'Kimora' Rates for Style

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Flamboyant fashion diva Kimora Lee may not be representative of Style's everyday female-oriented programming slate, but her new reality show certainly appealed to the network's core 18-to-34 viewers.

Known for reality shows featuring the common woman, Style's Aug. 5 premiere of Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane set a network-series premiere record with a 0.5 household rating and 344,000 total viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research data.

The show, following the exploits of the model and CEO of the urban-targeted Baby Phat clothing franchise, also posted triple-digit year-on-year gains in household ratings (153%) women 18 to 34 (460%) and women 18 to 49 (280%) compared to the same time period in August 2006.

The series' successful premiere continues the Comcast-owned network's ratings momentum for 2007, according to Style executive vice president Salaam Coleman Smith.

While flat with a 0.2 household rating average in the second quarter, the network posted a 64% increase among its target female 18-to-34 demo (28,000 viewers) and a 64% increase among women 18 to 49 (54,000).

Much of that success is attributable to the 58 million subscriber network's reality-driven content, featuring everyday women getting makeovers (How Do I Look?), shopping (The Look For Less), housecleaning (Clean House) and even becoming an undiscovered Miss America (Instant Beauty Pageant). But Coleman Smith said there's nothing wrong with throwing a diva into the mix.

“Kimora was a new space for us with regards to moving into reality television and bringing in a very high-profile celebrity … and even though she's living the lifestyle that's very different from the average person, she leads her life in a very authentic way,” she said.

Coleman Smith said that everyday women philosophy will continue to help Style differentiate itself from competing networks such as Lifetime, Oxygen and WE.

“Most of the other women-targeted networks are general-entertainment networks that have a range of programming from movies to sitcoms to original productions,” she said. “Style is a niche network with mass appeal — 90% of our shows are original that feature everyday people.”

Next up: the Aug. 29 launch of Pantry Raid, starring chef Michael Schulson, who each week visits a typical family home and makes gourmet-style meals with ingredients found in their refrigerator and cabinets.

To further reach young women, Coleman Smith said the network will become more aggressive in the new media arena, in particular with user-generated content. The network said it recently teamed with several operators to create video-on-demand content revolving around the marketing of its July 4 special of Clean House: The Messiest Home in The Country. Viewer submissions of their “messy” homes were offered to participating operators for both cable and broadband on demand content.

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