Tag Archive: James Townley

  1. Banijay Unveils Compelling Slate Ahead of London TV Screenings

    Comments Off on Banijay Unveils Compelling Slate Ahead of London TV Screenings

    Media and entertainment powerhouse, Banijay, today announces a compelling offering for its dedicated London TV Screenings event – Banijay @ BAFTA.

    Hitting the 2024 line-up is the highly-anticipated high-end scripted series Wolf Hall: The Mirror and the Light; and premium documentary Front Row. Elsewhere, the powerhouse will also be celebrating travelling formats with adventure reality, The Summit; and spin-off, Deal or No Deal Island. Packed with distinct, high-quality programming across all genres, the group’s event will span three sessions on Wednesday 28 February.

    On the scripted front, Banijay’s premium offering includes UK dramas Wolf Hall: The Mirror and the Light for the BBC and Masterpiece PBS, based on the final novel of Hilary Mantel’s multi award-winning trilogy; The Hardacres for Channel 5; Steven Knight’s This Town for the BBC; Welsh drama The One That Got Away (Cleddau) for S4C; and Invisible Boys for Stan. Buyers can also expect a preview of eagerly-awaited second seasons of Marie Antoinette for Canal+ and the BBC, and Rogue Heroes for the BBC and MGM+.

    Supercharging its documentary offering, Front Row takes centre stage with Anatomy of a Murder and Four Kings for Prime Video.

    To complement the scripted and documentary offering, Banijay will showcase a blend of fresh and highly-entertaining formats including adrenaline-fuelled travelling success The Summit for Nine Network; new spin-off, Deal or No Deal Island created for NBC; adventure reality format and ratings winner Shaolin Heroes for TV2; recent Channel 4 factual reality VOD hit Banged Up; innovative game show Upside Down for RTL4 and The Fortune Hotel for ITV1 and ITVX. A light will also be shone on global superbrands and prized returning formats like Survivor, Big Brother, Star Academy, and reality formats Love Triangle and The Fifty.

    Cathy Payne, CEO at Banijay Rights says:This year’s line-up for Banijay @ BAFTA truly illuminates the breadth of our catalogue and ability to showcase outstanding content across multiple genres. From high-end dramas to acclaimed factual series, we look forward to coming together later this month to celebrate great talent, captivating storytelling and stand-out IP. We really do have something for everyone…”

    James Townley, Chief Content Officer, Development and Lucas Green, Chief Content Officer, Operations at Banijay comment: “The London TV Screenings provides an incredible opportunity for Banijay to demonstrate its commitment to delivering exciting emerging IP as well as tried and tested formats and reboots, which continue to compel audiences globally. From Shaolin Heroes to The Summit, and iconic format Deal or No Deal, we are sure to enthral buyers seeking fresh, innovative, and proven formats.”

    For its scripted slate, Banijay Rights is highlighting Wolf Hall: The Mirror and the Light, a Playground and Company Pictures co-production directed by Peter Kosminsky, and adapted for television by Peter Straughan, which follows Thomas Cromwell as he navigates the moral complexities of the Tudor court following the execution of Anne Boleyn. Another period drama from Playground in association with Screen Ireland, Red Berry Productions and Newgrange Pictures is new returnable six-part series –The Hardacres- based on CL Skelton’s novel series, The Hardacre Saga.

    Meanwhile, from Kudos and Nebulastar, and co-produced with Mercury Studios, in association with Kudos North, Stigma Films, and Nick Angel for the BBC, the much-anticipated This Town tells the story of an extended family and four young people who are drawn into the world of the ska movement and two-tone music.

    BlackLight Television (a Banijay UK company), in collaboration with Banijay Rights and Creative Wales for S4C, are delving into Welsh drama with The One That Got Away (Cleddau), which combines a gripping murder mystery with an electrifying love story.

    Crossing over to Australia, Invisible Boys from Feisty Dame Productions, Screenwest and Lotterywest, WA Regional Film Fund, Screen Australia, and Banijay Rights for Stan Originals, is a powerful drama created for television by director Nicholas Verso on the challenges faced by a group of gay teens in the remote coastal town of Geraldton.

    In factual, the feature-length premium documentary from Scenery and Pretty Matches, Front Row, Executive Produced by award-winning actor and producer Sarah Jessica Parker, and directed by Miriam Guttmann (Sundance Film Festival selection Seeds of Deceit), highlights the resilience of Ukrainian ballet dancers during wartime, where an unlikely friendship forms between a dancer and a front-line soldier.

    From Workerbee comes two gripping documentaries, Anatomy of a Murder, a feature length true-crime story centring around the daughter of an Iranian family, who has spent over thirty years and millions of her fortune to try and find her mother’s killer; and Four Kings for Prime Video, exploring the history of British boxing through four men coming from the same London neighbourhood who heralded a golden era and changed the way Britain viewed its black athletes.

