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Kolb: Evolving E! beyond the Kardashians

Women's Impact Report 2011: Suzanne Kolb

Although it might be hard to believe, Kim Kardashian is not the only woman who makes E! go round.

Suzanne Kolb was named president of the network in July, a nice promotion from her previous title as president of marketing, news and online. The search for a topper lasted quite a while, but boss Bonnie Hammer, chairman of NBCU cable entertainment and cable studios, believed staying inhouse was the right move for the channel known best for its cadre of femme-friendly reality shows.

“It’s a new role, but I’m with people I know,” Kolb says, talking about the advantage she has in her transition up the corporate ladder.

Her familiarity with the network gives her a better grasp on where it should be going. While it has long relied on all things Kardashian as well as “The Soup” franchise and “Chelsea Lately,” Kolb believes there are new programming opportunities available.

There is talk about scripted series arriving in the near future, but the net won’t shift far from its celeb-centric philosophy.

While she doesn’t see E! “taking an abrupt left turn, an evolution will occur. We will have more of a mix of programming and a greater mix of genres,” she says.

Following the recent NBCUniversal merger, E! — a long-time earner for Comcast — is figuring out its place in the new corporate world, and Kolb is working closely with Hammer on how to maintain the net’s profitability.

That will influenced by the popularity of the Kardashians. The wedding between Kim Kardashian and NBA player Kris Humphries is set as a two-part, four-hour extravaganza Oct. 9-10.

Kolb, who has been at E! for five years, expects the wedding to be one of the biggest draws in network history.

“(The Kardashians’) evolution continues to provide a wealth of storytelling,” she says.

SNAPSHOT
Title: President, E! Entertainment
Role model: “My parents. They are constantly seeking knowledge, their work ethics are incredible and they have never deviated from their own moral standards.”
Career mantra: “Find something you love to do and then figure out a way to do it for a living.”
Leisure pursuits: “Singing ‘Wheels on the Bus’ or playing in the sand with my 10-month-old daughter.”
Philanthropic passion: Make-a-Wish Foundation

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