E! Ramps Up Original Programming

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Continuing to ramp up its commitment to original
programming, E! Entertainment Television will expand two of its weekly shows into nightly
strips this fall, and it will produce more than 100 specials for the 1998-99 season,
officials said last week.

Starting Sept. 28, E!'s Fashion Emergency and Mysteries
& Scandals
will become daily series, airing Monday through Thursday, at 6:30 p.m.
and 7:30 p.m., respectively, according to E! president Lee Masters.

"That has been our original plan: to strip both,"
Masters said. "We wanted to first see how they performed, and then fine-tune them ...
We're hoping that we can develop some tune-in [viewing by stripping both

In the case of Fashion Emergency, Masters said,
feedback from focus groups has been used to tweak the show. For example, viewers said they
wanted more segments done on location, rather than in the studio, and that change was
made, according to Masters.

In the first quarter of next year, E! also plans to expand The
E! True Hollywood Story
to a four-night-per-week strip, from Saturday through Tuesday,
with new installments debuting on Sunday nights. E! plans to strip an additional series
next summer, and another in the fall, Masters said.

The reason why E! isn't launching the stripping of all
of these series at the same time is because "it's time-consuming and
expensive," and it takes time to develop the library, Masters said.

E! has also renewed five of the network's signature
shows for another season. The daily E! News Daily/E! News Weekend, Talk
and Howard Stern will embark on a new season, as will the weekly Celebrity

The Gossip Show will become a one-hour weekly series
starting the week of Sept. 28, with the network dropping the daily version of the show. E!
is developing a replacement for the daily version of The Gossip Show that will
incorporate some elements of the current version, Masters said.

This past weekend, Howard Stern began airing Sunday
through Friday at 11 p.m. on E!, instead of Monday through Saturday. That's because
Stern just launched a late-night-Saturday syndicated show that will compete head-to-head
against NBC's Saturday Night Live.

E! will air more than 100 one-hour specials during this
season, with more than two-dozen slated to air before year's end. That output will
double the roughly 50 specials that E! aired last season, according to Masters.

"We're trying to focus on stuff that's
worked well for us," he said.

On weeknights, 100 percent of E!'s primetime
programming is now original, he added.