    Meanwhile, on the reality competition front, The Summit, a 9Network and Endemol Shine Australia original series, produced by Endemol Shine Australia, continues to climb through the ranks with a second season in the works, and a first international adaptation for CBS by Endemol Shine North America with more to come soon.

    From Endemol Shine North America, Deal or No Deal Island completely reimagines the iconic game show as an epic adventure. This new spin-off series for NBC is set on the Banker’s private island as he searches for his ultimate opponent in a high stakes competition with over $200,000,000 up for grabs.

    From Metronome is Shaolin Heroes for TV2 Denmark, where celebrities undertake the ultimate test by embarking on a transformational journey alongside world-class Shaolin Masters.

    Joining Banijay’s factual offering is Banged Up, created by Shine TV for Channel 4. In this fact-ent format social experiment, which veers into the documentary space, six male celebrity inmates are incarcerated in a UK prison environment alongside their reformed criminal cellmates. The series explores the question, ‘does prison work’?

    From EndemolShine Nederland, Upside Down sees two celebrity teams undertake all kinds of topsy turvy challenges and Q&A games unlike anything they have seen before, because everything in this innovative format, is upside down.

    Highly-anticipated reality series The Fortune Hotel from Tuesday’s Child for ITV1 and ITVX invites viewers into a luxury Caribbean resort filled with glamour, opulence and deception. Contestants are paired up and compete to win a briefcase, one holding the ultimate cash prize and another an Early Checkout Card.

  2. First International Adaptation for Banijay’s No Strings Attached

    Comments Off on First International Adaptation for Banijay’s No Strings Attached

    Media and entertainment powerhouse, Banijay, today confirms Cuarzo Producciones, part of Banijay Iberia, will produce the first international adaptation of No Strings Attached (Sexo, Famosos y Muñecos de Trapo) alongside Flooxer for Atresplayer, the platform of the leading audiovisual group in Spain, Atresmedia.

    In this daring format, celebrities will read and voice the recreation of erotic fan fiction, set against the backdrop of scenes enacted with puppets. This intimate, mischievous, and sometimes surreal series, catapults well-known faces out of their comfort zone, for a night the celebrities, and the viewers, will never forget. Hosted by Valeria Ros, Atresplayer will release a new episode weekly, which will be available to premium users.

    Juan Ramón Gonzalo, Managing Director, Cuarzo Producciones, comments: “We loved the idea of getting celebrities hot under the collar and bringing them into the surreal world of adult fan fiction. Audiences can expect some hilarious reactions and awkward moments as our stars, and the puppets, bring these bedtime stories to life.”

    James Townley, Chief Content Officer, Development, Banijay adds: “No Strings Attached is side-splittingly funny and delivers unadulterated entertainment. A totally unique format, lifting the covers on the intriguing and mysterious world of erotic fan fiction, we are seeing strong international interest.”

    No Strings Attached was originally created in the UK by RDF Television for Channel 4. Cuarzo Producciones is a highly creative and experienced producer, from entertainment to reality, talk shows and documentaries. Its credits include Where is Marta? for Netflix, Trash or Treasure and Temptation Island.

  3. Young People Embark on SimpelZodiak’s The Life Trail

    Comments Off on Young People Embark on SimpelZodiak’s The Life Trail

    Media and entertainment powerhouse, Banijay, today announces SimpelZodiak, part of Banijay Benelux, will produce adventure reality The Life Trail for Videoland. This eight-part series was developed by SimpelZodiak and RTL Creative Unit, together with Nasrdin Dchar, Walid Benmbarek, and Erik Wegewijs.

    Society is more complex than ever, and young people are among those struggling with their mental health, their self-esteem, and the question of how to approach challenges life throws their way. In The Life Trail, eight young people will embark on a life-changing adventure through Switzerland to improve their psychological wellbeing and overcome their greatest challenges. For some, that is depression and loneliness, whilst for others it could be  struggling with their gender identity. Well-known Dutch actors Nasrdin Dchar and Walid Benmbarek will also face the intense challenges and accompany the team as they head towards the finish line, guided by the inspiring Erik Wegewijs (SAS: Who Dares Wins), a former member of the Royal Netherlands Army’s elite special forces unit (KCT). At the end of the show each person that completes the trip will be able to open their bespoke prize, a gift designed to spark their dreams.

    Justine Huffmeijer, Managing Director at SimpelZodiak says: “This new format is authentic, emotional, and a real journey of self-discovery. The Life Trail is a balance between celebrity-led and relatable moving content, and we hope to empower audiences and those taking part. It has been great to work with RTL Creative Unit, Nasrdin Dchar, Walid Benmbarek and Erik Wegewijs to bring this format to life.”

    James Townley, Chief Content Officer, Development at Banijay adds: “Set amongst a breathtakingly cinematic background this new IP brings a fresh angle to adventure reality as it is intimate and addresses authentic mental health issues many young people face.  SimpelZodiak and RTL Creative Unit have beautifully captured this, and alongside motivational and engaging talent, have developed a format ripe for adaptations.”

