“I could not be happier with the results of our test and the support from the FOX Stations and the Debmar-Mercury team,” said Packer in a written statement. “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.”
Central Ave is hosted by BET’s Julissa Bermudez and Olympic track star and five-time gold medalist Sanya Richards-Ross. It aired from Atlanta and featured segments produced in New York and Los Angeles. Debmar-Mercury co-presidents Ira Bernstein and Mort Marcus were behind the success of the five-week test run before Fox agreed to pick it up for distribution.
“We knew from the minute Central Ave debuted that it is a winner and our partners at FOX agreed,” Bernstein and Marcus said. “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.”
Packer is the creator and serves as an executive producer of the new magazine series in order to deliver relevant entertainment and pop culture news through a provocative, socially conscious, and diverse lens. The new season will debut in September.
Frank Cicha, EVP of Programming for FOX Television Stations said, “I thought the test was very well executed, but let’s face it, this is as close as I’ll ever get to hanging out with Will Packer on the weekend.”
Co-Creator Monique Chenault will serve as showrunner of Central Ave and, together with Packer and Will Packer Media’s Kelly Smith, executive producer. Will Packer Media and distributor Debmar-Mercury co-produce the series.
Debmar-Mercury co-President Mort Marcus on the addition of Central Ave, last November told Broadcasting + Cable: “There’s no need for another Extra, Entertainment Tonight or Access Hollywood. We believe there is room for another entertainment magazine but it needs to come from a different point of view.”
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