In an unusual move, Lionsgate-owned Debmar-Mercury is adding two months of original episodes to the fourth season of The Wendy Williams Show, extending production through June and July. The move is aimed at keeping the momentum of the daytime syndicated talk show, which just posted ratings highs and the biggest gains of any syndie talk show during the February sweeps. Wendy finished as the fourth-highest-rated metered market talk show among women 25-54, averaging a 1.1/7 during the month. That was up 47% in the demo from the November 2012 sweep. The ratings climb started with the expansion in mid-December of the Wendy fan-favorite “Hot Topics” segment. “I have the greatest fans in daytime TV, and I’m so excited to be giving fans more fun throughout the summer,” Williams said. “If it were up to me, we’d have a show every day, all year long!” While Wendy has aired occasional originals in July, this will be the show’s first all-original summer run since its six-week test on the Fox stations in 2008.
Photo Credit: Karl Giant for The Wendy Williams Show
Talk show host Wendy Williams and her manager-husband Kevin Hunter have formed Wendy Williams Prods, a production company that will focus on development and production of reality, game and talk shows for the cable and broadcast markets. Lionsgate-owned Debmar-Mercury, producer-distributor of Williams’ nationally syndicated The Wendy Williams Show, will be a partner in the new company, which has tapped veteran producer Lisa Knapp as SVP Development. Williams will serve as executive producer of the projects developed through her company and may also have an on-camera role in some. “This is a dream come true,” she said. “As anyone who watches my show knows, I am a huge fan of all reality and game shows, and know a thing or two about talk.” Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: It would be the biggest star pairing on a TV series in a long long time. Kelsey Grammer and Martin Lawrence are considering pairing up to star in and produce a multi-camera comedy together for Lionsgate TV and its subsidiary Debmar-Mercury. We hear it started with a November meeting right before Thanksgiving between Grammer, Lawrence and Lionsgate where the two actors showed great chemistry. The pair are repped by different agencies: Grammer by WME, and Lawrence by UTA. But Grammer’s financial settlement with recently divorced wife Camille wasn’t yet finalized and he ordered everybody not to discuss the project until it was. (We hear the concern was that Camille might try to lay claim to the project. She reportedly owned half of Grammnet Productions with its television shows including Girlfriends, Medium, and The Game and worked as a creator, writer, and executive producer within the production company.) That financial settlement finalized right before Christmas and now the project is on a fast track. In the past few weeks, the studio has quietly sent out feelers to writers. In coming weeks, the studio will start meeting with potential creators/showrunners to pin down a concept for the buddy series which sources say may have an “odd couple” feel. Read More »
George Lopez is returning to the family sitcom genre. I’ve learned that Lopez, star, co-creator and executive producer of multi-camera sitcom George Lopez, which ran on ABC for six seasons and 120 episodes, has closed a deal in principal with … Read More »
Distributor Debmar-Mercury has renewed Family Feud through 2015 in more than 75% of the U.S. on stations that belong to Fox, Sinclair, CBS, Tribune, Cox, Capital, NBC, Sunbeam, Newport and Belo broadcast groups. The show, hosted by Steve … Read More »
Charlie Sheen’s ‘Anger Management’ Wraps Series Of Pitch Meetings; Who’s Interested?
Charlie Sheen’s new sitcom Anger Management has landed at FX with an initial order for 10 episodes for a summer 2012 launch. If successful, that will be followed by a 90-episode order by FX as well as broadcast syndication launch by distributor Debmar-Mercury in fall 2014. After a marathon of pitches to broadcast and cable networks earlier this month followed by a short window of intense negotiations, the direct-to-series project has found a home at the cable network that already carries reruns of Sheen’s previous series, Two And A Half Men, to great ratings success. The cable network also owns the TV rights to the 2003 Jack Nicholson-Adam Sandler movie Anger Management — about a mild-mannered man (Sandler) ordered to attend group anger-management sessions led by a volatile therapist (Nicholson) – on which the series is loosely based. Sheen plays a version of Nicholson’s character on the show, produced by Lionsgate TV and distributed by sibling Debmar-Mercury. Joe Roth, who produced the movie, is producing the series with Sheen, who retains a significant ownership stake, and The Drew Carey Show creator Bruce Helford, who serves as writer/showrunner. Production is slated to begin in early 2012. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: As the traditional broadcast pitch season is winding down, one of the most talked-about projects has hit the broadcast/cable marketplace. Star-producer Charlie Sheen has been out in full force pitching his new series Anger Management along with producer Lionsgate TV and distributor Debmar-Mercury over the past two weeks. There has been a healthy level of interest in the project, with a number of networks taking the pitch. I’ve learned that the list included broadcasters NBC, Fox and ABC as well as cable networks FX, USA Network, Comedy Central and TV Land and streaming company Netflix. I hear Sheen was present at all the meetings, which were held on both the East and West coasts. “It was a great pitch, very polished,” a person who has seen the presentation said, with Sheen described as “very buttoned up and passionate.” What is being pitched is a series version of the 2003 Jack Nicholson-Adam Sandler movie Anger Management about a mild-mannered man (Sandler) ordered to attend group anger-management sessions led by a volatile therapist (Nicholson), with Sheen playing a version of Nicholson’s character and The Drew Carey Show creator Bruce Helford writing/executive producing.
