Speaker Biography

Ira Bernstein

TitleCo-President, Debmar-Mercury
BioIra Bernstein is co-president of Debmar-Mercury, an innovative leading media company specializing in syndication, network, cable and ancillary markets.

Debmar-Mercury produces and distributes The Wendy Williams Show; has U.S. distribution rights to FremantleMedia North America’s Steve Harvey-hosted Family Feud; distributes Tyler Perry sitcoms House of Payne and spinoff Meet the Browns, as well as Revolution/CubeVision’s Are We There Yet? (starring Ice Cube); and sitcoms including Anger Management (starring Charlie Sheen); and has U.S. TV distribution rights to South Park. Debmar-Mercury is a wholly owned subsidiary of Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF), a premier next generation global content leader.

From 2001-03, Bernstein served as president of worldwide television distribution for Lionsgate Entertainment after operating his own domestic distribution banner, Mercury, since 1999. There, he launched a number of first-run action hours in domestic syndication, including Relic Hunter, starring Tia Carrere.

Prior to the launch of Mercury, Bernstein served as president of domestic television distribution for Rysher Entertainment, Cox Enterprise’s production and distribution studio division. Beginning in June 1993 as executive VP, Bernstein became involved in all areas of the company’s marketing and programming activities, including domestic syndication, international distribution, cable, and home video and advertising sales. In December 1994, following his promotion to president, he oversaw the development, sales and marketing of programming to the domestic television marketplace. During his six-year tenure there, Rysher successfully launched seven action hours and three strips.

Earlier in his career, Bernstein served as VP of advertiser-supported and cable programming at Reeves Entertainment from 1990-1993. At Reeves, Bernstein was involved in a variety of international and cable co-productions. He also packaged the special We’re Expecting for ABC, bringing Procter & Gamble and Prudential Insurance on board to sponsor the acclaimed program.

From 1984-90, Bernstein served as executive VP/director of advertising sales for LBS Communications, where he oversaw in excess of $100 million in annual billings. During his tenure there, he was involved in bringing such hit programming as Fame, 21 Jump Street and Family Feud into the syndication marketplace.

Bernstein worked in the television department of ad agencies Ogilvy & Mather, McCann Erikson and Kenyon and Eckhardt from 1981-84. In his final year there, he packaged The Last Days of Patton, starring George C. Scott, for CBS. The movie was financed and sponsored by Chrysler.