NBCU Puts Zalaznick in Charge of Newly Acquired Oxygen Media

Debby Beece, Oxygen Programming President, Resigns

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- NBC Universal has completed its $875 million acquisition of Oxygen Media and put Bravo President Lauren Zalaznick in charge of the women's channel.
Lauren Zalaznick
Lauren Zalaznick Credit: Bravo/Steve Freeman

Ms. Zalaznick takes on Oxygen in addition to her responsibilities at Bravo Media. She reports to Jeff Gaspin, president and chief operating officer, Universal Television Group, and head of NBC Universal's cable group.

"We believe we can bring great value to the Oxygen brand, with our cross-promotion opportunities, programming expertise and distribution team," Mr. Gaspin said. "Lauren has had tremendous success growing Bravo, and we know, with her talent and passion, she will do the same with Oxygen."

Oxygen founder Geraldine Laybourne is leaving the company. Lisa Gersh, president and chief operating officer, will remain in that role during a three-month transition before assuming a new post at NBC Universal.

Packaging viewers
NBCU sees Oxygen as bolstering its position among upscale women and plans to package Oxygen viewers with women watching Bravo, "Today" and iVillage for advertisers.

The company said the transaction will make a positive contribution to earnings after a full year and is counting on revenue and cost synergies of about $35 million in 2008.

Debby Beece, president-programming and marketing for Oxygen, resigned on Friday, shortly before the acquisition of Oxygen by NBC Universal was completed today.

Ms. Beece was named president of programming in November 2000 and oversaw the launch of original shows including "The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency," "Mo'Nique's Fat Chance" and "Campus Ladies." She previously was with Nickelodeon Pictures.

"I'm so proud of what we have built together," Ms. Beece said in a memo to colleagues. "We rewrote the rule book for women's programming."

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Jon Lafayette is a senior editor of TV Week.
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