Net also announces series in development with Olivia Newton-John’s daughter Chloe Lattanzi.
NEW YORK – Oxygen will expand its original programming to Sunday nights with the June 12 premiere of Glee reality spin-off The Glee Project. Additionally, the network announced that its Paris Hilton docudrama The World According to Paris will kick off Wednesday, June 1.
With latest Tori Spelling spinoff Tori & Dean: STORIbook Weddings set to bow Wednesday and three new series in the development, the network’s upfront slate represents a 26% increase in original programming this year.
NBC Universal-owned Oxygen has ordered 10 episodes of The Glee Project, which features 12 contestants vying for a 7-episodes are on the third season of Ryan Murphy’s Fox drama. Glee cast member Darren Criss will appear in the premiere episodes to mentor the contestants.
New series in development include: Maids of Drama, a variation on the Birdezilla theme which chronicles bickering bridal party members; Lost Angels, about Chloe Lattanzi, the daughter of Olivia Newton-John; and My Post Grad Life, about the year after college graduation. They join previously announced series in development: Love Scouts, which follows Hollywood matchmaker Olivia “Liv” Alexander; and tattoo competition series Best Ink.
The network also announced a second season of Hair Battle Spectacular – Oxygen’s most watched freshman series ever – with new host model/actress Eva Marcille (America’s Next Top Model). Hair Battle will return this summer along with a new series of Bachelorette Party: Las Vegas, which follows brides-to-be on an all-access fantasy weekend in the Sin City.
Oxygen is coming off of its most-watched year ever in primetime and its third consecutive best year in key metrics. And network executives are banking that The Glee Project and The World According to Paris will help to cement the network as a destination for young women.
“I think these are two of the most anticipated unscripted shows coming this summer,” says Jason Klarman, president, Oxygen Media. “Who has something bigger?”
The Glee Project came with basic cable rerun rights for Glee which joins Oxygen’s regular schedule beginning in 2013. The net also has the option for multiple Glee marathons. More than 4 million viewers watched the first one last February –which the net dubbed a “Gleekend.” The next Glee marathon is scheduled for May.
Both The Glee Project and World According to Paris fit squarely in Oxygen’s brand “sweet spot,” added Klarman. Glee is the top-rated program with viewers 18-34. And while Paris Hilton may have lost some of her reality TV cache to the Kardashian sisters, she’s primed for a comeback. And it certainly does not hurt that Charlie Sheen’s ex-wife Brooke Mueller is among Hilton’s BFFs. Mueller, says Klarman, “is all over this show,” says Klarman.
“He’s in the show in the way that Michael and Janet were in The Jacksons on A&E," says Klarman. "He’s referred to, but we don’t see him.”