    SimpelZodiak is a specialist in reality, adventure, crime and factual entertainment, with the aim of telling stories with impact, which leave viewers inspired and entertained. Amongst its slate is Good Luck Guys, Hunted, Survivor, SAS: Who Dares Wins and Your Home Made Perfect.

  4. Banijay Unveils Compelling Documentary Line-Up for MIPCOM 2023

    Comments Off on Banijay Unveils Compelling Documentary Line-Up for MIPCOM 2023

    Media and entertainment powerhouse Banijay today reveals its formidable line-up of premium documentaries for MIPCOM 2023. Showcasing the best new titles from its in-house collective of filmmakers and acquisitions from Banijay Rights, the slate reflects its growing commitment to this field and burgeoning portfolio of leading titles.

    The diverse new offering includes Banijay’s Four Kings (w/t) and Moulin Rouge: Yes We Can Can; as well as third-party Banijay Rights-distributed titles, The Other Mrs Jordan, Sharon and Ozzy: Home to Roost, Eva Longoria: Searching for Mexico, Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy, and The Rise and Fall of Boris Johnson.

    James Townley, Chief Content Officer, Development at Banijay comments: “Accompanying an expansive development slate, these latest hot picks represent our rapidly expanding documentary portfolio, which is brimming with new, high-end programming, showcasing world-class talent and offering broadcasters and viewers an insightful, visual journey into some extraordinarily thought-provoking and fascinating subjects.”

    Simon Cox, EVP Content & Acquisitions at Banijay Rights says: “This year’s slate is packed with engaging and eye-opening content, from unbelievable true crime to stimulating takes on food through its importance in global cultures to insights in globally recognised individuals. This selection of new titles along with the rest of the expansive slate continues to elevate our premium factual offering.”

    During one week in 1993, half a billion people tuned into the biggest week in the history of British boxing.Four Kings (w/t), from Workerbee, part of Banijay UK, for Amazon Prime Video, is the story of four men from the same London neighbourhood who heralded a golden era and changed the way Britain viewed its black athletes. 30 years on, the documentary series will revisit the notorious rivalries of Chris Eubank and Nigel Benn; and Lennox Lewis and Frank Bruno, combining archive footage of the clashes, and newly-captured exclusive interviews that reveal their tough struggles with mental health issues outside the limelight. The series is Executive Produced by Kevin Macdonald (Whitney, Janet, Bruno V Tyson).

    Moulin Rouge: Yes We Can Can is a Dragonfly (a Banijay UK company) production for BBC Two and explores one of the most iconic cabarets in the world, and while synonymous with Paris, is actually run by a Brit… This six-part arts documentary follows artistic director Janet Pharaoh as she recruits a new cohort of dancers from Britain, all desperate to be cast in the Moulin Rouge’s high-kicking spectacular shows. Viewers are given a sneak-peek behind the scenes of the specular world-famous home of cabaret, to tell the story of the 450 staff members and creatives who meticulously ensure each night runs smoothly.

    Banijay Rights internationally distributes third-party title The Other Mrs Jordan, a unique three-part documentary boxset for ITVX that explores the cat-and-mouse tale of a serial bigamist, fraudster, father, and psychopath who left a trail of destroyed lives all over the world. The title is produced by Circle Circle Films and October Films.

    Famous family The Osbornes are used to cameras following their every move, but in Sharon and Ozzy: Home to Roost, we will see a different side to notorious heavy metal singer, Ozzy, and television personality and music manager, Sharon Osborne, as they return to Britain after over 20 years living in the US. This series documents their move home, as well as their children Kelly and Jack’s efforts to support them as they restart their lives in rural Buckinghamshire. The series is produced by Expectation for BBC One and BBC iPlayer, with Banijay Rights holding global distribution rights.

    Eva Longoria: Searching for Mexico, and Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy, are CNN Original series produced by Raw TV, following the award-winning actors as they explore the rich culture, landscape, and cuisine of their ancestors. Banijay Rights handles global distribution for these globe-trotting travelogues outside the US.

    The Rise and Fall of Boris Johnson chronicles the events that shaped British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, his meteoric rise to power, and his extraordinary premiership. Hearing from his friends, enemies, and through rare archive footage, the 72 Films production for Channel 4 will give insight into his actions, his ambition, and the real events that have influenced modern British politics.

    Banijay is supercharging its documentary offering by bringing together the best in-house Banijay productions from across the footprint, with premium third-party titles, all available to broadcasters and platforms around the world. The diverse catalogue includes titles like Lara from BAFTA and Emmy Award-winning director, Mags Gavan, and produced by Scenery, part of Banijay Benelux; and That Peter Crouch Film from Workerbee for Amazon Prime Video, an in-depth look at one of modern football’s most unique and beloved stars.

