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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.

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.