“‘All My Babies’ Mamas’ will be filled with outrageous and authentic over-the-top moments that our young, diverse female audience can tweet and gossip about, ” says Cori Abraham, Senior Vice President of Development at Oxygen Media.
From Forbes Magazine: Oxygen Media announced it has picked up a special from Liz Gateley and Tony DiSanto, the former MTV executives-turned-producers who brought us The Hills, Paris Hilton’s My New BFF, andLaguna Beach: The Real Orange County, among many other programs deemed vacuous by critics but successful by MTV ratings standards.
This probable back-door pilot might be a little more provocative than even – say – Teen Mom, for which the duo served as top creative positions. The working title is All My Babies’ Mommas, described byDeadline Hollywood as a program that will ‘chronicle the complicated lives of one man, his children’s mamas, and their army of children, capturing the highs and lows of this extreme blended family as they navigate their financially and emotionally connected lives.’
But not surprising, given that Oxygen is the home to such fare as My Shopping Addiction, The Bad Girls Club, and every possible incarnation of Tori Spelling and her husband. Oxygen’s mission statement is to rewrite ‘the rulebook for women’s media by changing how the world sees entertainment from a young woman’s point of view,’ through a vast array of ‘unconventional and original content,’ including The Glee Project, Best Ink and I’m Having Their Baby.
Since its launch almost thirteen years ago, Oxygen has struggled with identity. Formed by Nickelodeon founder Geraldine Laybourne, mega-producers Marcy Carsey, Tom Werner and Caryn Mandabach, with Oprah Winfrey, it has had multiple carriage issues with cable and satellite companies, and a revolving door of executives and marketing campaigns.
In 2000, Oxygen’s intent was to ‘release the energy of women to do great things,’ which now apparently includes shopping and having babies with many partners. As with many other channels and television in general, things have changed. The channel has stuck to its ‘live out loud’ mantra, and has kept the intent of its original founders, in looping women into an enhanced online experience with its programming – now through social media as opposed to the forum chats of yesteryear.
Is louder better? Like some of the other shows Oxygen has in development (Shotgun Weddings, Fat Girls Revenge), Babies’ Mommas sounds unabashedly exploitative, even by Oxygen’s own website description. One commenter wrote on another site’s announcement: ‘Uh. This sounds horrible. The poor being exploited so those at a higher socio-economic level can sneer and feel superior to the way these people live.’
It may not be better, but one thing is for sure: Oxygen’s success with these programs isn’t just tied to traditional ratings. All of these programs in development and on the air give rise to over-the-top characters and issues that make Snooki look like a librarian. They do and will lend themselves to deep contact with a select audience, through co-viewing platform OxygenLive.com and its iPhone and iPad app. And, well, while Honey Boo Boo might seem tame compared to some of Oxygen’s upcoming programs, Oxygen may finally have tapped into its own cash pig – er – cow.