  5. Banijay Spotlights Adventure, Reality Competition and Factual in its Autumn Line-Up

    Comments Off on Banijay Spotlights Adventure, Reality Competition and Factual in its Autumn Line-Up

    Media and entertainment powerhouse Banijay today reveals its autumn slate of non-scripted formats set to be showcased at MIPCOM 2023. With an unprecedented line-up of six premium multi-genre titles, the content champion is set to enter the market with bang, as it unveils its upcoming hits to the world’s linear and streaming clients…

    Banijay’s Creative Networks is highlighting original blockbuster adventure reality series, The Summit, Rush and Shaolin Heroes, as well as reality competition formats Deal or No Deal Island and Buddy Games. In addition, the company is strengthening its factual reality offering in BANGED UP (w/t).

    James Townley, Chief Content Officer, Development at Banijay comments: “Last year alone, Banijay delivered 145 new format launches, and in 2023, our incredible creatives continue to raise the bar with new, high-quality, original ideas that are already capturing audiences around the globe. From The Summit to Buddy Games, we see fantastic potential in this slate as it truly captures audience desire for attention-grabbing, entertaining shows packed with adventure, that are unique and scalable. We look forward to finally showcasing these innovative titles to our clients worldwide at MIPCOM, leveraging the strength of our brilliant teams whilst on-the-ground in Cannes.”

    This year’s autumn slate offers exhilarating adventure reality series including two new formats from EndemolShine Australia with 9Network; The Summit and Rush. Set in New Zealand’s southern Alps, The Summit sees a group of strangers carrying an equal share of money, but to win the cash, they must reach the peak of a distant mountain in just two weeks. All that stands in the way, are a series of adrenaline-charged challenges and the unpredictable elements of human nature. Elsewhere, Rush is the new travel adventure series where twelve everyday people are dropped into the heart of some of the most pulsating cultural festivals, huge events, and exotic locations. They are without all their senses, and knowledge of their location, and must work together to complete the missions set by the host and reach the “Escape Zone”. The last team to get there is forced to eliminate one member of their team until only one person emerges to scoop a life-changing prize.

    From Metronome is Shaolin Heroes for TV 2 Denmark, where celebrities undertake the ultimate test by embarking on a transformational journey alongside world-class Shaolin Masters. By surrendering to the ancient and uninterrupted traditions of the legendary Shaolin Warrior Monks, the celebrities will find unexplored facets of themselves they never knew existed.

    Meanwhile, on the reality competition front, the iconic format Deal or No Deal is back, but like you have never seen it before… In a new spin-off created by Endemol Shine North America for NBC, Deal or No Deal Islandsees cases hidden all over an island with millions of dollars split between them, which contestants compete to retrieve, so they can play a game of Deal or No Deal against the Banker.  The banker’s challenges are pulse pounding and mind-bending designed to test every facet of the contestants, as they try to secure the most valuable cases to play Deal or No Deal. Mystery and millions await in this new format that transforms the iconic game show into an innovative social experiment.

    Airing on CBS is Buddy Games, which adapts the comedy directed by, and starring, Josh Duhamel, into areality competition format. Produced by Bunim/Murray Productions, “ride or die” friends get the chance to relive their glory days and compete in an assortment of absurd physical and mental challenges in the outdoors while bunking together in the same lake house.  To celebrate the launch of this brand-new title to the world, Josh himself is making his way to the French Riviera to join executive producer and President, Bunim/Murray Productions, Julie Pizzi down at MIPCOM.

    Showcasing the diversity of Baniijay’s slate is BANGED UP (w/t), created by Shine TV for Channel 4. In this fact-ent format, which veers into the documentary space, six male celebrity inmates will be incarcerated in a UK prison environment alongside their criminal cellmates. There they will interrogate the criminals on their prison experiences and crimes – all while experiencing the impact of the prison system themselves – for better or worse.

    Banijay will be holding exclusive invite-only masterclass sessions during MIPCOM, where they will lift the lid on the all the details of these next generation entertainment formats. The new offerings join renowned long-running superbrands like Big Brother, Survivor, and Deal or No Deal, which are all returning to the UK later this year, as well as travelling returners, Star Academy, Save the Date, Love Triangle, The Fifty, Popstars, andThe Block.

    News regarding Banijay’s scripted and documentary slates for MIPCOM to follow…

  6. Endemol Shine Italy Creates AI-Driven Improv Comedy, Fake Show

    Comments Off on Endemol Shine Italy Creates AI-Driven Improv Comedy, Fake Show

    Media and entertainment powerhouse, Banijay, today announces Endemol Shine Italy, part of Banijay Italy, has created with Rai RadioTelevisione Italiana SPA a brand-new comedy entertainment format, Fake Show – Diffidate delle imitazioni. The new original show will air in primetime this autumn.

    Hosted by Italian actor, comedian and author, Max Giusti, this original new format puts AI in the spotlight and celebrates the highest form of flattery, imitations. In each episode, brilliant celebrities showcase their improv skills, impersonating characters, dialects, objects, sounds and even their fellow showbiz counterparts. Alongside the famous faces is a comedic version of AI generating unpredictable situations, rules, and games, so expect hilarious laugh-out-loud viral moments.

