Lionsgate’s Debmar-Mercury and Record-Breaking Producer Will Packer Team for a 5-Week Preview of Atlanta-Based Series Starting November 4 on Select FOX Stations
April 29, 2019
NEW YORK AND LOS ANGELES – Lionsgate’s Debmar-Mercury and record-breaking producer Will Packer (Night School, Girls Trip) are teaming for the wide-reaching and multicultural entertainment news magazine show Central Ave. The daily, half-hour series originating live from Atlanta will launch November 4 for a 5-week preview on select FOX Television Stations.
With a quest to blast trails and set trends, Central Ave is poised to deliver relevant entertainment and pop culture news through a provocative, socially conscious and diverse lens.
In a historic pairing, television personality Julissa Bermudez (106 & Park) will co-host Central Ave with former Olympic track star and five-time gold medalist Sanya Richards-Ross – marking the first time two women of color have been named to co-host an entertainment magazine series.
Central Ave is the second collaboration between Will Packer Media and Debmar-Mercury, which together with Lionsgate Television produce OWN’s upcoming multigenerational family saga, Ambitions. The FOX stations will air the magazine strip in access and early fringe time periods following the conclusion of the World Series.
Frank Cicha, EVP of programming for FOX Television Stations, said, “We can’t wait to work with someone this successful who, when you ask how many syndicated strips they’ve worked on before, the answer is ‘none.’ I have to believe we’re going to get something fresh here. Will Packer doesn’t know what he can’t do in this space. That, to me, is invigorating.”
Debmar-Mercury Co-Presidents Ira Bernstein and Mort Marcus commented, “Will Packer brings an entirely new and vibrant vision to syndication with Central Ave. We are excited to fill a need in the marketplace for a magazine show like this by partnering once again with our good friends at the FOX stations and a team headed by an A-List film producer of the caliber of Will.”
Packer said, “Central Ave will stand out in the newsmag space by presenting a unique first-person perspective on the culture-driving, trendsetting topics that mainstream audiences have a voracious appetite for. Being fronted by fresh voices that happen to be diverse and female gives us license to do stories in a way no one else can.”
Will Packer Media and distributor Debmar-Mercury will co-produce the series, with Packer, Kelly Smith and showrunner Monique Chenault serving as executive producers.
Debmar-Mercury, a leading media company specializing in syndication, network, cable and ancillary markets, produces and distributes The Wendy Williams Show and, with co-producer Citylife Productions, Caught in Providence, returning for a second season in September 2019. It has U.S. distribution rights to Fremantle’s Steve Harvey-hosted Family Feud; off-Netflix episodes of BoJack Horseman from Michael Eisner’s privately held media and entertainment company, The Tornante Company; as well as U.S. distribution rights to Schitt’s Creek, the critically acclaimed half-hour, single-camera scripted comedy created by Eugene Levy and Daniel Levy that ranks as the No. 1 original series on Pop TV; the 10/90 sitcoms Debmar-Mercury pioneered including Tyler Perry’s House of Payne and spinoff Meet the Browns; Revolution/CubeVision’s Are We There Yet? (starring Ice Cube); and the Debmar-Mercury / Lionsgate Television comedy Anger Management (starring Charlie Sheen). Debmar-Mercury is a wholly owned subsidiary of Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF.A, LGF.B), a global content platform whose films, television series, digital products and linear and over-the-top platforms reach next-generation audiences around the world.
About Will Packer Media
Led by Hollywood producer Will Packer, Will Packer Media is a first-of-its-kind production and branded content company focused on the New American Mainstream audience, with an urban millennial core. In partnership with Discovery, Inc. and Universal Pictures, the company produces episodic scripted and unscripted series across television and digital platforms, compelling content for brand clients and short-form digital content for millennial audiences. Will Packer’s films have earned more than $1 billion, with nine opening at number one at the box office.
About FOX Television Stations
FOX Television Stations is one of the nation’s largest owned-and-operated network broadcast groups, comprising 28 stations in 17 markets and covering over 37% of U.S. television homes. This includes seven duopolies in the top 10 markets: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco, Washington, D.C. and Houston; as well as duopolies in Minneapolis, Phoenix, Orlando and Charlotte.
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