Kolb Named President of E! Entertainment
One reason why Suzanne Kolb was named president of E! Entertainment was how well the channel operated while the search was being conducted.
As president for marketing, news and online at E! Entertainment and the Style network, Kolb was one of four senior managers at the channel who reported directly to Bonnie Hammer, chairman of cable entertainment and cable studios at NBCUniversal, for six months after Comcast moved former E! President Ted Harbert moved to head NBC Broadcast in January.
"Very much part of my decision came from watching a group of seasoned, mature individuals who I put in a very difficult situation," said Hammer, who asked them to be collaborative and professional and adult during the interim period. "I was impressed with how smart and what true leaders they were, because it could have gone another way."
Hammer said she hadn't known Kolb before. "It's really important for me as an individual to work with somebody I trust both in their competence and their character. And she embodies both."
The experience also helped convince Hammer that E! was not broken and didn't need to be fixed, opening the door to one of the homegrown candidates.
Kolb says she will work with Hammer on a brand audit for E!, a process that will help the network figure out where it needs to grow to the next plateau. A similar audit by Hammer at USA Network seven years ago helped set the stage for that network becoming No. 1 in cable.
"I believe E! needs to keep a marriage of entertainment and information," Kolb said. Comedy, in the form of Chelsea Later and The Soup, have added a different dimension to the channel, she said. "We need to be rounding out our offering and honing the edges a little bit, as opposed to some sort of big purge."
Kolb says she also needs to unify the team now that a president has been named and refocus them on the job at hand.
"I have the benfit of bing new to the job but not new to the place, so I am very familiar with the lead people and how strong they are," she said.
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.
At E! Networks, Kolb oversaw the marketing strategies and creative that launched the popular Kardashians franchise and late night's Chelsea Lately.
Will there be more Kardashians on the channel. "I don't know. Is one of them pregnant," Kolb quipped. "We love the Karashians. It's a big family with a lot gong on right now. We're focused on the wedding."
Kolb has been with E! and Style since 2005. Before that, she served as executive VP of marketing at The WB.
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Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.