    Leonardo Pasquinelli, CEO Endemol Shine Italy says: Fake Show promises a comedic and fun evening highlighting the world of impersonation, improv and imitation. We’re excited to showcase AI in helping create eccentric sketches which the audience will love to watch again and again. Full credit to the team behind the format’s creation and delivery, including our very talented host, Max Giusti.”   

    James Townley, Chief Content Officer, Development adds: “We are seeing continued demand for light-hearted formats that put a smile on viewers’ face, and Fake Show guarantees just this. With AI at its heart, this ground-breaking format is versatile, scalable, connects audiences and we’re excited to see what the future holds for it.”

    EndemolShine Italy is behind the local production of high-profile entertainment formats including Big Brother for Canale 5 and Deal or No Deal for Rai1, as well as  LOL: Last One Laughing Italy and Celebrity Hunted for Amazon Prime Video.

  7. Banijay Unveils AI Creative Fund

    Comments Off on Banijay Unveils AI Creative Fund

    Media and entertainment powerhouse, Banijay, today announces the AI Creative Fund, a new opportunity for producers and labels across Banijay’s 21 territories to showcase ideas with technology and innovation at their heart. This new addition to the group’s various other creative initiatives, aims to fuel and supercharge people and teams to create formats which push the boundaries of creativity using Artificial Intelligence and technology.

    The age of AI is upon us, and as it begins to shape our world, there is an increasing demand for people to create fresh, forward-thinking formats in the technology space. The new AI Creative Fund is for visionaries within Banijay who are developing ideas using tech, and those that are keen to explore the endless possibilities in the world of this new technology. Successful ideas will receive development funding via Banijay’s Creative Fund.

    James Townley, Chief Content Officer, Development at Banijay says “We’re extremely passionate about innovation, and this latest AI Creative Fund will empower our producers across the footprint to create new formats which embrace tech, whether that be central to the show, or redefining the production process. We’re in a new era of technology and innovation, and while human creativity will always prevail, it’s important to work alongside the tools which are available to contribute to the future of ground-breaking entertainment.”

    This new AI initiative is a group level investment which complements the Banijay Creative Fund, which to date has already supported the evolution of original travelling formats, Blow Up (Endemol Shine Nederland), Love Triangle (Endemol Shine Australia), The 50 (Banijay Productions France), Save the Date (Endemol Shine Finland and and Endemol Shine Israel), Starstruck (Remarkable), among others.

    In 2022 alone, Banijay was behind the launch of 200+ non-scripted titles, and 90+ pilots, and with further creative incentivisation and reinvestment on the horizon, the organisation’s supercharged pipeline looks strong for this year, with The Summit (Endemol Shine Australia), Hot Wheels (Endemol Shine North America in association with Workerbee under license from Mattel Inc.) and Rush (Endemol Shine Australia) all launching successfully and garnering further interest globally.

  8. Contestants Clock in for Zeppelin’s Time Zone On HBO Max in Spain

    Comments Off on Contestants Clock in for Zeppelin’s Time Zone On HBO Max in Spain

    Content powerhouse Banijay today announces Zeppelin, part of Banijay Iberia, will produce Time Zone for HBO Max in Spain. Created by Zeppelin and EndemolShine Nederland, the extreme competition show employs video game aesthetics, for a unique and exciting format which is set to air this summer.

    Welcome to Time City, a huge, abandoned facility where the Master of Time has created a real-world video game: Time Zone. Outside its perimeter is desert and dust, inside, 10 players will take on thrilling challenges and complete the levels to defeat the Master of Time. eSports presenter and streamer, Cristinini, will embody this role and monitor the players’ progress as they race against the clock.

    Each level will require great mental and physical skill, and in this competition, time is everything, as at the end of each round, the player with the least amount of it remaining is eliminated. However, ‘time zones’ scattered around the arena offer a few minutes of relief, because when players are inside them, time will stop. Each task also offers the chance to win a reward, from receiving extra seconds to stealing minutes from their teammates. In the final level, a player must face the Master of Time in an epic duel, where only one can walk away triumphant.

    Miguel Martín, Managing Director of Zeppelin says:Time Zone is a strategic game we have been fortunate to create together with EndemolShine Nederland and HBO Max– both who have trusted in this pioneering format. There is nothing like it… 10 brave participants completely immersed in a unique show totally inspired by video games, in terms of look and language.”

    Miguel Salvat, VP Original Programming and Commissioning Editor HBO Max Iberia adds: “Time Zone immerses you in the universe, aesthetics, and technology of a video game, but with real people, carefully selected for their strategic skill and competitiveness. This happens all under the orders of Cristinini, an expert in the field who acts as Master of Time, both in person and in “cyborg” version. The series stands as a spectacular production, with frenetic rhythm, music and tension, and a unique location. Through new recording elements, the production is a clear commitment to innovation.”

