After testing entertainment magazine Central Ave in November, the Fox Television Stations and Lionsgate-owned Debmar-Mercury will bring the Will Packer-produced show back as a double-run half-hour on weekends this fall, the parties said Monday.
“We knew from the minute Central Ave debuted that it is a winner and our partners at Fox agreed,” said Debmar-Mercury co-presidents Ira Bernstein and Mort Marcus in a statement.
“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.”
The show is initially cleared to air in markets where Fox owns stations, with Debmar-Mercury working to clear it in additional markets and eventually evolve it into a strip. It's being produced as a back-to-back hour that stations can run together or separately as two half-hours. Stations can pick up two hours of the show per weekend.
Next fall, Debmar-Mercury also plans to debut a daily talk strip starring Nick Cannon and to launch comedy Schitt’s Creek TV into national syndication off of Pop TV.
“I could not be happier with the results of our test and the support from the Fox stations and the Debmar-Mercury team,” Packer said, also in a statement. “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.”
During the show’s five-week run last fall, BET’s Julissa Bermudez and former Olympian Sanya Richards-Ross 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.
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Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997-September 2002.