TV Upfront

Oxygen Looks to Shed 'Gritty' Image

Network Plans to Target Young, Multicultural Women

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'Bad Girls Club' is returning but others may not.
'Bad Girls Club' is returning but others may not.

Oxygen is pitching advertisers on a new brand focus targeting young, multicultural women.

While that's not a complete overhaul for the network, Oxygen is putting its existing programs through a new filter to see whether it speaks to a younger audience that's mid-scale, said Frances Berwick, who in September added oversight of Oxygen to her role as president of Bravo, a sibling network at NBC Universal.

In recent years, Oxygen has been a hodgepodge of reality series like "Bad Girls Club" and the short-lived "Brooklyn 11223," competition shows like "The Face" and "Best Ink," true crime like "Snapped" and then the widely praised but misfit "The Glee Project."

The mix has brought the network a wide variety of viewers, a range that Oxygen now wants to narrow.

The network announced seven new series at its press breakfast Tuesday in the run-up to upfronts, shows that Ms. Berwick said better represent its core audiences.

"These are not people in mansions with slim bodies," she said. "These women want to see themselves on screen and want relatable characters."

Network research has found that viewers are over manufactured reality series filled with drama, she said, adding that Oxygen will look to shed its "gritty" image.

The new series include "Fix My Choir," starring Michelle Williams of "Destiny's Child" fame, who will help struggling choirs; "Nail'd It," a nail design competition series; "Street Art Throwdown," a graffiti competition series; and "Sisterhood of Hip Hop," which throws together a group of women who dream of becoming the next big hip-hop star.

Oxygen will also bring back "Preachers of L.A." and is currently casting new editions of the series in New York, Atlanta, Dallas and Detroit.

While "Bad Girls Club," Oxygen's longest-running series, will return in May, the network is in the process of deciding which of its other shows fit the tighter focus and can be renewed, Ms. Berwick said.

Oxygen will also introduce a new logo and tagline later this year.

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