Originally posted Friday, November 8, 2019 by RODNEY HOfirstname.lastname@example.org on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog
Atlanta producer Will Packer has already created comedies, dramas, serious miniseries, documentaries and reality TV. Now he’s testing an entertainment newsmagazine with Fox Television Studios.
In eight markets including Atlanta’s Fox 5 at 7 p.m., “Central Ave.” focuses on fewer stories than its rivals, delving deeper into particular issues such as social media shaming, hot mics, the opioid crisis and on-line dating. It debuted on Monday and will run five weeks.
With Packer’s connections, “Central Ave.” received exclusive access to John Witherspoon’s funeral featuring David Letterman, George Wallace and D.L. Hughley. Witherspoon, an actor and comic known best for his role in the “Fridays” movies, he was especially beloved in the black community.
“I think there’s an opportunity in this space to do something different,” Packer said in a recent interview. “I’m hopeful Atlanta will be a good market for us.”
BET’s Julissa Bermudez and Olympic track star and five-time gold medalist Sanya Richards-Ros are hosts with multiple correspondents on the road. By having two women of color as hosts, Packer said, “it gives us a different lens and perspective.” After the Witherspoon package, for instance, both were offered up their own favorite Witherspoon moments.
In the same episode Wednesday, the show also did an extensive piece on Dolly Parton, a well-loved Southern figure who will be co-hosting the CMA Awards and has a major Netflix anthology series “Heartstrings” (shot in Atlanta) coming up.
“Central Ave” is shooting at Georgia Public Broadcasting in Midtown. “We are acknowledging Atlanta” by basing it here, Packer said. “You saw it with the opening of Tyler Perry Studios. We are now one of the entertainment capitals of the country.”
Other markets where it’s airing: New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Washington D.C., Houston, Phoenix, Detroit and Minneapolis.
On Fox 5, “Dish Nation” is being temporarily subbed out at 7 p.m. but still airs at midnight.
“Central Ave,” 7 p.m. weekdays, Fox 5
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