NEW YORK – Call them Red Carpet Baggers.
Folks at the TV Guide Channel are about to steal Joan and Melissa Rivers (search) away from E!, the mother-daughter duo’s home for the past eight years. The deal, expected to be signed this afternoon, gives the twosome a combined salary of $6 – 8 million for three years – or, roughly more than $1 million each annually.
The Rivers’ have been working at E! without a contract since December, having failed to reach a suitable agreement with the network. Enter the TV Guide Channel (search), which offered the duo coverage of at least six red carpet events a year, and other programming initiatives – including the possibility of their own talk show and appearances on the network’s series and specials. A&E network was also in the bidding for the style mavens’ services.
The TV Guide Channel is owned in part by News Corp., parent company of the Fox News Channel and foxnews.com. With the addition of 11.72 million subscribers in the past year, the TV Guide Channel is the fastest-growing cable network in the U.S.
E! network’s loss of Joan and Melissa is particularly stinging as it comes on the heels of president Mindy Herman’s (search) resignation last month. Herman is accused of, among other things, improperly using company funds to finance her baby shower, and engaging in a fistfight with a female subordinate in a parking lot. An investigation into Herman’s activities was launched by parent company Comcast after it received two anonymous letters complaining of her misconduct.
As for Joan and Melissa, they’ll be called to carpet for TV Guide beginning with the Emmy nominations on July 15.