Mischa Barton's (search) lovelorn character on "The O.C.," (search) Marissa Cooper, is slated for a lesbian love scene later this season, according to reports.

The girl-girl love scene is usually a guaranteed ratings getter — a lesbian kiss pumped up the ratings for "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" a few years ago — so "The O.C." is going to try it too, says a report on the Web site TVgasm.com.

A Fox spokesman for "The O.C." declined to comment on the report Monday.

The ratings for "The O.C." this season — while solid — haven't exactly been through the roof and a lesbian storyline — or at least a main character experimenting sexually with someone of the same sex — could help matters.

Howard Stern had it right a few years ago when he said that "lesbians equal ratings" — the audience for "Buffy" shot when Alyson Hannigan's character Willow began a relationship with Tara, another witch (played by Amber Benson).

Since then, girl-girl love scenes have become more common on TV, so it was probably just a matter of time before "The O.C." dipped into the well.

Gay and bisexual characters have been scattered throughout primetime for years on shows like "Will & Grace" and others.

It is believed that Barton's character will just be experimenting with the fairer sex and not committing to a full-on romantic, sapphic relationship.