Oxygen's First Sitcom Aims to be 'Outrageous'


Oxygen will take its first step into the live-action sitcom arena this April with a series from Carsey-Werner-Mandabach.

The women's network has commissioned seven episodes of the yet unnamed sitcom, which stars comedian Joy Gohring and actress Bree Turner (The Wedding Planner) as two single, twenty-something Minnesotans, who move to Los Angeles to follow their dreams of becoming famous.

"This series is everything that we love — it's edgy, young and outrageous that pushes the envelope," said Oxygen president of programming Debby Beece. "Carsey-Werner-Mandabach are the masters of the situation comedy and we are delighted to make a home for their newest venture in primetime on Oxygen."

Although Oxygen execs would not identify its title, the show's moniker, sources close to the network said, could be My Roommate Is a Big Fat Slut.
The series is the first Carsey-Werner-Mandabach production made specifically for cable. The company, which owns a minority stake in Oxygen, has produced such broadcast and syndicated series as The Cosby Show, Roseanne
and Whoopi.

Oxygen, now reaching some 50 million homes, teamed with Black Entertainment Television last year to develop the animated comedy Hey Monie, which aired on both networks. Oxygen also had another animated scripted show, Life's a Bitch.

Neither show, though, has been renewed for a second season, primarily due to lower-than-expected performances.

Last year, Oxygen averaged a 0.3 in primetime, its first as Nielsen Media Research-rated network.

While Oxygen has yet to place the new sitcom on its schedule, Beece said she's leaning toward a Friday slot.

Beece said a confluence of increased distribution and the success of irreverent comedies, like Girls Behaving Badly, has put the network on the fast track to developing more original programming.

"We're a nice midsized network, but we clearly want to get more aggressive and drive even more viewership and distribution," she said. "This is a good way of doing that, by putting out a high-profile comedy with high-profile producers who understand what [Oxygen] is and what we want to be and who we aspire to reach."

While Oxygen is hoping the show can pull a 1.0 household rating or better, Beece said she would also like for the series to generate some buzz with viewers.

The sitcom is the first of several original projects that the network is planning for the upcoming year.

"We're looking to do at least one or maybe two new original movies this year, and we have a number of hours that we're looking to do pilots on," Beece said. "We're getting very aggressive with our development slate."

Oxygen's first foray into original movies, Tale of Two Wives, generated a 0.6 household rating last Oct. 11.