TV Upfront

Esquire and Oxygen Join Forces for His-and-Hers Versions of the Same TV Series

One Series Will Focus on Stand-Up Comedians, The Other On Their Wives and Girlfriends

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Esquire Network and Oxygen are teaming up on a pair of shows that will provide views of the same crowd from two different perspectives: men's and women's.

In the two series, the sibling NBC Universal cable networks will follow stand-up comedians onstage, backstage and in their personal lives. Esquire will air "Comedians of L.A.," which will focus on the careers of the comedians as they tour concert halls and appear in blockbuster movies, while Oxygen will air a series with the working title "Living With Funny," which will turn the cameras on their wives and girlfriends.

The shows will air on the same night, with one leading into the other. Brandon T. Jackson is the first comedian to commit to both.

The twin series are NBCU's first attempt at cross-development since reorganizing Esquire, Oxygen, Bravo and E! under one lifestyle group headed by Frances Berwick.

The networks made the announcement during a press lunch on Monday as the TV business heads into upfront season, when it will pitch ad buyers on its programming and start trying to negotiate commitments for time in the upcoming season.

This is Esquire's second upfront since replacing NBCU's Style Network in 2013, while Oxygen enters the upfront marketplace after its recent rebrand to better focus on millennial women.

Esquire's total audience to date this season is up 17% in prime time from the same period last year, averaging about 91,000 viewers. Oxygen has seen its total audience drop 32% to about 255,000 viewers in prime time.

Other new shows coming to the Esquire Network include a series with comedian, writer and entrepreneur David Rees; a show that follows six aspiring master sommeliers; a documentary following top sports agents in professional football; and a competition series to find the nation's best burger.

Oxygen is increasing its original programming by a quarter with eight new series. They include "Time to Quit Your Day Job," which features business figures like Randi Zuckerberg investing in new products from young entrepreneurs; "Pretty. Strong" about a women's football league; and "Douglas Family Gold," about the family of Olympian Gabby Douglas, among others.

The network also secured the exclusive cable distribution for the daily "Crazy Talk," a comedic, half-hour syndicated roundup of clips from other TV shows, and renewed "Sisterhood of Hip Hop" for a second season.

NBCU's Bravo also presented a slate of 10 new series, including a road-trip show with NeNe Leakes and Kim Zolciak Biermann from "Real Housewives of Atlanta," and expansions of existing franchises with "Below Deck Mediterranean," "Ladies of Dallas" and "Married to Medicine Houston."

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