Bergen breathes easy on Oxygen network

July 11, 2002|By KNIGHT RIDDER/TRIBUNE

PASADENA, Calif. - Candice Bergen, whose Murphy Brown character was attacked by Dan Quayle during the 1992 election campaign, responded to Quayle's recent remarks in support of the family values he perceived in MTV's The Osbournes.

"That Dan," Bergen said, shaking her head and smiling. "You just can't predict him."

Bergen is at the summer 2002 Television Critics Association press tour this week talking about her new Oxygen cable series Candice Checks It Out, which launches Aug. 18.

A follow-up to her previous Oxygen series, Exhale, this new effort has Bergen spending time with people whom, for one reason or another, she finds compelling.

Would former Vice President Quayle, who once bashed Murphy Brown for being an unwed mother, be considered worthwhile guest material?

"Others thought of it," Bergen said. "But I kind of disabused them of that idea."

Making the point more bluntly, Bergen added: "I've never met Dan Quayle, and I was always fine with that."

Instead, Bergen spends time with a pet psychic, to whom she brought her own pets ("Everything she said about my dog and cat was wrong"), with a hip-hop deejay and with sex workers, who taught Bergen a thing or two about the proclivities of seemingly mild-mannered men.

Bergen admitted she was frustrated with her previous show, which was part of the launch schedule of Oxygen. That frustration came from the relatively limited reach of the channel at the time.

"With Exhale, we were doing a show that was not seen by anyone that we knew or people in the flyover states."

Now, with Oxygen available in an estimated 40 million homes, the potential reach is much greater.

"The name of the game over the next few years," Oxygen chairman and CEO Geraldine Laybourne said, "is to figure out how we can get attention."

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