Some longtime E! staffers are trying to figure out what’s next after E! News, the cable network’s flagship program, aired its final broadcast from Los Angeles on Friday, Nov. 15. The network’s daytime digital show, Live from E!, was also canceled.
E! News, a nightly hour-long newscast offering celebrity interviews and the latest in pop culture, launched in Los Angeles in 1991. The program will move to New York and relaunch as a 30-minute morning show in 2020.
An E! Insider shared details with Urban Hollywood 411 about the mood in the newsroom on the last day of production, describing the situation as “bittersweet” and “emotional.”
“It’s a sad day. Layoffs are never good and in this case, it’s even harder because it’s like a family breaking up. A lot of us are not staying through the transition,” the insider said.
Several staffers posted photos on social media of the E! News team posing together on the last day of production on the Universal Studios lot, where the show was taped.
On Aug. 6, Variety reported that E! was laying off “around 20-25 staff” amid the transition.
E! declined to give a specific number of people losing their jobs when contacted by Urban Hollywood 411, but said employees affected by the cancellations were given opportunities to apply for other positions in the company.
The insider said the applications were for positions on two new shows or the existing programs that E! plans to keep in L.A. — Nightly Pop and Daily Pop.
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After learning about the changes in August, the insider said it took months to find out who the network would keep.
“We literally didn’t know until November if we were staying or going,” the insider said about the staffers who applied to stay. “For three months, we were living in limbo.”
Next year when the revamped version of E! News heads to New York, it will shift from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. The time shift is being touted as an opportunity to give pop culture fans more news first thing in the morning and offer insights on celebrity stories throughout the day.
E! News was hosted by Jason Kennedy and Giuliana Rancic. Last month Rancic announced on Instagram that she would be leaving her full-time position at the NBCUniversal-owned channel, but will continue to host Live from the Red Carpet.
“I’ve decided I won’t be able to make this big move at this time,” she wrote on Oct. 23. “I love E! News but what’s best for my family, as well as my current schedule, just won’t allow for the commitment a daily show takes.”
This past Friday, E! announced that Kennedy will host a new series called In the Room, taking viewers inside celebrity homes for in-depth interviews and conversations about their latest projects, products, and passions.
“As a skilled interviewer with deep-rooted relationships in the entertainment industry, we’re excited to have Jason Kennedy continue in this role as host of E!’s new series In the Room,” Tammy Filler, executive vice president and editor-in-chief of E! News, said in a statement.
In the Room will launch in 2020, with several primetime specials planned before the premiere. The first special is set to air on Wednesday, Dec. 4 at 8 p.m. ET/PT and will feature a sit-down interview with four-time Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady.