Debmar-Mercury Acquires ‘Surreal Life’ Distribution Rights

Aug 9, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Independent syndicator Debmar-Mercury has acquired all domestic cable and network television syndication distribution rights for The Surreal Life” family of celebrity-based reality shows from production company 51 Minds Entertainment.

The package of programs includes VH1’s “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 run sequentially under the Surreal Life umbrella in the same time slot.

Debmar-Mercury co-Presidents Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein made the announcement Wednesday.

“‘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,” 51 Minds Entertainment co-founder Cris Abrego said in a statement. “With so few comedies being offered this fall in syndication, the timing couldn’t be more perfect.”

“The Surreal Life,” which started as a reality series on The WB before migrating to VH1 in 2002, spawned a number of spinoffs, including “Flavor of Love,” starring rapper Flavor Flav. The season-one finale of “Flavor” was VH1’s highest-rated program ever. The second-season premiere was the cabler’s most-watched debut ever.

Other titles in the package include “The Surreal Life: Fame Games,” an elimination edition of “The Surreal Life” that features previous cast members competing for a $100,000 prize.

Strange Love” followed the relationship between Flavor Flav and actress/model Brigitte Nielsen. “My Fair Brady” documented the lives of former “Brady Bunch” cast member Christopher Knight and Adrianne Curry, the winner on the first season of “America’s Next Top Model.”