Banijay Launch Winners Unveiled

8 March, 2024

Coinciding with International Women’s Day, media and entertainment powerhouse, Banijay, today confirms Amber Kane and Emily Wilson as joint winners of its inaugural Banijay Launch program. Kane, a freelancer from Australia, scooped the prize for her high-octane variety talent concept, Double Act; and Wilson, for her original psychological dating format, Can’t Buy My Love. Selecting two owing to the fierce competition amongst the four finalists, the judges commended both entries as “fantastic ideas with significant international appeal.”

Designed to exclusively support women creators with promising unscripted formats, Banijay Launch was unveiled at MIPCOM 2023 and received an extraordinary 500+ applications from 30+ territories. Spanning Australia (Amber Kane), UK (Emily Wilson), France (Yasmina Salmandjee), and Denmark (Lisbet Winther), the respective finalists assembled in London on Tuesday 6 March for the grand finale, where they pitched their ideas to an esteemed jury comprising Endemol Shine North America CEO, Sharon Levy; Banijay Chief Content Officer, Development, James Townley; Banijay Chief Business Officer, Fred Balmary; Banijay Iberia CEO, Pilar Blasco; and Founder and CEO of Everywoman Studios, Abby Greensfelder. But there could only be… two winners!

Kane’s idea was credited by the judges for its brilliant reality elements, highly-clipable offering, and the way in which it taps into the zeitgeist of the “mash-up” in a spectacular way to create a new competition show. Elsewhere, Wilson’s was enjoyed by judges for its twist and turns, strong format pillars, brandable moments, and original “gifting” concept everyone can identify with.

Sharon Levy, CEO, Endemol Shine North America comments: “Banijay Launch was envisioned as a bridge for women to gain access to our industry, and based on the sheer volume and quality of pitches we received, its time was long overdue. Mirroring the global reach of Banijay, we heard from applicants far and wide, and I hope the result illustrates just how strong the four finalists were. The two fantastic women who share the ‘winner’ title had unbelievably competitive ideas that were well-pitched, original, and highly sellable. The ambassadors and Banijay at-large feel fortunate to continue collaborating with them to bring their amazing concepts to life. We are all so proud to have played a role in opening the door to the next generation of talent, and with the study results from the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media imminent, we hope to keep doing more to foster a wider community of women in non-scripted.”

Amber Kane says: “I still can’t quite believe it. I had been working on Double Act for six years and it always felt taking it to screen may be impossible given the continued challenges for women in the content industry. However, Banijay Launch truly opened the door for me. Working with the talented Amelia Fisk, I have not only strengthened my idea but also my confidence in pitching, and I look forward to continuing to partner with her, and Banijay’s Creative Networks, in hopefully landing my idea on-screen. I am hugely thankful for the opportunity and feel inspired to keep going with creating great formats for the world to enjoy.”

Emily Wilson says: “As a huge reality TV fan, it was always my dream to create my very own unscripted format that could transcend audiences across the globe. In Can’t Buy My Love I feel I have crafted an original show that I truly believe has all the elements for success, and with the help of Banijay, and my brilliant mentor Claire O’Donohoe, could tap into the buyer demand for social experiments everywhere. I’m hugely grateful for this life-changing experience and look forward to seeing where this opportunity can take me in a career capacity.”

Addressing gender equality by discovering and incubating untapped women talent, Banijay Launch was initiated by Levy, co-led by Townley, and supported by the group’s network of creative ambassadors who nurtured the finalists in developing their bold new formats from concept to pitch, with the aim of the winning ideas eventually landing on screen. It was inspired by the Propelle program, a female-focused accelerator initiative created and developed in 2020 by Everywoman Studios’ CEO, Abby Greensfelder. Both Kane and Wilson will now work with their ambassadors and Banijay’s Creative Networks to develop their ideas further, and the group hopes to unveil both ideas fully at launch.

Coinciding with the program, Banijay Americas announced the commission of a first-of-its-kind study with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, in partnership with Everywoman Studios. The findings of the ground-breaking study, which investigates women’s inclusion in creative leadership roles in unscripted production across Brazil, U.K., U.S., and France, will be unveiled at an event in Los Angeles in May. Further news will follow in the coming weeks.