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E! Networks loses chief programmer

Exec guided programming for cabler, Style net

E! Networks chief programmer Mark Sonnenberg will ankle the company Dec. 1.

Sonnenberg, exec VP of entertainment, informed his team of executives of his decision Wednesday afternoon. Insiders say Sonnenberg is fielding a couple of showbiz job offers, but nothing is firm.

Exec spent the past three years guiding the programming direction of E! and recently rebranded sister cabler the Style Network. Some of the hits E! launched under his watch include “The Anna Nicole Show,” “Dr. 90210” –which was just renewed for a second season — and the “101” countdown franchise. His oversight included production, programming, acquisitions, talent, creative and administration.

He also established E! Studios, devoted to both cablers’ original inhouse production.

In a statement, E! president-CEO Ted Harbert said: “All of us at E! Networks are deeply saddened by Mark’s decision to resign but we respect his desire to take on a new challenge that will allow him to contribute his unique creative and business abilities to the entertainment industry.”

Sonnenberg follows former E! topper Mindy Herman as the second top exec to exit the cabler within the last six months. Execs previously reporting to him will now report to E! Networks COO Ken Bettsteller.

Before joining E!, Sonnenberg was an exec VP at Intertainer, where he worked with Herman and Bettsteller. Past positions include exec VP of entertainment for In Demand, senior veep of programming for Fox and head of FX Networks. He started his career as an exec producer for KTLA’s morning news show.

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