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Debmar-Mercury Promotes Burstein

Lonnie Burstein was promoted to executive vice president of programming and production at Debmar-Mercury, according to company co-presidents Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein.

Burstein is responsible for a number of innovative projects, Marcus and Bernstein said, including The Wendy Williams Show, which returns to national syndication next June following a six-week preview that ran on the Fox Television Stations in July and August.

Marcus and Bernstein also credited Burstein with developing Trivial Pursuit: America Plays, a newnationally syndicatedgame show in co-production between Debmar-Mercury and Hasbro that is also sold internationally.

Burstein is also developing two more projects that Debmar-Mercury plans to begin marketing at international sales conference MIPCOM next month: Hot Seat, a reality-game show from executive producer Tom Gutteridge; and The Limit, a game show from executive producer Scott Sternberg.

Prior to joining Debmar-Mercury, Burstein served as president of nonpartisan Media Vote, a political- and television-research company, from 2004-06. Clients included prominent presidential, U.S. Senate and gubernatorial candidates, as well as campaign committees and major TV-broadcast groups.

From 2003-06, Burstein independently produced cable specials while serving as a programming-research consultant for Debmar-Mercury. In addition to seeking out acquisition and development deals, he was involved in TV-distribution-research activities involving the launch of SouthPark, Tyler Perry’s House of Payne, Family Feud and others.

Previously, Burstein spent four years as senior VP of first-run programming and development for syndicator Studios USA. He led West Coast programming, including development, production and postproduction of Dick Wolf’s Arrest & Trial, along with nearly two-dozen otherpilots and series. He also oversaw production of The Sally Jessy Raphael Show.

Burstein moved to programming from his 1991-98 role as senior VP, research and programming strategy for Universal’s and predecessor MCA’s television groups. There, he oversaw the creation of syndication sales presentations for numerous network and first-run series, including Law & Order and Xena: Warrior Princess.

Earlier, working on the buyer’s side of the business, Burstein served as program director of TVX Broadcasting’s flagship station, WTXF-TV Philadelphia, from 1989-91. He shared in a 1990 Emmy Award for the station’s 100 Years of Army-Navy Football.

Burstein previously was associate director of programming for rep firm Seltel. From 1984-89, he consulted with more than 150 TV stations about acquisition and scheduling needs.

He received a bachelor of arts degree in TV and radio from Brooklyn College in 1982.