Oxygen pumps new series

At the Television Critics Association tour in Pasadena, Calif., Oxygen unwrapped several new series,
highlighted by Candice Bergen-hosted Candice Checks It Out, where Bergen
goes on the road chasing strange or inspirational stories. Subjects include the
first woman to pilot the space shuttle and a phone-sex operator. Candice
Checks It Out
is Bergen's second offering on Oxygen.

When Oxygen launched in 1998, Bergen hosted Exhale, an in-studio
celebrity-interview show.

Of Exhale and the network's early days, Bergen said, "It was frustrating
that it was not seen by anyone we knew or in the flyover states." Oxygen's new
programming, she added, highlights celebrity personalities in new contexts.

Such shows include Carrie Fisher's interview special, Conversations from
the Edge
, returning as a weekly series, and designer Isaac Mizrahi's show
building out to a weekly strip series with 27 new episodes. The Isaac Mizrahi
will air after Oprah Winfrey's new series, Oprah After the Show, beginning Sept. 16.

Oxygen also acquired British hit Absolutely Fabulous from the British Broadcasting Corp.
for three years. It debuts Sept. 3.

Oxygen's schedule is now 52 percent original programming, according to
chairman and CEO Geraldine Laybourne. "We're mostly younger women, and we're
trying to create a voice [with originals] that we're about comedy and
risk-taking," she said. Oxygen could add scripted programming to its schedule by
fall 2003, she added.