Courtroom TV queen Judge Judy Sheindlin is expanding into the game show space with iWitness (working title), a new half-hour syndicated game show from her Queen Bee Productions, FremantleMedia North America and Debmar-Mercury, which is set for a six-week test run on the Fox stations this summer.
Hosted by comedian John Henson (Wipeout, Talk Soup), the syndicated series will launch July 10 on select Fox O&Os in top markets, including New York.
Created by Sheindlin, each episode will feature three contestants facing off to test their powers of observation. Their ability to recall what they’ve just witnessed will be tested through video clips and images spanning the media landscape. The winner will have a chance to advance to the final round and compete for a $20,000 grand prize.
Scott St. John (Match Game, Celebrity Name Game, Deal or No Deal) will serve as showrunner of iWitness which, in success, FremantleMedia North America and Lionsgate-owned Debmar-Mercury would launch nationally in fall 2018. Debmar-Mercury would handle domestic distribution and FremantleMedia international distribution.
iWitness falls outside of the mega deal Sheindlin has with CBS TV Distribution for court TV shows. In addition to her long-running Judge Judy, which continues to be the No. 1 syndicated program in the U.S. and is licensed in 149 international markets around the world, under the CBS deal Sheindlin’s Queen Bee with her producing partner Casey Barber co-produces Hot Bench, now in its third season. It was co-created by Sheindlin who, prior to helming Judge Judy, was the supervising judge in New York Family Court.
“iWitness is a compelling game for those from 5-95,” said Sheindlin. “I’m so thrilled to embark on a new adventure with such fabulous partners. A special thanks to my friends at Fox for giving us a platform.”
Said Frank Cicha, SVP of programming for Fox Television Stations, “Fremantle and Debmar bring us Family Feud, Judy Sheindlin is all over our stations with her smash program. Let’s go!”
iWitness marks the second major collaboration between FremantleMedia North America, which is behind hit game shows such as The Price Is Right, Let’s Make A Deal, Match Game, To Tell The Truth and Celebrity Family Feud, and Debmar-Mercury, joining the top-rated game show in syndication, Family Feud, which FMNA produces and Debmar-Mercury distributes.
“The best game show formats are simple, entertaining and engaging, said Jennifer Mullin, Co-CEO, FremantleMedia North America. “This series, created by Judge Judy, offers just that.”
This is the latest Debmar-Mercury project to get a summer test run on the Fox stations, a model the two companies introduced with the syndicated talk show Wendy.
“Judy’s phenomenal track record of success in television and on the bench has absolutely nothing to do with luck,” said Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein, co-presidents of Debmar-Mercury. “She is brilliant and has struck once again with her latest ingenious concept – a highly addictive and entertaining game show format that we believe has strong potential to live on for many years to come.”
One of the handful new syndicated shows getting national launch this fall, Page Six TV, started with a text run on the Fox stations last summer.