Oxygen Gets Strong ‘Dance’ Sampling

Oxygen’s aggressive promotion of its new competition series Dance Your Ass Off seems to have paid off, as the show debuted to 1.27 million total viewers Monday night at 10 p.m., making it the most-watched premiere in the network’s history.

The 90-minute season opener also set high-water marks for two key demos, averaging 614,000 adults 18-49 and 432,000 women 18-49, per Nielsen live-plus-same-day ratings data.

A hybrid of NBC’s The Biggest Loser and ABC’s Dancing With the Stars, DYAO features plus-size contestants who try to dance their way to a healthier lifestyle … And a $100,000 grand prize. Hosted by Broadway actress Marissa Jaret Winokur (Hairspray), the series is slated to run for 10 episodes.

Oxygen threw a good deal of promotional weight behind the launch, developing a dedicated DYAO channel on YouTube and kicking off a five-city “Move It To Lose It” dance tour. The show was also teased via subway billboards and in select national magazines.

DYAO has also stirred up a good deal of online interest. According to Oxygen, the series’ micro-site has generated more than one million page views since it launched a month ago.

Oxygen averaged 372,000 viewers in prime time during the second quarter of 2009, flat versus a year ago. The network also stayed steady among its two largest demos, women 18-49 (155,000) and women 25-54 (145,000), while falling 6 percent among adults 18-49 (203,000).