Fox Television Stations, Lionsgate’s Debmar-Mercury & Record-Breaking Producer Will Packer Team To Bring Back Central Ave In September 2020 As A New Weekly, Nationally Syndicated Format

Mon, 01/20/2020

Following FOX’s Successful Weekday Test of the Strip in the November 2019 Sweeps, the Provocative, Socially Conscious and Diverse Entertainment & Pop Culture Magazine will Air Next Season as Two Original Weekly Half-Hour Episodes

Los Angeles and New York, January 20, 2020 – FOX Television Stations, Lionsgate’s Debmar-Mercury and record-breaking producer Will Packer (Night School, Girls Trip) are teaming to bring back Central Ave in September 2020 in a new weekly, nationally syndicated format.

The provocative, socially conscious and diverse Atlanta-based series, which Debmar-Mercury and FOX tested during the highly competitive November sweeps as a weekday strip, worked so well creatively that it will return next season as two original weekly half-hour episodes.

Debmar-Mercury Co-Presidents Ira Bernstein and Mort Marcus took the innovative and groundbreaking path of venturing into weekly original syndicated programming following Central Ave’s initial five-week FOX run.

"We knew from the minute Central Ave debuted that it is a winner and our partners at FOX agreed," Bernstein and Marcus commented. "With our consensus being shows like this rarely come along, and with an unusually crowded weekday market this fall, we looked toward the weekends. Having the entire stage all to itself, we believe Central Ave has a good chance to thrive airing in strong weekend time periods with all original episodes and ultimately return as a weekday strip."

Frank Cicha, EVP of Programming for FOX Television Stations, said, "I thought the test was very well executed, but let’s face it, this is as close as I’ll ever get to hanging out with Will Packer on the weekend."

Packer said, "I could not be happier with the results of our test and the support from the FOX Stations and the Debmar-Mercury team. This pickup by FOX underscores what I’ve always known: there is an audience for cool, diverse, unique perspectives. Can’t wait to bring that audience to stations nationwide."

With diverse and underserved voices coming to the forefront of society, Packer has taken an entirely new approach to the magazine genre with Central Ave by lending an authentic voice to the pop culture, hip-hop and urban worlds.

He created and served as an executive producer of the new magazine series in a quest to blaze trails and set trends by delivering relevant entertainment and pop culture news through a provocative, socially conscious and diverse lens. Julissa Bermudez (106 & Park) and former Olympic track star Sanya Richards-Ross (a five-time gold medalist) became the first women of color to co-host a magazine series.

Co-Creator Monique Chenault will serve as showrunner of Central Ave and, together with Packer and Will Packer Media’s Kelly Smith, executive producer. Will Packer Media and distributor Debmar-Mercury co-produce the series.

About Debmar-Mercury
Debmar-Mercury, an innovative leading media company specializing in syndication, network, cable and ancillary markets, produces and distributes The Wendy Williams Show and, premiering in September 2020, Nick Cannon, with Cannon’s Ncredible Entertainment co-producing, and Central Ave, a co-production with producer Will Packer’s Will Packer Media. it has U.S. distribution rights to FremantleMedia North America’s Steve Harvey-hosted Family Feud and, starting in September 2020, Schitt’s Creek, the critically acclaimed half-hour, single-camera scripted comedy created by Eugene Levy and Daniel Levy, which ranked as the No. 1 original series on Pop TV. Other returning series include Caught in Providence, which it produces (together with Citylife Productions) and distributes, now in its second season in national syndication and on social media; Comedy Central’s 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 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 premier next generation global content leader.

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 ten 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.

Jim Benson
The Lippin Group