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Fox TV Stations to Test ‘Central Ave’ Newsmagazine Series From Will Packer

Will Packer
Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Producer Will Packer and Lionsgate’s Debmar-Mercury have teamed with Fox Television Stations for a test run of a newsmagazine focused on entertainment and pop culture.

Central Ave” is billed as targeting a multicultural audience with reporting delivered through a “provocative, socially conscious and diverse lens,” per Fox.

Julissa Bermudez (BET’s “106 & Park”) and Olympic track star Sanya Richards-Ross are set as co-hosts of the half-hour strip that will originate live from Atlanta. The show is set for a five-week run beginning in November. Fox aims to capitalize on the audience for its World Series coverage in early November by airing “Central Ave” in early evening time slots around the fall classic.

“Central Ave” will air on a select number of Fox’s 28 O&O stations.

” ‘Central Ave’ will stand out in the newsmag space by presenting a unique first-person perspective on the culture-driving, trendsetting topics that mainstream audiences have a voracious appetite for,” Packer said. “Being fronted by fresh voices that happen to be diverse and female gives us license to do stories in a way no one else can.”

Will Packer Media and Debmar-Mercury will co-produce the series. Monique Chenault (“Divorce Court”) will serve as showrunner and exec produce with Packer and Kelly Smith.

“Central Ave” is part of Fox TV Stations’ effort to experiment with a range of new formats and concepts as it hunts for elusive hits in daytime and early fringe. Fox has several syndication prospects primed for test runs this year.

The station group has sought to work with producers from outside the traditional syndication and daytime arena. Packer has become one of the industry’s busiest film and TV producers during the past decade with such hits as 2017’s “Girls Trip,” 2014’s “Ride Along” and the 2016 remake of “Roots” for History.

“We can’t wait to work with someone this successful who, when you ask how many syndicated strips they’ve worked on before, the answer is ‘none,’ ” said Frank Cicha, Fox TV Stations’ exec VP of programming. “I have to believe we’re going to get something fresh here. Will Packer doesn’t know what he can’t do in this space. That, to me, is invigorating.”

Fox is in the market for a newsy half-hour strip now that the company plans to pull the plug later this year on “Page Six TV” after a two-season run. Debmar-Mercury co-presidents Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein hailed Packer’s “entirely new and vibrant vision” for the show.

“We are excited to fill a need in the marketplace for a magazine show like this by partnering once again with our good friends at the Fox stations and a team headed by an A-list film producer of the caliber of Will,” the pair said.

(Pictured: Will Packer)