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E! Hires ABC Exec Kevin Plunkett to Oversee Scripted Programming

Kevin Plunkett Headshot - P 2011
Kevin Plunkett

Plunkett's ABC credits include "Scrubs," "Cougar Town," "Samantha Who" and "Happy Endings."

E! has found itself a scripted chief in Kevin Plunkett.

The former SVP of comedy development at ABC Studios has been named senior vice president of scripted programming at the network best known for the Kardashians' reality fare.

"It is very exciting for all of us at E! to enter this new programming genre, and we know that Kevin is the right person to lead the charge," said the cable network’s entertainment programming president Lisa Berger of an executive whose credits include Scrubs, Cougar Town, Samantha Who and Happy Endings. "He has both the experience and the creative vision that will help us establish and build a great scripted programming initiative that is uniquely tailored to appeal to the E! audience.”

The move comes after a months-long search, which E!’s newly installed president Suzanne Kolb has been intent on filling since she was hired in July. Months earlier, NBCU cable entertainment and cable studios' Bonnie Hammer confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that she will be pushing the network into the scripted drama space over the next two to three years. “Obviously we do a boatload at USA and Syfy, and E! is the next step,” she said, noting that “E! is not going to turn into Syfy or USA.”

As THR first reported, the network has been undergoing what Hammer dubs a "brand audit," much the way her USA did seven years earlier. "I would say that E! is a wide open book right now in terms of where we go," she told THR of her plan to figure out what the female-leaning network is -- and perhaps more poignantly, could be last spring. "E! is very successful right now; it’s not broken in any way, shape or form. But the goal is to do to E! what we did to USA over the past seven years: take it from a successful channel and have it just completely break out."