Debmar-Mercury takes ‘Hot Seat’

Company secures rights to gameshow format

Debmar-Mercury has acquired all worldwide distribution rights outside the U.K. for “Hot Seat,” a gameshow format developed by U.K. company Standing Stone Prods.

Debmar-Mercury will look for network primetime and strip-syndication opportunities in the U.S., as well as various international arrangements for the format, which is described by the distributor as featuring “four contestants striving to survive for days, weeks or even months in a dramatic life-and-death grudge match,” with question-and-answer components and “prize money that can soar into the millions.”

“We were attracted to ‘Hot Seat’ because it combines the tried-and-true Q&A format with a serialization style that will hook viewers,” said Lonnie Burstein, Debmar-Mercury’s senior VP of programming, who also noted an audience-participation component.

Standing Stone, chaired by former FremantleMedia North America CEO Tom Gutteridge, will retain U.K. distribution rights.

Debmar-Mercury, headed by co-presidents Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein, has several gameshows currently in strip syndication in the U.S., including “Trivial Pursuit: America Plays,” a collaboration with toy- and game-maker Hasbro. That show will launch Sept. 22 on stations including Fox O&Os with former “Brady Bunch” star Christopher Knight as host. The company will also launch comedy “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne” in broadcast syndication this fall.

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