Oxygen Eyes BET's Success With 'Monie'


The strong performance of Black Entertainment Television's new animated series Hey Monie portends well for Oxygen, which will air the program later this year.

Hey Monie, a co-production between BET and Oxygen, has averaged a 0.66 household rating on BET since it premiered March 4, according to network officials. That marks a 10 percent improvement over the performance of various entertainment programming that previously ran at 8 p.m. on Tuesdays.

The show — about a single, professional African-American female — has generated 17 percent more female viewers within the time slot.

"We're very excited about the program catching on as word of mouth about the show grows," BET executive vice president for news, public affairs and program acquisitions
Nina Henderson-Moore said. "Unlike the sitcoms and other shows like Soul Food
that we've purchased in the past, this was an original that provides an inference and impression on our viewers of the type of creative programming that BET can offer."

First for BET

The show, which first appeared as a short serial on Oxygen's X-Chromosome
series, is BET's first stab at adult animation. The two networks shared production costs, which fall just shy of $1 million per episode.

Oxygen will begin airing the 13-episode series in June. The women's-targeted service was initially expected to air Monie
simultaneously with BET, but eventually decided to give the African-American-targeted network first dibs.

Henderson-Moore said BET would rerun the series several times before it premieres on Oxygen.

Nevertheless, Oxygen executives believe that the show's strong showing on BET augurs well for a strong following among its female viewers.

"We knew we were on to something when we first aired Hey Monie as a series of shorts back in 2000," Oxygen president of programming Debby Beece said. "We're thrilled with BET's success — we're committed to original comedy, and we hope it bodes well for us when we launch [it] on our air this June."

Little crossover

Given the differences in each network's target audience, executives said BET's airing wouldn't cannibalize Oxygen's potential audience.

"That's why it works so well for all of us," added Henderson-Moore.

The two networks have yet to commission a second season, but network executives are optimistic the show will return for a sophomore run.