! Online and E! News Now, and has helped to establish E! News as the top global entertainment news brand.
Like she had said, NBC Cable chairman Bonnie Hammer is taking her time with finding a new president of E! to succeed Ted Harbert. Word is she is a few weeks away from making a final decision and is still considering a couple of outside candidates. Internally, marketing president Suzanne Kolb has emerged as the top candidate. Additionally, Hammer is planning to add scripted programming to the mix at E!. A search for a scripted executive is underway, with 2013 as a target date for launching E!’s first scripted series.