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Chief of E! Entertainment Quits

September 15, 1998

NEW YORK (AP) _ Lee Masters, who helped build E! Entertainment Television into a successful cable channel with shows like ``Talk Soup″ and ``Fashion Emergency,″ said Tuesday he was quitting as chief executive at the end of the year.

Masters said he’s negotiating to join a new venture that combines the Internet and television.

He took over in 1990, shortly before the three-year-old Movietime network was relaunched as E! Entertainment. Since then, ratings have quadrupled and the network’s value has risen to above $1 billion, a spokeswoman said.

E! Entertainment features reruns of old broadcast programs, entertainment profiles and edgy, sometime snide coverage of events like movie openings and awards shows. With smirking host John Henson, ``Talk Soup″ strings together clips from various talk shows.

Next month, E! Entertainment launches a spinoff channel called style., which will focus on coverage of the fashion industry.

``This place is rockin’,″ Masters said. ``It won’t miss a beat.″

He said he left because he wanted to build another venture from scratch. ``It’s time for me to jump into the deep end of the pool,″ he said.

E! Entertainment Television is owned by a group of media companies, including Comcast, the Walt Disney Co., Mediaone and TCI.

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