Oxygen Orders ‘Edgy’ Half-Hour

Aug 2, 2004  •  Post A Comment

Oxygen, which has increasingly turned to originals featuring rebellious female leads, has ordered a pilot for the half-hour series “Feminine Mystique,” described by sources as an “edgy female variety show.”

“Mystique” is the first show to come out of the network’s overall development deal with Stone Stanley Entertainment. No talent is attached. Stone Stanley, the production company behind “The Man Show” and “Joe Schmo,” signed a nonexclusive deal in April to generate an undisclosed number of ideas for the channel. The company declined to comment on the order.

Earlier this month, co-founder David Stanley left the company and took up shop at Telepictures, ending his 14-year partnership with Scott Stone. Though the Oxygen deal was signed before his departure, the pilot was ordered after he left. Mr. Stone and Stone Stanley VP of Development Sharon Levy will executive produce “Feminine Mystique.” Mr. Stone has not yet chosen a new name for the company.

Though Oxygen declined to comment on the pilot, President of Programming Deborah Beece said the network’s strategy is to chase material featuring “rebellious women.”

“We’re going to a more deep and more interesting place,” Ms. Beece said. “Our successes are these loud, rebellious, funny, smart women. Look at our most popular shows; they’re `Absolutely Fabulous’ and `Roseanne.”‘

To that end, Oxygen is touting its upcoming BBC acquisition “Nighty Night,” a dark comedy about a married woman who joins a dating service after learning her husband has cancer; and original true crime series “Snapped,” about women who have killed their husbands.

“Our characters are complicated. They’re not perfect, and we try to have fun with that,” Ms. Beece said. “They’re not victims, and that’s where we’re having a lot of our success.”

The network’s success this year has been reasonably pronounced. According to Nielsen Media Research, in total day ratings Oxygen is up 61 percent in the latest quarter compared with last year.