Oxygen is making room for last female comic standing

Sets competition for online series

Oxygen hopes to breathe life into the career of one aspiring female comic with the launch Tuesday of the network's first online competition.

Dubbed the Create-A-Series Comedy Competition, the contest challenges entrants to produce what the network describes as a bold, clever comedy series geared toward the 18- to 39-year-old female demographic. The winner will land a 10- to 13-episode run on Oxygen's broadband channel, SheDidWhat.tv.

Molly Shannon will serve as a judge for the contest, which runs through Aug. 31.

"We are all about funny and outrageous women, and we're really looking for women with an original comic voice," Oxygen senior vp marketing Cynthia Ashworth said. "We're committed to bringing more original comedy to SheDidWhat.tv while giving young females an established women's network for a creative shot at the big time."

In addition to receiving a six-month series run, the winning creator will garner a $75,000 production budget and an experienced showrunner to help them develop and produce the series. The show will be promoted on Oxygen and Oxygen.com.

Five finalists will be flown to New York in October to pitch their series ideas to Shannon along with other judges drawn from Oxygen's development/ production team and the film and television industry. The winner will be chosen Dec. 15.

Ashworth said the comedic performance style of Shannon personifies the type of humorous and brassy content the network is looking to find.

"She is a fantastic embodiment of the type of comedy we would love to have in this competition," Ashworth said.

Contest participants are asked to submit their short concept video along with a two-page treatment to www.oxygen.com/ createaseries. Series content is expected to be character-driven, with episodes three to five minutes in length. Content can feature the performance talents of the creator, though it isn't a requirement.

Ashworth said the winning series potentially could lead to future on-air development.

SheDidWhat.tv launched in January along with Oomph.net, the network's first social network designed as an online destination for women.

The channel features its first original comedy series, "Our Bodies, Myself," which chronicles womanhood in the U.S. and is hosted by comedian Lauren Weidman.

Ashworth said that while the site began more as a marketing tool, it now is being positioned as a free-standing video destination on the Web.

"We're looking to negotiate two to three Web original series per year and also original shorts and webisodes from hit series, with new content going on there four to five days a week," Ashworth added.