6:05am PT by Rick Porter
Will Packer-Produced Newsmagazine Booked for Fall 2020 on Fox Stations
Prolific producer Will Packer is expanding into syndicated TV.
Fox Television Stations have given the go-ahead for the Packer-produced newsmagazine Central Ave. to launch nationally in the fall. The pickup comes after the show, distributed by Lionsgate's Debmar-Mercury, had a trial run on several Fox affiliates in November.
Central Ave., an entertainment-focused show hosted by Julissa Bermudez (106 & Park) and five-time Olympic gold medalist Sanya Richards-Ross, will air weekly, largely in weekend time periods, with an eye toward becoming a daily strip in the future. The trial run in November featured daily installments.
The show will be produced as an hour-long format that can be split into half-hours if local stations wish. It will be double-run on Fox stations, thus filling two hours of the schedule on weekends.
Central Ave. joins a daily talk show from Nick Cannon — also from Debmar-Mercury and airing on Fox stations — and a CBS-distributed talker starring Drew Barrymore in gaining clearance for a fall 2020 debut in syndication. The Good Dish, a food-focused Dr. Oz spinoff from Sony, is also on the market but doesn't yet have distribution.
"We knew from the minute Central Ave. debuted that it is a winner, and our partners at Fox agreed," Debmar-Mercury co-presidents Ira Bernstein and Mort Marcus said Monday in a statement. "With our consensus being shows like this rarely come along, and with an unusually crowded weekday market this fall, we looked toward the weekends. Having the entire stage all to itself, we believe Central Ave. has a good chance to thrive airing in strong weekend time periods with all original episodes and ultimately return as a weekday strip."
Said Packer: "I could not be happier with the results of our test and the support from the Fox Stations and the Debmar-Mercury team. This pickup by Fox underscores what I’ve always known: There is an audience for cool, diverse, unique perspectives. Can’t wait to bring that audience to stations nationwide."
Packer (Girls Trip, Little, OWN's Ambitions) co-created Central Ave. with Monique Chenault, who will serve as showrunner. They will executive produce with Will Packer Media's Kelly Smith. Will Packer Media and Debmar-Mercury will co-produce.