THR's Women in Entertainment 2011: Power 100
Ever since the Comcast-NBCUniversal merger was formalized in January, E! had been on the hunt for its next network head (former president Ted Harbert was named NBC Broadcasting chairman out of New York). It wasn't until July that NBCU cable entertainment and cable studios' Bonnie Hammer named Kolb the new president of the predominately female network. "I always had the desire to run a network," says Kolb, who has been at E! since 2005 and most recently served as the marketing, news and online president for both E! and Style. "Nowadays, there are a number of people running networks that have come out of the marketing space, where that was a lot less present 10 years ago."
While her new post may demand more of her time, Kolb begins her days the same way: "My 12-month-old daughter wakes up every morning at 5:45 and we go and look for the moon," says the 42-year-old single mom. Prior to her tenure at E!, Kolb worked her way up the ranks at Grey Entertainment, where she served as an advertising coordinator on Stephen King's TV miniseries The Stand ("I went around doing big prison photo shoots," Kolb recalls) before becoming a marketing vp at the now defunct WB network. Five months into her new post, Kolb is overseeing a "deep analysis of where we stand as a brand, refining our mission statement and our vision of what we want the network to be."
Despite backlash over E!-lebrity Kim Kardashian's 72-day marriage to Kris Humphries (as documented by the two-part wedding special Kim's Fairytale Wedding: A Kardashian Event, which brought a record-breaking 10.5 million viewers to the network), E! continues to profit from the Kardashian franchise: Kourtney & Kim Take New York season two premiered to nearly 3.2 million viewers on Nov. 27.
E! announced earlier this year its plan to move into the scripted space and recently inked a two-year deal to keep late-night comic Chelsea Handler at the network as host of the topical series Chelsea Lately. However, Kolb's primary focus remains the nuts and bolts of the network: "We need to continue deciding who we want to be as a network and figure out the creative representation of that."
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