Maybe Dick Wolf is about to be the king of NBCUniversal after all. According to Variety, the prolific producer is reportedly talking with NBCU to rebrand the Oxygen network to feature more crime series.
NBCU and Dick Wolf weren’t initially available for comment on the story, which Variety broke. The talks of rebranding the network are still in the early stages and it’s unclear what part Wolf would have in the rebranding. Wolf currently has a development deal in place with NBCU through 2020, so it’s likely that he could play a major role in the rebranding efforts.
In a television world that is driven by ratings, the current ratings on Oxygen are less to be desired, especially since flagship NBCU channel, NBC, had stellar ratings and viewership this fall. In primetime viewing, Oxygen is down 12 percent in adults 18 to 49 and 13 percent in women 18 to 49 since 2015.
Oxygen does seem ready to be known for its crime shows, as there’s a morning block of programming of crime shows that airs Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday mornings that have done relatively well in the ratings.
Since Oxygen was formed in 1999, the network has undergone different topics that they try to focus on. In 2002, it was relaunched as a female-orientated network. NBCU bought the network in 2009. In 2013, the network started focusing more on celebrity-driven non-scripted programming. The latest rebranding could be in efforts to find its niche programming, as other networks in the NBCU family all have specific genres that their programming reflects.
If the rebranding does happen, it could potentially be a place where the Chicago shows, where Wolf is credited with being an executive producer, finally get to air in syndication. Typically, shows enter syndication deals once they hit 88 episodes, which is roughly four season. Currently, only Chicago Fire is eligible, by those rules, to be syndicated as the show just celebrated 100 episodes. However, Chicago P.D. is in the middle of its fourth season, meaning syndication is right around the corner. Chicago Med is also halfway to syndication, as it’s in the middle of its second season, and the latest entry in the Chicago franchise, Chicago Justice, premieres in March.
None of the shows have their full seasons available to stream.
It’s also where any of the Law and Order shows could air in syndication, though Law and Order: Special Victims Unit and Law and Order: Criminal Intent have syndication deals with fellow NBCU cable channel USA. It’s also possible it’s where Wolf’s upcoming Law and Order: True Crime could be syndicated once it airs on NBC.