BET Picks Up The Wendy Williams Show

BET Networks has picked up the cable rights to Debmar-Mercury’s The Wendy Williams Show, coinciding with the program’s national syndication debut July 13.

After having been featured in a six-week preview last summer on the Fox-owned stations in New York (WNYW), Los Angeles (KTTV), Dallas (KDFW) and Detroit (WJBK), the talk show has cleared 95 percent of the United States. BET’s reach encompasses 98 million households.

The acquisition was announced Thursday by Barbara Zaneri, BET Networks’ executive vp of programming Strategy, scheduling and acquisitions, and Debmar-Mercury co-presidents Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein.

“After two solid quarters of growth at BET, we’re thrilled that The Wendy Williams Show will be joining our line-up in July to strengthen the network’s momentum,” said Zaneri, who negotiated the deal for BETN.

In the first quarter of 2009, BET averaged 755,000 viewers in prime, an increase of 20 percent year-over-year, per Nielsen ratings data. The network also saw its delivery of viewers 18-48 increase 15 percent in the period.