Square Off with TV Guide

TV Guide Channel will partner with Scott Sternberg Productions to develop a new weekly primetime debate series set to premiere April 7.

The one-hour series, Square Off, will tackle the business of television through a debate format hosted by Variety reporter Brian Lowry and Hollywood Reporter journalist Andrew Wallenstein, according to TV Guide executives. Peter Bart, editor in chief of Variety, a sister publication to Multichannel News, will serve as a producer on Square Off.

The show’s format is similar to another Bart/Sternberg series, Sunday Morning Shootout, which airs weekly on AMC. That series, hosted by Bart and Mandalay Entertainment Group chairman and CEO Peter Guber, focuses on the film industry.

The announcement comes on the heels of TV Guide’s launch two weeks ago of a live American Idol preshow series, which runs before the competition show airs each Tuesday and Wednesday night on Fox.

Hosted by former Idol finalist Kimberly Caldwell, the show originates from American Idol’s Television City studios.

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.