Oxygen puts Oomph into Web

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Oxygen has come full circle with Tuesday's news of the launch of its own branded social networking site and broadband channel.

Dubbed Oomph.net, the site will connect women through shared interests and "passion groups" in such categories as careers, art and culture. Each group will be led by an expert who will guide the networking experience between users and facilitate interaction through such tools as blogs and video logs.

The network's first broadband outlet, SheDidWhat.tv, will provide on-demand access to clips and episodes of the network's original series and movies. It also will be home to Web exclusives and Oxygen's first broadband original series, "Our Bodies, Myself," hosted by comedian Lauren Weidman.

"Oomph.net is designed for women who are strong, independent and have something to say -- which is exactly what the Oxygen brand is all about," Oxygen chairman and CEO Gerry Laybourne said, adding that the social network will be programd like a media outlet and not what she described as a "flat landscape." "It's a very active online community that connects women on multiple levels and allows them to share in a well-rounded networking experience."

While Oomph.net and SheDidWhat.tv are available, Oomph.net is presently in beta-test format. The ventures join Oxygen's official site, Oxygen.com.

The addition of the digital properties marks a milestone for the network, which since its launch in 2000 intended to incorporate a strong online component but held back because it was less economically viable and somewhat ahead of its time.

Laybourne said that by conserving the network's resources and with clearer economic models about how to make money, it was the right time for Oxygen to expand in the Internet space.

"Women are the greatest connectors in the world so it was a logical platform to be present on," Laybourne said. "Our goal is to be a brand to serve young women on whatever platform we're on and it's a space where our audience is -- it's where they live."

In addition to the network's digital expansion Tuesday, a slew of new movies, scripted series and reality pilots were named.

Among reality pilots in development is the half-hour docu-series "Rodeo Girls," produced by Tom Weber and Scott Messick of Mess Media and Gary Auerbach of Go-Go Lucky Prods. It joins another half-hour reality show, "Viva Hollywood," from the producers of Bravo's "Showbiz Moms and Dads" and World of Wonder and Latin World Entertainment.

Other new reality pilots include the one-hour competition "Adfight" from producer Ben Silverman's Reveille and the half-hour "Homefield Advantage" produced by Sokolobl Entertainment.

Movies in development include the romantic comedy "Everything But the Girl" from the production team of Bender/Brown and "Jupiter's Mom" produced by Wendy Rhoads.

New scripted series include the one-hour drama "Graphic City Limits" from producer Rob Tapert, the half-hour animated "Angry Little Girls" based on Lela Lee's best-selling book and produced by Jennifer Love Hewitt, and "Exes," written and produced by Tommy Lynch.
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