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Oxygen Plans Hybrid Comedy Series

Los Angeles— Seeking to reach more younger female viewers, Oxygen is prepared to launch as many as two new scripted series in the near future, according to Oxygen chairman and CEO Geraldine Laybourne.

The network is looking at two comedy series that would combine scripted fare with impromptu performances, similar in concept to Home Box Office’s Curb Your Enthusiasm.

While debut dates have not yet been set for the shows, Laybourne told Multichannel News during the network’s Television Critics Association tour presentation here on Jan. 11 that scripted programming is the next step in the network’s evolution and will allow it to further differentiate itself from other distaff-targeted networks in reaching women 18 to 34. Oxygen is also continuing to develop original movies, announcing that it has signed actress Janeane Garofalo to star in a romantic comedy, Nadine In Dateland, set to bow sometime this spring. Oxygen also announced that March 12 will mark the premiere of Confessions of A Sociopathic Social Climber, starring Jennifer Love Hewitt, Joseph Lawrence and Colin Ferguson, a comedy drawn from the book of the same name.

On the reality-series front, Oxygen will introduce Mr. Romance, a male beauty competition that will determine the next coverboy for the Harlequin romance novel on March 14.

Former Harlequin model Fabio will star as a consultant for the would-be models in the series, created by Kiss band member Gene Simmons.