E! boss will stay on amid the network's fifth year of growth across digital platforms and push into scripted
E! has picked up the option on president Suzanne Kolb's contract, an individual with knowledge of the deal told TheWrap. The length of Kolb's extension is unclear at this time.
Kolb will continue on in the top post at the network known for its unscripted fare, such as “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” and popular programs like “Fashion Police,” “E! News” and its live red carpet awards show coverage.
The extension on Kolb's contract will allow the former marketing executive more time to continue the network's push into scripted series, which kicks off with “The Royals” debuting this year.
The decision to keep Kolb comes as E! is pacing toward its fifth consecutive year of audience growth across desktop and mobile platforms. And E! Online is currently tracking to deliver its biggest year to date, averaging 26 million multi-platform uniques (up 47 percent vs. 2013's full year average) and scoring a record high 30 million multi-platform unique visitors in March 2014.
That doesn't mean that the road ahead for Kolb will be without challenges. The president must deal with the trend of lower live viewing due to DVR penetration, VOD improvements, Smart TV deployment and game counsels, which increasingly offer access to streaming TV services. The affect of which is already showing in the falling ratings for its top shows and in ratings across the TV industry as a whole.
Additionally, Kolb will have to weather the expected loss of Ryan Seacrest as an on-air talent and Chelsea Handler as their late-night draw. The recent hiring of Extra's Maria Menounos is just the start of that process.
Also read: Maria Menounos Inks Overall Deal With E!
Kolb was named E! president in July 2011. She replaced Ted Harbert when he was reassigned to New York to serve as NBC Broadcasting chairman.
An E! spokesperson confirmed to TheWrap that Kolb's contract option has been picked up by the network.