The E! network is getting a makeover this summer, which is probably both good and bad. Good because they’re working on some new programming that looks interesting, like Nigel Lythgoe’s music series, Opening Act. The show follows unknown musicians who get the chance to open for acts like Rod Stewart, Brad Paisley and Nicki Minaj.
Bad because, well, look at that logo. It’s just bland as all get out. Don’t you think a logo that says “Pop of Culture” would, you know, pop? Be exciting? Have more color? More pizzazz? More something? Maybe I’m just in a whiny mood, but it does nothing for me.
The E! reboot has been in the works for a while. Following the Comcast-NBCUniversal merger in 2011, E! was placed under the leadership of cable maven Bonnie Hammer. The goal is to give the network a more “aspirational tone and a robust slate of scripted programming.”
What?! No more Kardashians? Don’t look for them to go away anytime soon. Keeping Up With the Kardashians and their other shows — except for Khloe and Lamar, who are taking a break to focus on other things — were just renewed for three more years.
It is not lost on me that a smart show like Fringe struggles to get a fifth season renewal, while the Kardashians sail all the way to the bank.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter in late 2011, Hammer — the brains behind the rebranding of the now top-rated USA Network — said this: “E! is a guilty pleasure … and not necessarily one people like to admit they watch. We’ll eventually get rid of the more Playboy trashy element, and elevate E! to a fun, exciting and aspirational network.”
I looked up “aspirational” and found this definition: “In consumer marketing, an aspirational brand (or product) means a large segment of its exposure audience wishes to own it, but for economical reasons cannot.”
All I can say is, E! must be looking at a complete and total makeover, because no one I know aspires to be like anyone on their network. I’m not saying it’s not entertaining. I get sucked into watching the Kardashians now and then, but I sure wouldn’t want their lives.
But look, maybe E! knows what it’s doing. In the works are scripted shows from Kevin Spacey, John Wells and Salt’s Phillip Noyce, and the network is adding 100 more original hours of programming, bringing the net to 700-plus hours for the year.
E! is also re-launching its 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,” said E! president Suzanne Kolb in a statement. “For us, this exciting next chapter is all about never letting anyone go a minute without their ‘pop of culture.’”
Now if they could just work on that logo.