Word is cable networks FX, USA, Comedy Central or sibling TV Land are a possibility, along with Netflix. Getting meetings with broadcast networks was a coup for the producers, but they were always considered a long shot because of the type of deal Debmar-Mercury is seeking for the series: a trial 10-episode run that, if ratings guarantees are met, triggers a 90-episode pickup. (According to sources, the sizes of the orders in the two stages are not set in stone and Debmar-Mercury may be open to tweaking them, but the commitment is expected to remain very significant, especially for a broadcast network.) There had been talk about Fox possibly teaming with FX and NBC with sibling USA for such an arrangement, but that appears highly unlikely. The only pairing that seems possible is one between Comedy Central and TV Land, both part of MTV Networks Entertainment Group headed by Doug Herzog. Comedy Central, of course, has an in with Sheen as it did the Roast Of Charlie Sheen last month. Given its success, Comedy Central seems like a natural home for Anger Management — though, according to an industry source, Herzog had been joking privately that he wants the bad Charlie Sheen, not the nice one, a reference to Sheen’s recent image rehabilitation as he dropped the rants of warlocks and tiger blood, adopted a conciliatory tone towards his former employers at Two And A Half Men and settled his $100 million lawsuit against them. But while bad boy Charlie Sheen has entertainment value, even cleaned-up Charlie Sheen is probably difficult to insure, and the off-the-rails one last spring is certainly impossible to. Read More »
Apparently Charlie Sheen got the soul searching and remorse out of his system on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno. It was all fluff in the promo clips of his Monday guest shot on The Wendy Williams Show just sent out by Debmar-Mercury. The host does get Sheen to show … Read More »
Charlie Sheen’s media blitz on Sept. 19, the day of the Two and a Half Men season premiere, continues. In addition to his Comedy Central roast airing that night, Sheen will appear on The Wendy Williams Show earlier that day … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Charlie Sheen Teaming With ‘Drew Carey’s Bruce Helford On ‘Anger Management’?
EXCLUSIVE: I’ve learned that The Drew Carey Show creator Bruce Helford has entered negotiations to write, executive produce and run Charlie Sheen’s new comedy series Anger Management. Helford was one of several veteran comedy showrunners that met with Lionsgate TV and producer Joe Roth on the project and emerged as a leading candidate for the job about two weeks ago. Helford has been considered a strong choice to create a starring vehicle for Sheen, having done the same in the past for Drew Carey with ABC’s The Drew Carey Show and George Lopez with the comedian’s eponymous ABC sitcom. He will develop Anger Management based on the 2003 Jack Nicholson-Adam Sandler movie, with Sheen set to play an updated version of Nicholson’s character, a volatile anger management therapist. Once there is a showrunner on board, Lionsgate is expected to take out the project to networks and station groups in search of a buyer. Read More »
TBS can now officially be renamed The Tyler Perry Network. TBS has given a straight-to-series order to a third sitcom from Perry and his Tyler Perry Studios. The network , which carries Perry’s House of Payne and Meet the Browns, … Read More »
Debmar-Mercury and the Fox TV Stations are setting up another gradual rollout of a daily syndicated talk show, Father Albert. This summer, the daily one-hour talk show featuring advice from radio-television talk show host, author and priest Father Alberto Cutié, known as “Father Oprah” will get a preview on the … Read More »
News is coming in from Miami where the National Association of Television Program Executives’ annual confab kicked off today:
Debmar-Mercury is taking Raycom Media and ITV Studios America’s weekend lifestyle newsmagazine America Now and turning it in a daily syndicated strip … Read More »
Debmar-Mercury’s The Wendy Williams Show will kick off its third season in September following renewals in more than 70% of the U.S., including FOX, CBS, NBC, Tribune, Lin, Cox, Raycom and Meredith stations. The cash-plus-barter renewal deals, with Debmar-Mercury retaining four minutes per hour of national advertising inventory, follow a … Read More »
Debmar-Mercury has acquired domestic distribution rights to hit Fox reality series Hell’s Kitchen in a deal with its producer ITV Studios. The pact marks the third pairing between Debmar-Mercury and ITV Studios this year. The two companies are also collaborating on the development of the syndicated talk panel show, … Read More »