NBCU’s Lifestyle Group Debuts Synchronized Joking With Complementary Comedy Shows

Living With Funny for Oxygen, Comedians of L.A. for Esquire

Just when you thought reality TV was totally out of ideas—like completely, entirely, woefully out of ideas—Oxygen and Esquire come along with a novel pitch: two shows with the same cast on two different networks, one aimed at men and one aimed at women. This was the NBCU Lifestyle Group's most interesting announcement on Monday, when Bravo, Oxygen and Esquire presented their wares to reporters. Also a show kidnapped from NatGeo, but more on that in a moment. The high points:

  • Living With Funny, on Oxygen, will follow the travails of several comedians trying to get along with their significant others in Los Angeles; Comedians of L.A. will follow those same comedians' careers as they try to move up in the professional world. It's an interesting extension of NBCU's extensive commitment to making everything at the gigantic company work alongside everything else; the Lifestyle group seems to be the part of the operation with the most viewer overlap and the networks usually try to downplay that for fear of appearing to compete with each other—this looks like an attempt to make them work in concert. Both shows (working titles all) are produced by L. Plummer Media, the company behind Oxygen's Preachers franchise.
  • NatGe… uh, sorry, Esquire's Going Deep With David Rees is… back… for a second season, an eight-episode order of new shows for the well-liked comic's science show, which explores the physics of tying shoes, shaking hands, making paper airplanes and so on. The first improbably interesting episodes aired on News Corp/National Geographic joint venture The National Geographic Channel and were pushed hard by that network. It's strange to see, but the company definitely appears to have sold its interest in the show to Esquire, which will air "the original season," as Esquire programming svp Matt Hanna delicately put it during the presentation, as well as the new shows.
  • Oxygen's other bids for greater relevance to young women include Pretty. Strong, an unscripted show about a lingerie football league, Crazy Talk, a Soup-style show about embarrassments on reality TV, and further entries in Plummer's Preachers franchise, this time Preachers of Atlanta, a hat trick with Preachers of Detroit and Preachers of L.A.
  • Nary a mention of the Real Housewives franchise passed the lips of group president Frances Berwick during the presentation; the network is putting its eggs in baskets labeled NeNe and Kim: The Road to Riches, Mother Funders (mostly self-explanatory), and Apres Ski, an impressive-looking show about a ski resort.