‘Central Ave’ Returning After Test As Weekly

Fox Stations and Debmar-Mercury will roll out a revamped magazine show in September, offering two original weekly half-hour episodes. The move follows a test run during the November 2019 sweeps.

Fox Television Stations, Lionsgate’s Debmar-Mercury and producer Will Packer (Night School, Girls Trip) are teaming to bring back Central Ave in September 2020 as a new weekly, nationally syndicated format.

The Atlanta-based series, which Debmar-Mercury and Fox tested during the 2019 November sweeps as a weekday strip will return next season as two original weekly half-hour episodes. It will be produced as an hour, split in two, that stations can run back to back or separate. And it is going to be double run so either two hours, or four half hours per weekend — two originals and two reruns per weekend.

“We knew from the minute Central Ave debuted that it is a winner and our partners at Fox agreed,” said Debmar-Mercury Co-Presidents Ira Bernstein and Mort Marcus. “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.”

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.”

Packer said: “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.”

According to the companies, “Packer has taken an entirely new approach to the magazine genre with Central Ave by lending an authentic voice to the pop culture, hip-hop and urban worlds. He created and served as an executive producer of the new magazine series in a quest to blaze trails and set trends by delivering relevant entertainment and pop culture news through a provocative, socially conscious and diverse lens.”

BRAND CONNECTIONS

Julissa Bermudez (106 & Park) and former Olympic track star Sanya Richards-Ross (a five-time gold medalist) became the first women of color to co-host a magazine series.

Co-Creator Monique Chenault will serve as showrunner of Central Ave together with Packer and Will Packer Media’s Kelly Smith, executive producer. Will Packer Media and Debmar-Mercury co-produce the series.


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