EXCLUSIVE: NATPE 2011: Debmar, Fox to test Father Cutie this summer

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Debmar-Mercury this summer will partner with Fox Television Stations to test a one-hour talker featuring Father Alberto Cutie, a headline-making former priest who departed the Catholic Church after he was discovered having sex on a Miami beach with the woman who is now his wife and mother of his child.

"Father Albert's wide cross-over appeal, incredible story, encouraging advice, open mind and charismatic personality make him a natural fit for daytime television. We are excited to provide English-language audiences with the opportunity to discover why Father Albert has struck such a chord over the past decade with millions of fans throughout the U.S., Canada, Spain and Latin America," said Debmar-Mercury co-presidents Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein in a statement.

"This really completes our roster with Debmar-Mercury: Tyler Perry, Wendy Williams, 'South Park,' Jeremy Kyle and, now, a minister. Seriously, daytime television could use a fresh face and a distinctive voice. We believe we've found one in Father Albert Cutie, whose unique perspective makes him perfect for this role," said Frank Cicha, senior vice president of programming for Fox Television Group in a statement.

Father Cutie is the latest test from Debmar-Mercury, who ran a three-week talk-show test with Fran Drescher in December. Debmar-Mercury and Fox decided that show was not a keeper, but Marcus continues to believe strongly in testing new programs, as he attested on a panel at NATPE on Monday afternoon.

While Father Cutie is perhaps best known for that infamous beach incident, he's also gained worldwide recognition as the first priest to host a secular daytime talk show. Padre Alberto ran on Telemundo in 1999. Three years later, Telemundo International featured Cutie in a weekly talk show called America en Vivo. His self-help book, Real Life, Real Love, became a Spanish-language market best-seller and earned him the nickname "Father Oprah."

Cutie is now married to Ruhama, whom he wed in the Espiscopal Church, in which Cutie is now a priest. The couple had a daughter, Victoria, in December. The priest, author and talk-show host was at NATPE on Tuesday morning to meet prospective clients and reporters.

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