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Gannett, Lionsgate's Debmar-Mercury Team Up on Interactive Shows

6/18/2014

By Tony Maglio
TheWrap

Gannett Broadcasting and Debmar-Mercury have formed a partnership to develop, produce, test and distribute first-run broadcast series with a focus on interactivity.

Gannett Broadcasting operates the largest independent TV station group of major network affiliates in the top-25 U.S. television markets. The agreement gives the company an ability to create and test first-run syndicated television programming across all genres on many of its stations beginning in 2015.

Excluding owner-operators, Gannett Broadcasting is both the No. 1 NBC and CBS affiliate group, with stations covering nearly a third of the country.

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Lionsgate-owned Debmar-Mercury — an independent media company responsible for many 10-90 sitcoms, talk and game shows — gains distribution for its shows from a top broadcaster.

The partnership has been structured with a focus on flexibility, the companies touted in a joint press release. When Gannett and Debmar-Mercury agree on the concept and timing of their first project together, they will be able to test the series on various Gannett Broadcasting stations and at various times throughout the year. The on-air tests will all be of various durations.

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"We're thrilled to be partnering with the talented team at Debmar-Mercury to produce the programming our viewers want," said Dave Lougee, president of Gannett Broadcasting. "We will work together to design shows to take advantage of how television has changed and create a new genre of syndicated programming. With more than 40 stations across the country, we will have the ability to experiment, test and refine programs throughout the development process. Local broadcasters, like Gannett, have an opportunity to tap into the organic relationship between television viewing and social media."

Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein, co-presidents of Debmar-Mercury commented, "We are thrilled to be partnering with a premier station group like Gannett. With its strong roster of major-market affiliates and cutting-edge digital capabilities, we will be able to jointly create programming that is designed to meet both Gannett's needs and those of network affiliates throughout the country. We are big believers in the on-air testing model, because it gives stations concrete information on which to base their buying decisions before making long-term commitments to a series."

The post Gannett, Lionsgate's Debmar-Mercury Team Up on Interactive Shows appeared first on TheWrap.

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