Insight Becomes Latest to Inhale Oxygen
Oxygen has reached a carriage deal with Insight
Communications Co. Inc. to be carried to most of the MSO's 1 million subscribers in
six states, officials said last week.
The Insight agreement, for carriage mainly on expanded
basic, is the fourth one that Oxygen -- the women's network that former Nickelodeon
and The Walt Disney Co. executive Geraldine Laybourne is set to launch Feb. 2 -- has
announced to date.
"We are delighted to add Oxygen to our
offerings," Insight president Michael Willner said in a prepared statement. "We
think the strength of the Oxygen team -- Gerry Laybourne, Marcy Carsey, Tom Werner, Caryn
Mandabach and Oprah Winfrey -- ensures compelling new shows for our more than 1 million
customers, particularly the female audience."
Oxygen has also done deals with AT&T Broadband &
Internet Services, Charter Communications and MediaOne Group Inc. Paul Allen's Vulcan
Ventures Inc. invested $100 million for a minority stake in Oxygen Media this summer, and
Allen's Charter systems agreed to carry the programming service.
Oxygen had signed affiliation agreements that will give it
6 million subscribers at launch, with 3 million to 4 million of them from AT&T
Broadband, according to a network spokeswoman. Mary Murano, Oxygen's senior vice
president of affiliate sales, said the network "is on target" to hit its goal of
8 million to 10 million subscribers at its debut.
Oxygen's deal with AT&T Broadband does have a
rather large caveat: The MSO will roll out the women's network in 7 million homes by
2002, on the contingency that Oxygen secures carriage for 5 million homes from other MSOs
during an undisclosed time frame.
Murano would only say that Oxygen is "on target to
achieve the AT&T benchmark," declining to offer any specifics.
Oxygen, according to cable operators, is charging a rather
pricey monthly license fee -- 19 cents to 25 cents per subscriber. And the network just
lost one of its biggest champions in the cable industry and at AT&T Broadband with the
departure of CEO Leo J. Hindery Jr.
Oxygen also said last week that Carsey-Werner-Mandabach, a
partner in the women's network, will oversee seven hours of original programming per
day on the 24-hour service. And the network is continuing to build its programming team.
In addition, Oxygen named seven producers for its original
Linda Corradina, former senior vice president of
programming and production at VH1, will join Giselle Benatar as executive producer of
Oxygen's teen block.
Roni Selig, former executive producer for The
Rosie O'Donnell Show,will executive-produce Pure Oxygen, the
network's two-hour live primetime show, which will feature information on parenting,
business, health, style, home and entertainment.
Lydia Stephans, former ABC Sports vice president of
programming, will serve as executive producer for Oxygen's sports program, We
Scott Carter, former executive producer for Politically
Incorrect, and Home Box Office veteran Nicolette Donen will co-executive-produce Exhale,
Candice Bergen's talk show.
Virginia Kuppek, former supervising producer for
Discovery Pictures, and Diane Galligan, ex-producer for Cable News Network's Your
Money,will co-executive-produce "ka-Ching,"a daily 90-minute
program block on finance.
Mark Farrell, a veteran comedy programmer who has
worked for HBO and Comedy Central, will executive-produce "Oxygen.comedy," the
network's nightly comedy block, as well as a weekly comedy sketch show.
Katie Puckrik, a veteran of the British Broadcasting
Corp. and VH1, and Todd Yasui, former supervising producer for USA Network's canceled
Happy Hour, will co-executive-produce and host Pajama Party, a 60-minute
talk-variety show that will air Friday and Saturday nights.
Oxygen has also sent out the Oxygen "Tank," a
specially outfitted Airstream Inc. recreational vehicle, as part of a cross-country tour
that's holding auditions for new talent.
Throughout the fall, the Oxygen Tank will visit colleges,
malls, sporting events and community functions to reach out to women. The Tank has a
traveling production studio, as well as an online demonstration area.
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