Oxygen Aims For Laughs

Oxygen will team a new original series with recently acquired British series Absolutely Fabulous
in a comedy block this fall.

Oxygen will debut Girls Behaving Badly, a distaff-oriented hidden-camera reality show featuring an all-female cast, as part of its primetime comedy block, said chairman and CEO Geraldine Laybourne at the Television Critics Association summer press tour here last week.

The show will be paired with Ab Fab, currently airing on Comedy Central. The British Broadcasting Corp.-produced series about the comedic lives of two 40-something women will debut Sept. 3, Laybourne said.

Also in September, the network will premiere two specials related to the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington D.C.

The first, The Women of Rockaway Beach, will focus on the residents of the Queens, N.Y., community, the home of nearly one-third of the firefighters lost in the World Trade Center destruction.

A Smile Gone, But Where?, the other special, is based on a column by New York Newsday
writer Jimmy Breslin about the post-Sept. 11 disappearance of an unidentified woman he passed every morning on his way to work.

The two specials — produced by Breslin's daughter, journalist Rosemary Breslin — will air Sept. 11, a date when Laybourne said the network hadn't planned to run any special programming.

"We're not primarily a news operation, and we did think that there would be massive programming on that date," she added. "But to me, this just cut through and … generally adds to the humanity of Oxygen."

In other Oxygen TCA announcements, the network said actress Candice Bergen will host a half-hour weekly series, Candice Checks It Out, in which the ex-Murphy Brown
star will profile women with unique backgrounds and hobbies.

The network will also extend original interview show Conversations from the Edge
with Carrie Fisher into a weekly series, and it will run documentary/talk series The Isaac Mizrahi Show
Tuesdays through Thursdays, beginning Sept. 16. The network has commissioned an additional 27 episodes of the half-hour Mizrahi vehicle.