Joan, Melissa Rivers Join TV Guide Channel

There may be an “e” in “Rivers,” but there’s no longer an “E!.”

In a move to solidify its commitment to more long-form programming, rather than mere listings, TV Guide Channel has signed a contract with comic Joan Rivers and her daughter, Melissa.

The Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc.-owned network said Wednesday that the mother-daughter duo will cover the entertainment world's marquee red-carpet events, along with appearing on other series, specials and programming initiatives.

The Riverses have made their mark on E! since 1996 through their barbed red-carpet fashion commentary at such events as the Academy Awards, the Emmy Awards, the Golden Globes and the Grammy Awards.

Sources said the deal commits the mother-daughter pair to the channel for three years. They will earn between $6 million-$8 million, according to sources. In addition to their on-air work, TV Guide will co-develop shows with Joan Rivers.

TV Guide Television Group president Ian Aaron said his mission has been to solidify distribution and to broaden viewership of the channel.

The latter has been achieved with deals with EchoStar Communications Corp. and DirecTV Inc., bringing penetration of TV Guide Channel up to 80 million homes.

With the Rivers pact, the network has talent capable of expanding the “length of tune” to the channel, he added.