[08/09/06 - 12:00 AM]
Debmar-Mercury Acquires Domestic Cable and Network Syndication Rights for ''The Surreal Life'' Family of Celebrity-Based Reality Shows

[via press release from Debmar-Mercury]

Debmar-Mercury Acquires Domestic Cable and Network Syndication Rights for ''The Surreal Life'' Family of Celebrity-Based Reality Shows

LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 9, 2006-- Programs include smash hits "The Surreal Life," "Flavor of Love," "The Surreal Life: Fame Games," "Strange Love" and "My Fair Brady"

Debmar-Mercury today announced that the company has acquired all domestic cable and network television syndication distribution rights for "The Surreal Life" family of celebrity-based reality shows from 51 Minds Entertainment. The package of programs includes VH1's hit shows "The Surreal Life," "Flavor of Love," "The Surreal Life: Fame Games," "Strange Love" and "My Fair Brady." A total of 175 half-hour episodes of the five shows will be available in fall 2007, with full seasons of each series to air sequentially under the "Surreal Life" umbrella in the same time slot. The announcement was made by Debmar-Mercury co-presidents Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein.

"The celebrity driven reality TV genre has exploded in popularity in the past few years, but the genre is not currently represented in syndication," said Bernstein. "This acquisition will fill that void and bring these hilarious shows to a wider audience."

"We were very impressed by Debmar-Mercury's success with syndicating 'South Park,'" said Mark Cronin, co-founder, 51 Minds Entertainment. "Mort and Ira are not only creative marketers, but their experience with series that don't fit the standard format proves their talent at distributing shows that are unique in the syndication market, like 'The Surreal Life' and related programs."

"'The Surreal Life' was revolutionary in being one of the first reality-based sitcoms, and all of our celeb-reality series since then have been infused with a level of comedy," said 51 Minds Entertainment co-founder Cris Abrego. "With so few comedies being offered this fall in syndication, the timing couldn't be more perfect."

"The Surreal Life" brings together six very different, larger-than-life celebrity personalities to live and work together under one roof. The show has been a smash hit since its debut on VH1 in 2002, and has spawned a group of related shows that have been equally popular, including "Flavor of Love," a dating game show starring Flavor Flav of the rap group Public Enemy. "Flavor of Love's" season one finale was the highest-rated show in VH1's history, and the second season's debut episode garnered equally impressive ratings, premiering as VH1's most watched series premiere ever.

"The incredibly strong debut of the second season of 'Flavor of Love' this week is a testament to the popularity of these shows," said Marcus. "We are thrilled to bring the 'Surreal Life' family of shows to the syndication market."

In addition to "The Surreal Life" and "Flavor of Love," the package of shows acquired by Debmar-Mercury includes "The Surreal Life: Fame Games," an all-star elimination edition of "The Surreal Life" that features previous cast members competing for a $100,000 prize; and two shows that followed the romances of celebrities who met on "The Surreal Life." "Strange Love" followed the tumultuous relationship between Flavor Flav and actress/model Brigitte Nielsen, and "My Fair Brady" documents the lives of Christopher Knight ("The Brady Bunch") and Adrianne Curry ("America's Next Top Model").

About Debmar-Mercury

Debmar-Mercury is a worldwide production and distribution media company specializing in network, cable, syndication, VOD/Pay-Per-View and Pay TV. Debmar-Mercury owns the distribution rights to the country's fastest growing off-net sitcom, "South Park," an extensive movie library featuring titles from Revolution Studios, and Tyler Perry's first-run syndicated sitcom, "House of Payne," which debuted in select markets in Summer 2006. The company also licenses the Sci-Fi Channel's hit series "Farscape," USA Network's "The Dead Zone," Lion's Gate films, and "National Geographic's Really Wild Animals." Debmar-Mercury is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Lionsgate.

About 51 Minds Entertainment

51 Minds Entertainment is a dynamic reality television production company established by Executive Producer Cris Abrego of 51 Pictures and Executive Producer Mark Cronin of Mindless Entertainment. Mark and Cris came together to create the pop culture hit "The Surreal Life," currently in its sixth season. Because of the success of this show and their previous track records, VH1 offered them an unprecedented output deal for creating original programming for the channel. Fueled by the success of the shows provided by 51 Minds, VH1 created "Celebreality" - a themed night which consists of celeb-based reality programs. The "Celebreality" 51 Minds programming launched VH1 into their highest ratings ever.

  [august 2006]  


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