Wendy Williams Signs First-Look Development Deal w/ Oxygen Media

Television
by Tambay A. Obenson
February 5, 2013 1:32 PM
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That was quick; she did say that they wouldn't be wasting much time, and would dive right in. 

It was announced yesterday that Wendy Williams and her manager and husband, Kevin Hunter, had formed a production company called Wendy Williams Productions (WWP), which will focus on NON-FICTION programming specifically.

Veteran producer Lisa Knapp has been named senior VP of development, as the new company will be housed at Debmar-Mercury, which also will be a partner in WWP.

"We don't plan on wasting much time, so stay tuned for some must-see programming ahead,said Williams in a statement yesterday.

And they certainly haven't, as it's been announced this afternoon that Oxygen Media has signed a first-look development deal with Wendy Williams and her Wendy Williams Productions, which will, in part, find, develop and produce original programming, for which Williams will also serve as executive producer. One of those projects is Secret Celebrity, described as a fast-paced, humorous show that will put stars in disguises, among the public, anonymously, to find out what unsuspecting fans, friends and family really think of them without the distraction of their famous personas.

For the rest of the story, read the full press release from Oxygen below...

OXYGEN MEDIA SIGNS FIRST-LOOK DEVELOPMENT DEAL WITH TALK SHOW HOST WENDY WILLIAMS

Youngest Women's Network Increases Original Programming By 20 Percent and Across Three Nights in 2013

Network Expands Development Slate With New Project "Secret Celebrity" And Pilot For "This Week The Award Goes To..."

NEW YORK - February 5, 2013 - After reinforcing its position as the youngest women's network and #1 women's cable network on Monday prime for all key demos in 2012, Oxygen Media continues to drive its "Live Out Loud" branding by announcing today a 20 percent increase in original programming with the expansion of its original schedule from two to three nights a week. In addition, the network announced an exclusive first-look development deal with renowned talk show host Wendy Williams, who will bring her talent and creative concepts to Oxygen. The network will expand its aggressive slate with a new development project, "Secret Celebrity," featuring the hottest celebrities in disguise who surprise unsuspecting fans, friends and family, as well as a new pilot titled "This Week The Award Goes To...," a comedic talk show that doles out over-the-top awards to the most deserving newsmakers in pop culture. Oxygen's robust 2013 lineup includes returning series "I'm Having Their Baby," the network's highest rated new series of 2012, and the popular tattoo competition series "Best Ink," with new host Pete Wentz. The eagerly anticipated modeling competition series "The Face," starring celebrity supermodels Naomi Campbell, Karolina Kurkova, Coco Rocha and famed photographer Nigel Barker, premieres on February 12 at 9pm ET/PT. The announcements were made today as the network celebrates its upfront event this evening at New York City's Marquee. For more information, visit www.oxygen.com and follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/OxygenPR.

Jason Klarman, President of Oxygen Media commented, "We have become a destination for young women on all the platforms they love. Their social chatter and ravenous appetite for our 'live out loud' content is driving our success with viewers and advertisers."

As part of her development deal, Wendy Williams and her production company, Wendy Williams Productions will find, develop and produce original programming. In addition to this strategic partnership, Williams will serve as an executive producer on Oxygen's new development project, "Secret Celebrity," in addition to appearing as a guest judge on an episode of "The Face."

"If advertisers are looking to reach an audience of young, socially-savvy women who have both purchasing power and the ability to influence purchase decisions, then Oxygen is the place to be," said Susan Malfa, SVP, Ad Sales for Bravo Media, Oxygen Media, Style Media and Women At NBCU. "We also look forward to partnering with clients on custom integrated sponsorships, across all platforms, to create an even deeper engagement with this highly-desirable audience."

Not only did the network's energized programming slate and digital platforms resonate with viewers, but with Madison Avenue as well, bringing in 15 new advertisers in 2012. Focused on multimedia partnerships, the network boasts numerous integrated partnerships in 2013, including ULTA Beauty - a leading retailer that offers its millions of customers a variety of beauty brands - for the upcoming launch of "The Face." With this partnership comes a grand prize in the form of a contract where the series winner will become a spokesperson for the brand's Fall and Holiday 2013 national ad campaigns. Also joining "The Face" as a key sponsor is Marshalls, which is integrated into series challenges across multiple episodes. In addition, the network announced brand integrations on the series with Cosabella, Guido Maria Kretschmer, Kleinfeld Bridal, OpenSky.com, Vogue Eyewear and W magazine.

Oxygen secured its position as the third most social network in the unscripted space last year, according to Bluefin, while mobile had its best year ever on the video streams front. With a continued commitment to digital innovation, Oxygen's 2013 digital strategy will be marked by a dramatic increase in original content custom-produced for its digital platforms. From highly-produced web series to original daily editorial features on Oxygen.com, the network is heavily focused on content engineered to deepen fan engagement.

Aggressive social promotion is also at the top of the priority list with Oxygen hosting live Tumblr GIF parties around many of its shows. Fans will also be invited to vote for their favorite cast members in various fun video challenges on Facebook. With an emphasis on interactivity, the "live out loud" network will continue to give fans new ways to express themselves around their favorite shows. Whether it's real-time on-air polls for "The Face," or an opportunity for viewers to share their tattoo stories for a chance to have those stories featured on-air during "Best Ink" season two, Oxygen fans will have a chance for their voice to be heard. In an effort to ramp-up for "The Face" series premiere, the network has joined forces with Google to co-produce a Google+ Hangout, a real-time social media event that will be broadcast live on the network - an industry reality show first - and presented on Oxygen.com and YouTube on Wednesday, February 6 at 8 PM ET.

NEW DEVELOPMENT PROJECT:

"Secret Celebrity" (working title)

This fast-paced, humorous project will put today's hottest stars right out among the public anonymously - courtesy of prosthetic makeup- to find out what unsuspecting fans, friends and family really think of them without the distraction of their famous personas.

Produced by T Group Productions with Jenny Daly, Mike Duffy, Wendy Williams and Gunnar Wetterberg serving as Executive Producers.

NEW PILOT:

"This Week The Award Goes To..." (working title)

This self-contained half-hour pilot will offer viewers a front row ticket to an over-the-top laugh-out-loud pop culture show with a comedian host to be named soon. Visited by a revolving door of characters and correspondents, the most deserving newsmakers will be honored with the kind of award that only this out-of-the-box series can bestow. Whether it's an award for "Most Eccentric Breakdown" or "Craziest Viral Video," statuettes highlight the most unbelievable, ridiculous, and eye-popping moments in entertainment. Throughout the show, we will present clips and highlights from the worlds of television, online and celebrity gossip with a healthy mix of irony and genuine fan-girl zeal. A weekly "In Memoriam" sketch is sure to bring tears...of laughter.

Produced by JimCo with Jim Biederman, Marla Ratner, Gabe Liedman and Kara Welker serving as Executive Producers.

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