LOWDOWN ON THE UPFRONT: Oxygen Rebrands With a Big ‘O’

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New York – Nearly five months after acquiring the women’s network, NBC Universal is literally putting its stamp on Oxygen, rebranding the women’s service with a new logo -- a big bright yellow “O” -- and a new tagline.

Oxygen officials unveiled the logo and “Live Out Loud” tagline at a press upfront breakfast at the Soho House in Manhattan, a gathering attended by NBCU president Jeff Zucker.

At the upfront, Oxygen also described its 2008 programming plans, which include: original programming Tuesday night around the year – “Seamless Tuesdays”; renewing The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency for a fourth season, with the show returning in August; and a reality show in development called Dance Your Ass Off.

The women’s network -- emphasizing its role as an entertainment destination for younger females, “Generation O” -- will roll out its new look across all its platforms, linear and digital, in June.

The change will be promoted to ad agencies starting next week with a national multiplatform marketing campaign that will include outdoor media, ads on subways and phone kiosks, and print in advertising trade magazines, according to Oxygen general manager Jason Klarman.

The logo is a large yellow “O,” slightly askew, with the “Oxygen” across its center.

The goal was “kind of moving the idea of a women’s network out of the idea of the pink pastel ghetto and moving it into a vibrant sense of rich color,” Klarman told reporters.

Oxygen officials, who touted the network’s ratings gains in the first quarter, said they were looking to better define what Oxygen stands for as a network.

“We had to redefine the brand,” said Lauren Zalaznick president of Oxygen Media and Bravo Media. “Externally, we had to find a new way to claim a piece of the women-focused cable landscape.”

Klarman noted that even though viewers might be fans of a show like The Bad Girls Club, “They didn’t have a connection between the shows and the brand.”

Overall, he said, Oxygen “really needed to move beyond the idea of hit shows and really embrace the idea of creating a hit brand.”

While targeting women 18 to 49, Oxygen is “hyper” focusing on women 18 to 34. Research found that Oxygen’s audience, tagged Generation O, are “trenders,” “spenders” and “recommenders.” In other words, they are on the cutting-edge of fashion; are rabid shoppers and influence the purchasing choices of their friends and family.

On the programming front, Oxygen’s new senior vice president of original programming and development, Amy Introcaso-Davis said Oxygen will offer a new show or episode every Tuesday night at 10 p.m. for the rest of the year starting June 17, when Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood returns.

That reality series, featuring Tori Spelling and husband Dean McDermott, has moved from their country inn to Hollywood for its third season. The program has also been expanded to an hour.

In other programming news, Star Jones will host a May 20 reunion special for The Bad Girls Club, while Spelling and McDermott will preside over Oxygen’s 25iest: Power Couples June 10. And hip-hop star Coolio will be the center of a reality show that airs later this year, Coolio’s Rules, about him raising his kids as a single father.

Introcaso-Davis said Oxygen has three shows in development. Dance Your Ass Off  seems to be a combination of The Biggest Loser and Dancing with the Stars.

“Each episode culminates in a weigh in and a dance off,” Introcaso-Davis said.

Glamazon features four women who competed on America’s Got Talent, while Meltdown reveals the inside story behind celebrity collapses.

Oxygen is also exploring developing made-for-TV movies, according to Introcaso-Davis.

As part of its multiplatform strategy, “Oxygen Everywhere,” the network will relaunch its web site in June and will debut a broadband channel, O2.oxygen.com, where users will be able to watch exclusive video such as show outtakes and webisodes. Oxygen will also be offering its first WAP site, at wap.oxygen.com, where users can engage with Oxygen content on their mobile phones. 

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