Debmar-Mercury's 'Celebrity Name Game' Cleared in More Than 80% of U.S.

Debmar-Mercury has sold its new game show, Celebrity Name Game, in more than 80% of the country, while renewing veteran Family Feud through 2016-17.

Celebrity Name Game, which stars Craig Ferguson, has been picked up by 58 of Sinclair Broadcasting’s stations, covering more than 30% of the country.

Celebrity Name Game makes a strong addition to our access and early fringe lineup, given the success we’ve enjoyed with Family Feud in these same time periods,” said Bill Butler, Sinclair’s VP of programming and promotion, in a statement. “Both of these game shows have genius comedy stars as hosts and are perfect to pair together in these important dayparts, alongside our leading sitcoms.”

Also adding Celebrity Name Game for 2014 are CBS’ KPIX/KBCW San Francisco, WBZ/WBSK Boston, WUPA Atlanta and WWJ/WKBD Detroit, as well as Londen’s independent KAZT Phoenix and Gannett’s NBC affiliate WKYC Cleveland. Belo’s WHAS Louisville also has joined the lineup. Celebrity Name Game’s launch group is Tribune Broadcasting, which bought the show for all 25 of its stations and became a back-end financial partner in the program. The show is now cleared in 19 of the top 20 markets.

“The rapid sales pace for Celebrity Name Game demonstrates top-tier stations strongly believe in the value of this incredibly funny, sitcom-compatible game show to serve as a key element of their access and early fringe lineups,” said Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein, copresidents of Lionsgate distributor Debmar-Mercury, in a statement.

Celebrity Name Game will be co-produced by Debmar-Mercury and FremantleMedia North America. The half-hour strip was developed by Courtney Cox and David Arquette’s Coquette Productions, showrunner Scott St. John and Laura Robinson and Richard Gerrits’ North 44 Productions. The show teams celebrities with contestants to identify famous names, including actors, singers, athletes, pop culture figures, politicians and even cartoon characters.

Gerrits and Robinson will serve as producers of the series based on the board game, Identity Crisis, that they created. Executive Producers are showrunner Scott St. John, Thom Beers, Jennifer Mullin, Cox and Arquette.

Meanwhile, Debmar-Mercury has renewed its veteran game show, Family Feud, through the 2016-17 TV season. Most of the renewals are on incumbent stations — including 50 Sinclair stations, eight CBS and three Fox owned stations. Feud now airs in early fringe and access time periods between 5 and 8 p.m. in more than 80% of the country.

Paige Albiniak

Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for more than 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for The Global Entertainment Marketing Academy of Arts & Sciences (G.E.M.A.). 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.