Upfronts 2009: Oxygen Focusing on Multiplatform Marketing, Merchandizing

Network partnering with Crunch gyms for new series 'Dance Your Ass Off'
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Multiplatform marketing and merchandizing was the focus at Oxygen’s upfront presentation to reporters on Wednesday.

The network introduced two new multiplatform initiatives – a marketing partnership with Crunch gyms tied to the new weight-loss competition series Dance Your Ass Off and an exclusive Web series with Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott.

Held at Arena near Manhattan’s Bryant Park, the Oxygen executive team rolled out its first full slate of original programming since NBC Universal’s $925 million acquisition of Oxygen in early 2008.

Dance Your Ass Off will anchor a second night of original programming for the network, though a premiere date has yet to be announced. Marissa Jaret Winokur, a Tony winner for her role as plus-sized Tracy Turnblad in the Broadway hit Hairspray, is the host.

“I think I proved you don’t have to be a size zero to move on the dance floor,” said Winokur.

The contestants live together in a loft in Los Angeles. Like the contestants on Dancing With the Stars, they partner with a professional dancer and each week learn and perform a new routine for a panel of judges including actress/dancer Lisa Ann Walter, who came up with the concept for the show and also serves as an executive producer.

The Crunch deal includes Dance Your Ass Off classes at Crunch gyms that integrate the dances (from hip hop to ballroom) the contestants perform each week. A Crunch trainer is featured on the show. Crunch also provided the fitness equipment for loft where the contestants live. Oxygen and Crunch will co-produce a branded fitness DVD that will be available on the network’s Web site. Oxygen will have a strong presence at Crunch locations via closed-circuit promotion on monitors as well as a designated channel on individual cardio equipment TV screens. Oxygen and Crunch web sites also will have exclusive Dance Your Ass videos, fitness tips, merchandise and mobile content.

Oxygen also announced a multiplatform development deal with Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott, stars of its reality franchise Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood, which has its fourth season premiere May 26 at 10 p.m. The deal includes an original Web series constructed around Spellings new memoir Mommyhood (Simon & Schuster) that will be available exclusively on Oxygen.com. Spelling and McDermott’s World of Wonder shingle also will produce a new couples make-over show for the network and a romantic comedy movie of the week. In addition to executive producing, the couple will have starring roles in both projects.

Additional projects in development include docusoaps Keshia and Kaseem, about former Cosby Show kid Keshia Knight Pulliam and her entrepreneur boyfriend Kaseem Penn; and Celeb-U-Moms, about Hollywood moms juggling family, careers and social obligations.

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