Exclusive: Tribune Buys 'Celebrity Name Game'

Tribune Broadcasting has acquired Debmar-Mercury's new game show, Celebrity Name Game, which will be hosted by Craig Ferguson.

"This huge commitment to Celebrity Name Game from one of the premier broadcast groups in the country illustrates the tremendous value stations place in acquiring quality, compatible first-run programming that can play alongside off-network sitcoms in early fringe and access time periods," said Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein, Debmar-Mercury's copresidents, in a statement. "As we've proven with Family Feud, stations are hungry for humor. With an exceptionally funny and popular host like Craig, a strong concept and Fremantle's extraordinary track record of producing hit game shows, that is exactly what we have with this show."     

The show will air in all of Tribune's markets, including WPIX New York, KTLA Los Angeles and WGN Chicago. In many markets the show will air in access time periods, with some 70% of the show's clearances so far between 5 and 8 p.m.

"Combining Craig Ferguson's sharp wit with Celebrity Name Game's fast-paced format makes this show a great fit to the existing lineup on our broadcast stations," said Sean Compton, Tribune Broadcasting's president of programming and entertainment and Larry Wert, Tribune's president of broadcast media in a combined statement. "We look forward to partnering with Debmar-Mercury, Fremantle and Coquette Productions on this project as Tribune continues to add inventive first-run programming, specifically in access and early fringe."

As part of the deal, Tribune will be a financial partner in the show through Tribune Studios. Celebrity Name Game is produced by FremantleMedia North America and Coquette Productions, the production company of Courteney Cox and David Arquette. Coquette teamed with veteran showrunner Scott St. John (Deal or No Deal), as well as Laura Robinson and Richard Gerrits of North 44 Productions -- who created the board game, Identity Crisis, on which the show is based.

In Celebrity Name Game, celebrities will team with contestants to identify famous names--from actors, singers, athletes, pop culture figures and politicians to cartoon characters.

Meanwhile, Tribune has decided not to pick up any of the new crime shows for 2014.

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.