E! covers pop culture beat

Half-hour set to premiere March 27

E! Entertainment Television’s “E! News” is getting a new neighbor.

Cabler prexy-CEO Ted Harbert is expanding the channel’s news brand, greenlighting “The Daily 10,” a sort of “Best Week Ever” for the day’s headlines.

Set to premiere March 27, half-hour will air at 7:30 p.m. Monday-Friday as a companion show to 7 p.m. flagship “E! News.” Ryan Seacrest began his hosting duties for “E! News” Monday.

In “Daily 10,” hosts Debbie Matenopoulos (“The View”), Catt Sadler (“Fox Morning News”) and Sal Masekela (“X Games”) will count down the day’s top pop culture stories — pulled from the Web, blogs and magazines — with the same playful attitude that animates E!’s comedic clip show “The Soup.”

“It’s not going to be banter headquarters, but it’ll be a lot more irreverent than our 7 p.m. mothership,” Harbert said.

Topper described the half-hour as a fast-paced rundown of everything one misses with “E! News,” which tends to feature movie, music and TV news in several pre-taped packages.

” ‘Daily 10’ is actually a misnomer. In truth, it’ll be like ‘The Daily 30,’ ” Harbert said.

As entertainment news has expanded to encompass arenas outside showbiz, “Our category has broadened. This second show will be a way to cover it all,” he added. “It got to the point where the team here came to me with lists and lists of all the stuff we don’t talk about — in ‘E! News’ or elsewhere on the network.”

A second news show also puts E! in direct competition with rival nets such as VH1 and Bravo, which have achieved success with irreverent takes on celebrity news and pop culture trends.

Robert Lifton, whose credits include “Access Hollywood” and “The Best Damn Sports Show Period,” is aboard to exec produce the series.

E! currently runs a repeat of “E! News” at 7:30 p.m. Harbert said the reairing typically holds at least 75% of its lead-in audience, which made it fertile ground for a new five-a-week strip.

As for Seacrest’s “E! News” debut, net said more than 400,000 viewers tuned in to the Monday show, up 33% from the March 2005 average.