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After nearly a year of behind-the-scenes tweaking, E! will unveil its new logo and brand campaign at tonight’s upfront presentation to Madison Avenue buyers.
The new look and feel, which includes a “Pop of Culture” tagline, will bow Monday, July 9 with the premiere of the channel’s just announced Nigel Lythgoe-produced music series, Opening Act. The move comes as the network, which was placed under the leadership of cable maven Bonnie Hammer following the Comcast-NBCUniversal merger in early 2011, is looking to evolve its brand with a more aspirational tone and a robust slate of scripted programming for the first time.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter in late 2011, Hammer, who famously rebranded now top-rated USA Network years earlier, spoke candidly about the goals for the network best known for Kardashian family fare. “E! is a guilty pleasure … and not necessarily one people like to admit they watch,” said Hammer of some of the results the brand audit revealed, adding at the time: “We’ll eventually get rid of the more Playboy trashy element, and elevate E! to a fun, exciting and aspirational network.”
The push being presented to the advertising community Monday is a step in that direction, and comes as many cable networks are undergoing similar rebrands as they evolve as original programming players. Hammer’s decision to promote marketing chief Suzanne Kolb to E! president this past summer was a move that signified the value she places on one’s branding background. (Over the last 14 months, Hammer has upped USA’s former marketing chief Chris McCumber to co-president at USA; and former NBC marketing honcho Adam Stotsky to G4’s general manager.) In recent months, Hammer and Kolb have overseen the rebrand process, which will look to do with E! what Hammer did with once meat-and-potatoes USA nearly a decade ago.
To hear Kolb tell it, the emphasis now will be placed on E!’s unique spin on and access to popular culture.In addition to scripted development from Kevin Spacey, John Wells and Salt’s Phillip Noyce, the network brass is expected to announce it will be adding 100 more original hours of programming, which will bring the net to 700-plus hours for the year. E! also has plans to re-launch its popular website, which is coming off its biggest year on record with 10 million monthly unique visitors.
“From news to reality to live events, E! lives at the epicenter of pop culture,” added Kolb in a statement. “For us, this exciting next chapter is all about never letting anyone go a minute without their ‘pop of culture.’”
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