TCA 2012: E! President Suzanne Kolb Still Confident in Launching Scripted Next Year

"We're going to be a little more gritty," says the network topper of her scripted plans for fare that is "CW meets FX" in tone.
Suzanne Kolb

Emphasizing the network's recent rebrand, E! president Suzanne Kolb met with a slightly abbreviated group of reporters at the Television Critics Association summer press tour on Wednesday afternoon. Her presentation was almost entirely devoted to new unscripted efforts, the network's bread and butter, but she did reinforce her upfront promise of launching at least one scripted series in 2013.

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"We are in the middle of reading scripts and we still plan on launching scripted in 2013," she said. "They're coming in every day and we're trying to figure out the ones to go to pilot. That will come in the fall."

Kolb, joined by NBCUniversal cable entertainment chairman Bonnie Hammer and E! president of entertainment programming Lisa Berger, announced a development slate of nine scripted series during its first ever upfront presentation in April.

That slate included projects from producers Kevin Spacey, Michael De Luca and John Wells. Kolb said Wednesday that she's received five scripts out of 11 under consideration and that they're looking to pick up two pilots. They will pick up at least one.

So what's the tone they're going for? "If the CW and FX had a baby, it would be E!," she said to a smaller group after her presentation. "We're going to be a little more gritty to the CW's glossy."

"We're also considering a lot of shows to come into the reality space," said Kolb, adding that the news of pickups for 2013 will come likely come in the next month.

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The network then trotted out stars of latest reality ventures Opening Act and Married to Jonas, but Kolb was clearly most excited for Whitney Cummings, whose weekly talker Love You, Mean It debuts Nov. 28.

"It makes perfect sense to bring Whitney to our air," said Kolb, noting the network's history of late night commentary. "She was part of Chelsea [Handler's] roundtable for a long time, but where she really started and where her heart and soul lives is in stand-up comedy. Giving her an opportunity to come on our air and give her take on pop culture through her very distinct lens... we believe it's going to bring a distinct voice to the air."

Lacey Rose contributed to this report.