NBC closes Cloo, retools Oxygen as true crime channel to take on Investigation Discovery

NBC has closed the book on Cloo, its crime- and mystery-focused channel, while simultaneously announcing that Oxygen will retool to focus on true crime programming for women.

Cloo was shut down due to a lack of MVPD coverage, an NBC spokesperson told Multichannel News. Cloo originally launched in 2006 as Sleuth before changing its name.

The demise of Cloo comes shortly after NBCUniversal announced that it would cease operation of the Esquire Network linear channel and relaunch the channel as a digital brand with a reduced staff.

RELATED: Esquire loses 15M DirecTV and U-verse homes as AT&T drops channel

Like Cloo, Esquire had been dropped by pay-TV providers. Most recently, Esquire lost 15 million subscribers when AT&T made the decision to drop the channel from its pay-TV lineup, causing Esquire to lose reach in about 11 million DirecTV homes and about 4 million U-verse residences.

While Esquire is preparing for its new life as a digital platform, Cloo’s absence will apparently be filled by the new Oxygen. The shift for Oxygen comes after the channel Oxygen recently expanded its “Crime Time” weekend block to four days a week (Friday – Monday). Now the channel is planning new series including Three Days to Live, premiering March 5, as well as Cold Justice and The Jury Speaks, both arriving in the third quarter.

“The recent expansion of our ‘Crime Time’ weekend block has enjoyed double-digit gains and has really resonated with our female audience,” said Frances Berwick, president of Lifestyle Networks at NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment, in a statement. “Oxygen has always played in this space with the highly successful original series ‘Snapped,’ one of the longest running crime series on television now approaching its 20th season. With a lot of high quality projects in development, we believe our current fans, as well as all arm chair detectives, have good reason to be excited.”

Oxygen’s new direction will put it in direct competition with Investigation Discovery, Discovery Communication’s true crime network.