Oxygen, BET Team Up

In a rare co-production deal between basic-cable networks, Oxygen and Black
Entertainment Television will team up to finance and simultaneously air an
animated series about a professional African-American woman.

The networks will commission 13 episodes of Hey Monie to premiere in
the spring of 2003, representatives from both companies said. Both Oxygen and
BET will share rights to the series, and both will air the comedy series at the
same time.

Hey Monie began as a short serial that appeared regularly on Oxygen's
X-Chromosome series. Oxygen chairman and CEO Geraldine Laybourne said the
network sought BET to help offset production costs for the adult-targeted
cartoon, although she would not reveal specific financial figures.

'Doing long-form animation is costly, but by bringing in BET, we could
expedite the development of the series by spring 2003,' Laybourne said.

She added that Oxygen isn't concerned about viewer cannibalization due to the
show's simulcast on both networks, even though the women's network has a strong
African-American female following.

'We don't believe there will be a lot of [viewer] overlap on the show,'
Laybourne said. 'Any additional kind of exposure we get for the series is
good.'

For BET, the series marks the network's first foray into scripted
animation.

'It's a wonderfully contemporary portrayal of the lives, trials, ups and
downs of today's African-American women that our viewers will find entertaining
and positive,' BET president and chief operating officer Debra Lee said in a
prepared statement. 'This series will be a great complement to our
schedule.'

In other Oxygen news, the network announced Tuesday that it has picked up the
rights to Warner Bros.' La Femme Nikita series.

Oxygen will strip the series -- which aired on USA Network for four years in
the mid-1990s -- weekdays at 5 p.m. beginning Sept. 30, the network
said.

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.