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To help fill the spinoff channels that major broadcasters created when television went digital in 2009, FremantleMedia North America has reached deep into its library of 40,000 hours of game shows dating back more than four decades and packaged it as Buzzr TV.
On Tuesday, FremantleMedia announced Fox’s 17 owned and operated TV stations are the first customer for an endless stream of titles including The Price Is Right, Card Sharks, To Tell The Truth, Beat The Clock, Password and versions of Family Feud hosted by Richard Dawson, Ray Combs, Louis Anderson, Richard Karn and John O’Hurley. The Steve Harvey version will eventually be added as well.
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FremantleMedia North America CEO Thom Beers said this is a way to monetize value locked up in the library, which in recent years was never tapped for more than one-third of its content.
“When I joined the company two years ago,” said Beers, “it became instantly clear that there was a huge opportunity for us to not only be a producer in the space, but also a programmer.”
What he means by “programmer” is that FremantleMedia actually chooses which game shows to include in on Buzzr, which is sold as a package delivered by satellite to stations.
The stations can also do promotions with and around Buzzr programming. “The possibilities to have fun creatively,” said Frank Cicha, senior vp of programming for Fox Television Stations, “and to make it fun for the viewer, are endless. And in a D2 landscape this competitive, the ability to control your own product is a big plus.”
Debmar-Mercury, a division of Lionsgate which does domestic syndication, brokered the deal on behalf of FremantleMedia.
The Fox stations represent about 37 percent of U.S. television homes. Debmar-Mercury will be at NATPE looking to make deals for the rest of the country.
“It will be the only game show network operating in the digital multicast universe,”, said Ira Bernstein and Mort Marcus, co-presidents of Debmar-Mercury, “providing stations with a highly marketable asset. We believe the depth of the FremantleMedia library will allow the network to secure its future, offering viewers a proven, quality and unique alternative to other digital channels.”
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