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Oxygen Preps For TV Launch

Geraldine Laybourne turned Nickelodeon into successful children's channel and now she's focusing on women.

Her new company, Oxygen Media, which already has Web site with information on money, health, parenting among other topics will launch Feb. 2 a cable channel with 24 hours of programming.

Laybourne explains on CBS News This Morning the concept behind her integrated media company, which kicks off a national publicity tour on Thursday in New York.

"TheÂ…tour is our grassroots effort to make sure that women know that we are in the process of building a network and that we are an Internet site that represents them," Laybourne says.

The tour opens in New York City's Union Square on Thursday morning. That evening it migrates to South Street Seaport until Sunday before moving on to other parts of the country.

After making Nickelodeon a huge success, Laybourne became president of cable television operations for the Walt Disney Co. and ABC. In May 1998, she quit to start Oxygen Media, which is positioning itself as a cable TV channel and Web site for women.

"We are focusing on women because we believe that what women want is not available to them now. Media does not speak to them and does not represent them," she says.

Laybourne has partnered with Marcy Carsey, Tom Werner, Caryn Mandabach and Oprah Winfrey to provide round the clock cable programming seven days a week.

"We think that women are way underrepresented in cable TV because there are 55 channels for men and only one for women. We see this as the most logical thing in the world for us. This is a new time," Laybourne adds.

The cable channel is set to launch with an estimated 10 million subscribers. The company anticipates having an additional 20 million by the end of that year.

Werner, Carsey and Mandabach are responsible for the channel's programming. They and Harpo Entertainment have made their libraries of programs available to Oxygen.

Thus far, programming includes the following:

Pure Oxygen, two hours of live programming on various topics ranging from parenting, business, health, style, home and entertainment.
Exhale, a nightly chat between Candice Bergen and newsmakers.
X-Chromosome, cable's first original animated prime-time series created just for women as well as programming for teen girls.

And has just been given a new and expanded look, giving women access to chat rooms, schedules, message boards, Internet tools as well as information on national, online and cable programming.

It also provides a navigation system so users can move quickly and easily through the network of sites.

View some of the offerings below:

Thrive, a healthy-living Web site.
Moms Online, an online parenting site., with information related to Oprah Winfrey's show and interests.
ka-Ching, a site focusing on money, careers and business.

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