Are Web sites for teenage girls a little too wild?
by Lessley Anderson
(IDG) -- You've got to forgive Kristi Kaylor if she seems a little manic. After all, she's spent all day in the head of a teenybopper. Kaylor, along with the creative team at San Francisco-based agency Red Sky Interactive, has been brainstorming about the look and feel of her new Web site, Voxxy.
Aimed at teenage girls, Voxxy will launch this spring as a new kind of "network," complete with chat rooms, bulletin boards, shopping and, most important, a full slate of provocative streaming-video series that Kaylor promises will raise parents' eyebrows.
The characters, she says, "smoke, and they cuss, and they're real people."
Kaylor, a redhead with a Melanie-Griffith voice, has the infectious energy you'd expect from someone who at age 27 already has 18 TV projects under her belt. She got her start as a producer at MTV when, fresh out of college, she wowed execs with a homemade pilot. Called the Cutting Edge, Kaylor's reality-based show depicted stars like Christina Applegate hanging out with their best friends. "Even celebrities let their guard down when they're with their best friends," says Kaylor. "You get to see what their personalities are really like."
That's what Kaylor wants to re-create with Voxxy, which will strip away the gloss of traditional media's teen programming. To do so, she's joined forces with Maxine Lapiduss, former writer and producer of Ellen and Home Improvement, and Hillary Carlip, author of Girl Power: Young Women Speak Out, a collection of interviews with a range of teens from sorority sisters to homegirls.
Kaylor, Lapiduss and Carlip are billing the company as a refuge for producers, actors and writers who are fed up with big-media bureaucracy and are looking to get their groove back.
Their spiel seems to have hit home in Hollywood. Friends star Jennifer Aniston has signed on to produce and host a reality-based series on Voxxy. The creators of MTV's Real World are also talking about producing a show. And Billie Jean King has claimed a seat on the board, joined by a roster of high-powered Hollywood women, including Nancy Josephson, copresident of ICM, and Nely Galan, president of Galan Entertainment and former president of entertainment at Telemundo.
Voxxy launches this spring with its first four series, including what Lapiduss describes as a "dark, animated soap opera" featuring a girl who's in love with her best guy friend, another boy who's asexual, and a girl with a weight problem.
Among the other 19 shows Voxxy has in production is a dating-game series with a twist: Instead of a girl asking questions of three boys behind a panel, she asks questions of the boys' mothers and sisters. A music show called Noise will explore the forbidden sanctums of 21-and-over Hollywood music clubs.
Voxxy is jumping into a crowded field. A full lineup of Web sites are aimed at the powerful teen-girl sector that made Britney Spears one of the top-grossing artists of 1999. These sites run the gamut from baby-blue and butter-yellow teenybopper sites like Bolt.com and Alloy.com to edgier sites like iTurf and iFuse that are heavy on profanity and sex talk.
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