BET Networks Acquires Debmar-Mercury's 'THE WENDY WILLIAMS SHOW' for Season Two Domestically; Secures International Channels Rights
Talk Show Set to Debut on BET in the United Kingdom, the Middle East and Africa
NEW YORK, June 1 -- BET Networks has acquired Debmar-Mercury's THE WENDY WILLIAMS SHOW for a second season in the U.S. this fall and has agreed to air the popular talk show on its international networks in the United Kingdom, Africa and the Middle East in 54 countries starting in July 2010.
Barbara Zaneri, BET Networks' Executive Vice President of Program Strategy, Scheduling and Acquisitions; Michael D. Armstrong, SVP/GM, BET International; and Debmar-Mercury Co-Presidents Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein made the announcement today.
"Wendy has been an important element in the network's success this year and we are thrilled to have her talk show back for a second season," said Zaneri, who brought the series to BET in July 2009. "We also believe Wendy's universal appeal will translate to all corners of the world, making her a key player for BET's international networks as well."
"The addition of the Wendy Williams show to BET's international weekday lineup further positions us as one of the best entertainment channels available," explained Michael Armstrong, SVP/GM, BET International. "Wendy has the uncanny ability to make both her guests and viewers feel like they've known her all their lives. In a classic Wendyism, BET International's viewers will soon make Wendy a 'friend in their head.'"
"We are thrilled to have Wendy back on BET for a second season in the U.S., enhancing our already strong lineup of TV stations that have renewed the show, and to expand our relationship with BET to new continents," Marcus and Bernstein said. "Wendy has proven to be successful wherever it has aired and we are excited that it will now reach an entirely new international audience."
The talk show has also been renewed on stations covering more than 80% of the U.S., including 20 of the top-20 and 39 of the top-40 markets.
Taped live in New York, The Wendy Williams Show combines the latest buzz and hot topics with a diverse mix of celebrities from film, music, sports and television.
Williams' bold personality, and irreverent and witty commentary on life, has made for a groundbreaking talk format that is sure to entertain viewers and quench their thirst for honest, enlightening and entertaining television. A successful author and former radio personality, Williams offers real and often tough love advice during her "Ask Wendy" segments; provides her take on the latest headlines during the always surprising "Hot Topics"; and gets up close and personal with headline makers, celebrities and real people. Her no-holds-barred approach and love of life and laughter shine through in every hour.
About BET Networks:
BET Networks, a division of Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), is the nation's leading provider of quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs television programming for the African-American audience. The primary BET channel reaches more than 90 million households and can be seen in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom and sub-Saharan Africa. BET is the dominant African-American consumer brand with a diverse group of business extensions: BET.com, a leading Internet destination for Black entertainment, music, culture, and news; CENTRIC, a 24-hour entertainment network targeting the 25- to 54-year-old African-American audience; BET Digital Networks - BET Gospel and BET Hip Hop, attractive alternatives for cutting-edge entertainment tastes; BET Home Entertainment, a collection of BET-branded offerings for the home environment including DVDs and video-on-demand; BET Event Productions, a full-scale event management and production company with festivals and live events spanning the globe; BET Mobile, which provides ringtones, games and video content for wireless devices; and BET International, which operates BET in the United Kingdom, Middle East & Africa and oversees the extension of BET network programming for global distribution.
About BET International:
With a mission to build a global distribution footprint for the BET brand, since 2008 BET International has launched and expanded a 24-hour BET branded network in over 54 countries throughout the UK, Middle East & Africa. Additionally, BET International licenses BET content to television broadcasters on multiple platforms throughout the world - all to serve consumers of black culture globally.
Debmar-Mercury, a worldwide media company specializing in syndication, network, cable and ancillary markets, produces and distributes The Wendy Williams Show; distributes Tyler Perry's House of Payne and spinoff Meet the Browns; distributes a new, untitled comedy debuting in 2010 from Gary Sanchez Productions' Will Ferrell, Adam McKay and Chris Henchy; distributes Are We There Yet?, a new sitcom debuting in 2010 from Revolution Studios' Joe Roth, Cube Vision's Ice Cube and Matt Alvarez, and Show-Runner Ali LeRoi; distributes strips Family Feud, South Park and True Hollywood Story, as well as the weekly Deadliest Catch; and a movie library featuring titles from Revolution Studios and Lionsgate. Debmar-Mercury is a wholly owned subsidiary of Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF), the leading next-generation studio.