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, The Chefs, and a new U.S. first-run version of the highest-rated U.K. daytime talker, The Jeremy Kyle Show. Hell’s Kitchen is produced by ITV Studios in association with A. Smith & Co. Prods.
Fox’s reality guru Mike Darnell is closing in on a 20-year anniversary at the network. Darnell has inked a new three-year contract to continue as president of alternative programming. That will bring his tenure at Fox to a whooping 19 years. (He joined Fox in 1994). Darnell, who is now shepherding American Idol‘s transition to a post-Simon Cowell era, appears to have renewed his deal quietly several weeks ago, and the extension is keeping things status quo for the reality master. At his previous renegotiation with Fox in 2007, Darnell was upped to president, becoming the the first alternative department head to hold a president title. He was also formally given creative control over Fox’s unscripted development and authority to greenlight pilots, presentations and specials. At the time, he remained at Fox after fielding offers from seven suitors, including NBC, Endemol USnd RDF USA, to join them as a producer.