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Oxygen shelves two summer shows, announces layoffs

The Internet and cable-TV company geared toward women is putting two shows on hiatus and temporarily laying off staff for the summer.

Oxygen Media has sprung a leak.

Privately held Oxygen, an Internet and cable-TV company with content and programming geared toward women, said today it is putting two shows, "Pure Oxygen" and "Trackers," on hiatus for the summer. Some staff and crew will be laid off for the summer, spokeswoman Laura Nelson said.

The company has had to make "difficult business decisions" in recent weeks, according to an email to the shows' employees from Geoffrey Darby, Oxygen's president of production. The shows were shelved for the summer because the company feels an obligation to its investors and shareholders, the message read.

"The shows went over budget," Nelson said. "Pure Oxygen" made its debut just over four months ago.

The announcement was the latest in a string of reports from online content companies that have undergone staff cuts. Online magazine reported laying off 13 employees today, while CBS said yesterday it laid off 24 employees in its online division, and crime news site said Monday it ran out of money and laid off 140 employees.

Backers of the New York-based Oxygen include Oprah Winfrey and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.

Nelson said the Oxygen hiatus is typical in traditional TV programming--stockpiling shows for the fall instead of airing them during the summer when many viewers are on vacation and away from the television. But the shows had been intended for this summer, she said.

Of the 120 staffers working on the shows, less than a dozen were being laid off, she said. The remaining employees will work on shows airing this fall.