    James Townley, Chief Content Officer, Development at Banijay comments: “At Banijay, we strive to develop IP which is innovative, visually powerfully and ultimately, with concepts people will engage in, but are yet to see. Zeppelin and EndemolShine Nederland’s new creation is a perfect example of these elements coming together. It is a clever combination of the two hugely popular worlds of gaming and competition reality, with a healthy dose of strategy added to the mix.”

    Miguel Martín and Floren Abad are executive producers for Zeppelin with Miguel Salvat and Annelies Sitvast the executive producers for HBO Max. The series is produced by Zeppelin (Banijay Iberia) for Warner Bros. Discovery.

    Zeppelin is behind huge shows such as Big Brother Spain and is also the creator of original formats like The Bridge (El Puente), which has now sold internationally to territories including the UK, Australia and Brazil. It is also a pioneer in the development of anime projects in Spain, with  Virtual Hero, the first series of a Spanish animation created by YouTuber Rubius, and the adaptation of Laura Gallego’s trilogy, The Idhún Chronicles.

  9. Cuarzo Producciones Heads to the Dominican Republic for ¡Vaya Vacaciones!

    Comments Off on Cuarzo Producciones Heads to the Dominican Republic for ¡Vaya Vacaciones!

    Content powerhouse Banijay today confirms Cuarzo Producciones, part of Banijay Iberia, will co-develop a brand-new reality show ¡Vaya Vacaciones! with Mediaset España.

    Presented by Luján Argüelles, ¡Vaya Vacaciones! is set to be the perfect summer watch. Eight celebrity couples will stay in an all-inclusive luxury hotel, accompanied by a couple of their choosing. Together they will enjoy the sun and sea of the Dominican Republic. However, expect twists, unforeseen situations and unforgettable moments as the serenity can’t last forever.

    Juanra Gonzalo, Managing Director at Cuarzo Producciones says: “Spain loves reality TV, and we hope they’re as excited as we are about ¡Vaya Vacaciones!. Not only will the show be full of addictive entertainment, but we’re also thrilled to have Luján on-board with her unique style and sense of humour.”

    James Townley, Chief Content Officer, Development at Banijay adds:¡Vaya Vacaciones! is the perfect summer viewing, with a tantalising combination of a luxury location, celebrities and of course some twists and drama. Reality TV continues to be in big demand globally, attracting huge audiences, and this new format really taps into Cuarzo’s expertise at delivering world-class entertainment in this genre.”

    Jaime Guerra, Director of Content Production at Mediaset España: “At Mediaset España we are constantly searching for new entertainment formats, whether they are products that have proven successful in the international market or programmes developed together with production companies, such as ¡Vaya Vacaciones! It is a reality show that will showcase a range of relationship dynamics and have humorous elements, making it the perfect content for the summer.”

    Cuarzo Producciones is a highly creative and experienced producer, from entertainment and reality to talk shows and documentaries. Its credits include Where is Marta? For Netflix, Trash or Treasure and Temptation Island of which Banijay has enjoyed seven and 20 international versions to date, respectively.

  10. Banijay Promotes Townley and Green

    Comments Off on Banijay Promotes Townley and Green

    Content powerhouse Banijay today announces the elevation of James Townley and Lucas Green. Continuing to oversee Creative Networks, the group’s non-scripted operation, the pair will now operate as Chief Content Officer, Development and Chief Content Officer, Operations respectively.

    Taking effect immediately, the elevations signal Banijay’s continued commitment to creativity. As Chief Content Officer, Development, Townley maintains his position in enhancing unscripted development across the group at-large, while also overseeing 3rd-party format acquisition. Expanding his remit to include documentary, his department continues to manage all group level investment in non-scripted, including the Creative Fund, which to date has already supported the evolution of original travelling formats, Blow Up (EndemolShine Nederland ), Love Triangle (Endemol Shine Australia) and Starstruck (Remarkable). In 2022 alone, Banijay was behind the launch of 200+ non-scripted titles, and 90+ pilots, and with further creative incentivisation and reinvestment on the horizon, the organisation’s supercharged pipeline looks strong for 2023, with The Summit (Endemol Shine Australia), Hot Wheels (Endemol Shine North America in association with Workerbee under license from Mattel Inc.) and Rush (Endemol Shine Australia) commissioned and garnering further interest globally.

    In the Chief Content Officer, Operations role, Green partners with the group’s non-scripted labels worldwide to drive production efficiency and creative best practice. Bringing producers together, he and his team support, scrutinise and champion existing formats to ensure high-quality output, innovative production methods, favourable margins, and unrivalled global footprints. Establishing healthy production ecosystems, his team provides production consultancy to implement Banijay’s vast collection of format bibles. One further key aim is the ongoing expansion, success, and brand integrity of superbrands such as Big BrotherSurvivor, MasterChef, Temptation Island, and their spin-offs. Recently evolving the role, he also takes responsibility for ESG (environment, social and governance) across the unscripted portfolio, in keeping with the business’ overarching goals in this area.

