Oxygen Orders Seven New Series, Sets Network Rebranding
Among the highlights of the cabler's upfront slate: Grammy winner T.I. will executive produce "Sisterhood of Hip Hop."
Oxygen has set its first upfront slate since Frances Berwick was promoted to oversee the network and sibling Bravo. As part of its slate -- which includes seven new original series -- the NBCUniversal-owned cable network will undergo a rebranding later this year.
The cabler will abandon its Live Out Loud branding when it shifts to target modern, young women and the stories that reflect authentic and relatable characters. The youngest-skewing of the women's networks by eight years, Oxygen posted year-over-year growth among all key demographics, including women 18-34 (up 7 percent) and women 18-49 (up 5 percent). The network is a top 25 ad-supported network among both demos.
"The combination of Oxygen’s current momentum and upcoming rebrand will fully cement the network’s position with young female viewers," Berwick said. "This new slate of originals will deliver on the freshness, authenticity, high emotional stakes and optimism that this demographic is looking for."
The slate includes music-themed fare Fix My Choir featuring Preachers of L.A. favorite Deitrick Haddon and Destiny's Child alum Michelle Williams; and Sisterhood of Hip Hop, which counts Grammy winner T.I. as an EP.
The cabler will also look at the lives of women living differently in a new docuseries, put the focus on emerging artists with Street Art Throwdown as well as up-and-coming comedians in Funny Girls, in addition to a reality competition series set at nail salons.
The new originals join returning hit Preachers of L.A., which will come back in the summer. (The network also announced earlier this year that it is developing spinoffs set in New York, Atlanta, Dallas and Detroit.)
This is the latest NBCUniversal cable network to go through a rebrand since the entire cable entertainment portfolio was placed under Bonnie Hammer in early 2013. Among her early focuses: more clearly defining the company's collection of female-focused networks. With E!, for instance, Hammer set out to transform the network best known for the Kardashians into a more upscale, pop culture-friendly destination for the demo. With cable sibling Style, she made the decision to shutter the channel. (Style became Esquire, another Hammer rebrand.)
Here's a look at Oxygen's new series:
Fix My Choir
Produced by Pink Sneakers with John Ehrhard, Kimberly Ehrhard and Lauren Stevens along with Releve Entertainment’s Holly Carter and Jonathan Singer, and Haddon serving as exec producers.
Struggling choirs are mentored with the help of gospel superstar Deitrick Haddon (Preachers of L.A.) and Grammy-winning recording artist Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child. Each week, the duo will surprise a community, school or gospel choir and help them find perfect harmony both within their music -- and their members.
Produced by Matador with Jay Peterson, Todd Lubin and Shye Sutherland serving as executive producers.
An innovative self-contained challenge pitting the country's fiercest nail designers against one another. Hosted by fashionista Adrienne Bailon, each episode will feature three “Nailistas” as they are pushed beyond their creative limits to face off, crafting flawless flat paint designs and over-the-top 3D works of art using everything from gels, wraps, polishes, glitter, lace and rhinestones to 3D objects and extreme materials. The winners of each battle will then compete in a two-part finale until only one artist is left standing to claim the $100,000 prize, which will get them to the next level in their aspiring career.
Street Art Throwdown (working title)
Produced by Embassy Row with Michael Davies serving as executive producer.
From Banksy to Basquiat, street art is a groundbreaking art form and cultural phenomenon taking the world by storm and dominating pop culture. In this adrenaline-charged new competition series, 10 up-and-coming street artists will create unbelievable art in never-before-seen ways, out-painting and out-racing each other in the hope to win bragging rights and a cash prize.
Sisterhood of Hip Hop
Produced by 51 Minds with Chris Abrego, T.I., Rabih Gholam, Ben Samek and Roy Orecchio serving as executive producers.
With Grammy-winning recording artist T.I. as executive producer, this powerful and uplifting series follows the next generation of female hip-hop artists Siya, Nyemiah Supreme, Diamond, Brianna Perry and Bia as they live, love and work toward their dream of becoming the next big breakout star, which has always been a man’s game and these ladies are rewriting the rules of the music scene. Discovered and mentored by hip-hop icons, these creative and ambitious women are making it while breaking boundaries and defying doubters. While they realize that their lives are a work in progress, they are at a crossroads, and are finding their unique voices. Can they support and collaborate with one another in order to make their dreams a reality?
Funny Girls (working title)
Produced by Brownstone Entertainment with Drew Brown and Bob Gillan serving as executive producers.
The docuseries showcases up-and-coming female comediennes living in Los Angeles as they strive to break the glass ceiling in the male-dominated comedy business. It’s a profession where women fight for survival of the funniest, and these sassy young comediennes will give viewers a peek inside their lives as they struggle to balance their career, relationships and friendships in and outside the industry. Their journey is anything but perfect and these non-conforming women share their uniquely humorous perspectives that come with the pursuit of comedic fame.
My Crazy Love (working title)
Produced by Jarrett Creative with Julie Jarrett and Seth Jarrett serving as executive producers.
This half-hour comedic anthology series showcases real people’s personal stories about the wild, crazy, romantic, eccentric and hilarious things that women and men have done in the name of love. From faking one’s own death to hiding out in a boyfriend’s closet all weekend to spy on him, this series will cover it all through comedic and stylized reenactments and interviews. With amazing twists, turns and shocking revelations, find out if these lovers’ bold gestures worked or if they took it too far.
Living Different (working title)
Produced by Hud:sun Media with Michael Rourke, Mioshi Hill and Lindsey Bannister serving as executive producers.
From a woman taking on a life of celibacy to another choosing to live in a cult, this hourlong series will take a candid look at women who lead unconventional and alternative lifestyles. Each episode will showcase two new stories of brave young women unapologetically marching to the beat of their own drum. Torn between playing by society’s rules and living life on their own terms, these women are at a tipping point in their lives and hope by sharing their stories they can seek acceptance from their friends, family and society.
Lacey Rose contributed to this report.