E!’s New President Explains Why the Kardashians Are Still Worth Keeping Up With

And why he's expanding into live and scripted fare


Specs
Who Adam Stotsky
Current gig President, E! Entertainment and Esquire Network
Previous gig GM, E!, and president, Esquire Network
Age 47
Twitter @adamstotsky

Adweek: What have you been focusing on in your new E! duties?
Adam Stotsky: Three things. Growing our series output and really building on the Kardashians' success with big, global, repeatable franchises in that space. Job No. 2 is building the category-killing entertainment and celebrity news franchise in E! News. And lastly, building out our live events franchise. We've expanded the Live From the Red Carpet to the pop culture of fashion, with New York Fashion Week and the Met Gala.

You're about to start production on E!'s second scripted series, The Arrangement. Why was it important to expand into scripted fare?
Scripted storytelling allows us a different lens into this world. It allows us to go into worlds that our unscripted docuseries cameras couldn't. We could never take our unscripted cameras behind the palace gates of Buckingham Palace, so creating a fictional royal first family in the form of The Royals seemed like a really exciting way to expand the aperture of what the E! branded experience could be about. We're focused on providing multiple access points for our audience into that world, and I think that's how we've been able to grow our audience in this incredibly challenging environment.

Keeping Up With the Kardashians is still going strong after 12 seasons, and you've got two new Kardashian spinoffs in the works. How has that franchise been so resilient?
Quite frankly, I think it's the eighth wonder of the world. I really can't explain it other than the fact that from Kris Jenner all the way down, they have built a very comfortable relationship with having cameras around them at all times. And have established a real willingness to share the exciting, the good, the bad, the ugly, the indifferent, the crazy, the sublime, and everything in between, with E! and in turn our audience. It's rare for such public figures to be so open, and they have recognized the power of that openness.

You've been quiet about the future of Caitlyn Jenner's show, I Am Cait. Will it be back for a third season?
We're still talking to Caitlyn about what's she interested in doing. No news on that just yet, but we feel really terrific about the first two cycles. Obviously the first one was transformative, so to speak, not only for her and her life and her family but also for the network. She's still in this discovery phase of what her life looks like and wants to be, and we have to honor and respect that.

How have you been able to nurture the upstart Esquire Network?
It still remains early in its life stage; we're about two and a half years in. We've had quarter-over-quarter growth since our launch, and for us, it's about curating an experience for this audience that has been historically quite elusive for television programmers to connect with and advertisers to reach: this upscale, affluent, educated, urban guy. We look for partnership opportunities that allow us to act like a bigger brand than possibly we are. Our partnership with NBC in growing the American Ninja Warrior franchise has been an absolute success, not only for us at Esquire but also for NBC. So far, so good.

This story first appeared in the June 20, 2016 issue of Adweek magazine.
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