E! cranks up 8 new nonscripted series

Cabler aims for new franchise shows, Herman sez

NEW YORK — E! Entertainment TV has come up with eight new weekly series for the 2001-02 season, each of which will get a 13-episode commitment and run in key time periods on the net.

“Our goal is to develop some new franchise shows for E!” to add to such current successes as “True Hollywood Stories,” “Mysteries & Scandals” and “Talk Soup,” said Mindy Herman, prexy-CEO of E! Networks, at a press preview of the web’s upfront presentation to advertisers.

These are the eight new series:

  • “Totally True TV Tales,” a half-hour behind-the-scenes look at popular TV series

  • “Rank,” a countdown of the best and worst in movies, TV, music and sports (the first half-hour covers the sexiest men in entertainment)

  • “Making It,” which follows young hopefuls seeking to make their mark in various showbiz areas (a Las Vegas six-parter kicks off the series)

  • “The Women of…,” which profiles top female actors, comedians, showbiz executives and other “creative forces”

  • “Assignment E!,” featuring in-depth hourlong reports on the big issue of the week in entertainment, hosted by Steve Kmetko and Jules Asner, the anchors of “E! News Daily”

  • “Star Style,” which deals with the fashion history of a single major star, starting with Michelle Pfeiffer and Cher as the first two subjects

  • “Close Encounters,” which invites the cast members, writers and directors of a TV series to a studio where they’ll answer questions from devoted fans of the series

  • “E! POV,” which gives a digital camera to celebrities and asks them to tape their activities on a given day, cinema-verite style.

None of these series are scripted, but Herman said E! doesn’t rule out producing a scripted series in the future.