    Both parties report to Chief Executive Officer, Marco Bassetti, who said of the promotions: “James and Lucas have been fantastic forces for Creative Networks, ensuring a productive, well-travelled non-scripted pipeline. Creative reinvestment, efficiency and rights retention are all central to our global strategy, and to date, the pair have been key in championing these elements across the group globally. While the market has its challenges, we have a robust operation in place to maintain the high standards of delivery and innovation our buyers have become accustomed to, and ultimately, our leading position in international formats.”

    The announcement follows K7’s latest report, which unveiled Banijay as “Distributor of the Year” for producing the most new format launches in the market for 2022.

  11. Banijay Spotlights Premium Portfolio for London TV Screenings

    Comments Off on Banijay Spotlights Premium Portfolio for London TV Screenings

    Content powerhouse, Banijay, today confirms the line-up for its bespoke London TV Screenings event on Wednesday 1 March at BAFTA. It marks the second physical participation in the wider annual distribution gathering, which runs from Monday 27 February to Friday 3 March.

     Shining a light on scripted, Banijay Rights’ premium offering includes UK dramas Three Little Birds for ITV and BritBox International, This Town and The Sixth Commandment for the BBC, Domina for MGM+ and Sky, Safe Home for SBS, as well as feature documentary LARA (w/t).

     This year’s stellar scripted offering will be complemented by Banijay’s unscripted formats fronted by its Creative Networks team. Included are fresh interior design competition, The Big Interiors Battle; addictive dating and relationship shows, Love Triangle, Date My Mate, Save the Date; entertainment newcomers,Boomerissima and Cover Night; competition titles Blow Up and MasterChef Young Talent; and sneak peeks will be on offer for much-anticipated adventure reality, The Summit, and comedy entertainment, No Strings Attached.

     As part of the exclusive, invite-only event, This Town creator, writer and executive producer, Steven Knight, stars of Three Little Birds Rochelle Neil, Yazmin Belo, and Saffron Coomber, will be interviewed live on the BAFTA stage, as well as The Sixth Commandment writer Sarah Phelps and director Saul Dibb; Safe Home star Aisha Dee, Domina creator Simon Burke and award-winning LARA (w/t) director Mags Gavan.

     Cathy Payne, CEO at Banijay Rights says: “This year’s Banijay at BAFTA event is set to have the strongest line-up yet, and we’re proud to create a truly must-attend showcase for international buyers, with a high-calibre of talent supporting us on stage. With an extensive range of genres, bringing globally relevant themes to audiences, we expect our eclectic roster of content to be immensely popular.”

     James Townley, Global Head of Content Development & Lucas Green, Global Head of Content Operations at Banijay comment: “From Love Triangle to Blow Up and No Strings Attached, at Banijay, we have a strong pipeline of emerging IP that we’re proud to present. This is down to our creatives who we are delighted to support in super-charging their ambitious ideas and getting them on-screen and travelling the world.”

    Banijay Rights’ footprint in the premium documentary space has expanded over the last year, and  along with Banijay Benelux joint venture Scenery, it’s lining up LARA (w/t). Directed by the BAFTA and Emmy award-winning Mags Gavan, the film recounts an extraordinary reconciliation story between Jorge Lara and Juan Pablo Escobar – the son of notorious Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar.

    On the scripted front, Banijay Rights is highlighting Three Little Birds, the six-part drama created by Sir Lenny Henry which depicts his mother’s stories of leaving Jamaica in the 1950s. The project is produced by Tiger Aspect Productions in association with Douglas Road Productions – both Banijay UK companies. Meanwhile, from Kudos, (a Banijay UK company) and Nebulastar, and co-produced with Mercury Studios, in association with Kudos North, Stigma Films, and Nick Angel for the BBC, This Town tells the story of an extended family and four young people who are drawn into the world of ska and two-tone music. This marks the first project of the Kudos-Knight creative partnership deal which supports the Birmingham film and TV industry.

    The Sixth Commandment, from Wild Mercury Productions (a Banijay UK company) and True Vision Productions, is a true crime drama which explores the deaths of Peter Farquhar and Anne Moore-Martin in a small English village, while Domina returns for a second season, from Tiger Aspect Productions in association with MGM+ Studios, continuing the epic sweeping drama series that takes place during one of the most provocative periods in Roman history.

    In addition, thriller Safe Home, the first commission for Imogen Banks’ new production company Kindling Pictures, which follows Phoebe, played by Aisha Dee, a 20-something professional who leaves her job at a prestigious law firm to work at a struggling family violence legal centre. As interconnecting stories unfold, relationships are tested and pressure mounts to save the centre.

     Joining Banijay’s factual competition offering is brand-new interior design format, The

    Big Interiors Battle from Banijay UK’s Remarkable Factual. Eight people with an eye for design receive the keys to an apartment where they are challenged to transform a different room each week. Will their key card work when they next try to enter or have, they been locked out the competition?

