Fox Corp.’s TV station division is bringing back Central Ave, a show from Debmar-Mercury and Will Packer, the film and TV producer known for hits like Girls Trip, saying it fared well in a test last November.
The Atlanta-based show aims to deliver entertainment and pop culture news through a provocative, socially conscious and diverse lens. Beginning in September, it will air weekly, with two half-hour episodes that stations will be able to air together as a full hour on the weekends. The test run positioned Central Ave as a weekday strip, but the new plan is to give it more room to stand out on the weekend.
The announcement came on the eve of NATPE in Miami, which runs January 21 to 23.
“We knew from the minute Central Ave debuted that it is a winner and our partners at Fox agreed,” Debmar-Mercury Co-Presidents Ira Bernstein and Mort Marcus said. “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 he was pleased with the execution of the November test. “But let’s face it,” he joked, “this is as close as I’ll ever get to hanging out with Will Packer on the weekend.”
Packer added, “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.”
Julissa Bermudez (106 & Park) and Sanya Richards-Ross, a former Olympic track star and five-time gold medalist, are hosting the show. The producers said they are the first women of color to co-host a magazine series.
Co-Creator Monique Chenault will serve as showrunner of Central Ave and executive produce along with Packer and Will Packer Media’s Kelly Smith.