Berwick Given Oversight of E!, Esquire in Shakeup

Updated: Kolb out as E! president
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Frances Berwick.JPG

NBCUniversal has reorganized its cable networks under cable entertainment chairman Bonnie Hammer. In the new structure, Frances Berwick, head of Bravo and Oxygen, will add E! and Esquire Network to her portfolio in her new role as president of the newly formed lifestyle networks group.

The reorganization came Tuesday as E! president Suzanne Kolb announced her departure from the network. Kolb had been with E! for nine years, having been promoted to president in 2011. Adam Stotsky, president of Esquire Network, has been named general manager of E! and will report directly to Berwick. He will continue to serve as president of Esquire under Berwick.

“In a crowded, constantly evolving media landscape, it’s more important than ever to have a business structure that not only delivers results today, but also sets a course with the right leadership for future success,” said Hammer. “Frances is that rare individual whose creative instincts are as finely tuned as her business savvy. Her impressive track record is all about identifying compelling, innovative content. It’s part of her DNA, and it will be an invaluable asset in this new role and in maximizing E!’s tremendous brand potential.”

Berwick was named president of Bravo in 2010, and gained oversight of Oxygen in 2013.

“I’ve been a huge longtime fan of E! from afar, so I’m really excited to now be part of the team,” said Berwick. “I have enormous respect for the brand leadership position they've built in entertainment news and celebrity culture.”

NBCUniversal’s cable division has been in a near continuous state of reorganization since January, 2013, when Hammer took over the company’s entire stable of cable entertainment brands, with Lauren Zalaznick, who had overseen Bravo, Oxygen and Style, moving into a technology role before leaving the company later that year.

Kolb joined E! in 2005, rising to president of marketing, news and online for E! and Style network. She began reporting directly to Hammer in early 2011 after former network president Ted Harbert moved to NBC, and was officially given the reins of the network by Hammer later that year.

“One of my great privileges in life has been working with you for the past nine years,” she wrote in a memo to staff. “But as the adage goes, all good things must come to an end and so must my time at E!”

Kolb most recently oversaw the network during the departure of late-night host Chelsea Handler, whose show Chelsea Lately ended in August after Handler took to bad-mouthing the network and openly courting potential employers as the end of her contract approached. The network moved in recent months to secure new and in-house talent such as Giuliana Rancic and Maria Menounos to long-term deals. Most recently, E! announced that it would move forward with the series Fashion Policefollowing the death of co-host Joan Rivers.

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