     Love Triangle is a bold new relationship show created by the producers of Married at First Sight Australia, Endemol Shine Australia. It challenges a group of singles to relinquish their grasp on what they think their perfect partner should look like and instead choose, sight unseen. Following its successful first season on Stan, it has been recommissioned for a second series. Produced by Dragonfly in the UK, Date My Mate also explores modern dating. Based on the Endemol Shine Australia format Date Night, singles swipe through prospective suitors on the formats’ dedicated real-life app and then watch the subsequent dates unfold. In addition, in Save the Date single women tired of the dating world gain total control of their love life by setting a wedding date, before they have even begun to search for their partner. Will setting a love deadline help them find the one? Created by Endemol Shine Israel, Endemol Shine Finland produced the first series for Nelonen.

    Boomerissima, created by Banijay Italia, is all about proving the superiority of your generation.  Each episode sees celebrities from different eras pitted against each other highlighting TV shows, movies, music, famous names, adverts, etc to refute stereotypes and highlight whether things were better in the past or the present. The first series concluded on Rai 2 this month, outperforming the channels slot average across all demographics. Next up, how would Flowers by Miley Cyrus sound as rap or Beyonce’s Crazy in Love as a ballad? Cover Night is the singing contest from Shine Iberia that sees young talented singers (16+) go head-to-head as they transform hit songs into different genres and add their own twist to covers, accompanied by a live band.

    Elsewhere, there are strong signs competition entertainment combos are here to stay with brand new formats from the Netherlands, and the Nordics. Amongst Banijay’s successful formats is Blow Up, created by EndemolShine Nederland and now commissioned in four territories. The first season which aired in the Netherlands last summer was the number one show in the slot on all commercial key demos with the slot average up 168% for 6-12-year-olds.  Banijay also has the latest spin-off from MasterChef, the world’s most successful cookery television format which was created by Franc Roddam, starring a new generation of promising chefs, aged 13 to 18. Created by Danish company Metronome, and Nordisk Banijay in Norway, for Viaplay Group, this exciting and authentic new iteration aims to equip a future generation with the best tools within the industry, providing them with the platform and experience to one day, hopefully, fulfil their chef dreams.

    On the first-look side, The Summit is a new and highly anticipated blockbuster adventure reality series created and developed exclusively with the 9Network by Endemol Shine Australia. Set in New Zealand’s rugged southern Alps, a group of strangers carrying an equal share of 1 million Australian dollars must reach the peak of a distant mountain in just 14 days to win the cash. All that stands in the way are a series of adrenaline-charged challenges and human nature.  In a thrilling tale of endurance, survival, and greed; morals will be tested, physical limits pushed, and bonds broken. Will they work together or turn on each other as the going gets tough? And if they reach the summit in time…who will walk away with the money? Combining comedy with entertainment, RDF Television’s No Strings Attached invites a different celebrity in each episode to read an erotic piece of creative writing where they are the lead role. The adult fan fiction brought to life by puppet versions of the stars will encounter romance, scandal, mystery, intrigue, and farce.

    More than 20 distributors join founder members Banijay Rights, Alll3Media International, Entertainment One, Fremantle and ITV Studios in showcasing their catalogues at this year’s London TV Screenings.

  12. Helen Greatorex to Lead Format Acquisitions for Banijay

    Comments Off on Helen Greatorex to Lead Format Acquisitions for Banijay

    Content powerhouse, Banijay, today announces Helen Greatorex has stepped up as its Head of Format Acquisitions. Continuing to report to Global Head of Content Development, James Townley, she will leave behind her Senior Global Development Producer title to take on the group’s dedicated strategy in this area.

    Serving as Senior Global Development Producer for Banijay since September 2021, she has been working with a number of the group’s key territories in supporting their unscripted pipelines, in order to extend the potential of their IP within the wider footprint. Prior to this, she spent a year as a Format Manager across key super brands including Big Brother, Hunted and Temptation Island.

    Greatorex is not new to the acquisitions world having acted as Group Acquisitions Manager for Endemol Shine Group between 2014 and 2020. She is well-versed in recognising and bringing in unscripted titles with hit potential, with considerable deal-making and market experience. Outside Banijay, and building up her content know-how, she spent almost nine years at K7 Media, leaving as Director of Operations in 2014.

    James Townley comments: “Helen has long been an integral part of the team and it’s great to have her taking on the acquisition reins. Her content know-how is extensive, and her ability to recognise an emerging hit is like no other, so I can’t think of anyone better placed to guide this area of the business. I look forward to watching her grow further in this role and continue to broaden the Banijay IP offering globally.”

     Helen Greatorex adds: “It’s been great to explore other areas of the business over the past few years, but I’m pleased to be back in the acquisitions hot seat. There is so much opportunity to drive even greater creativity through having a good grasp on what’s going on outside our walls, and I’m looking forward to bringing that knowledge into the group to further strengthen our own offering, and supplement our production pipeline with undiscovered IP.”