New Docu-Reality Television Series, Produced by John Legend’s Get Lifted Film Co. and CORE Media Group, the Co-Producers of American Idol, Currently Airing on Pop in the U.S.
Banijay International has secured international distribution rights to the much-anticipated Sing It On, a brand new, original docu-reality series inspired by the blockbuster movie Pitch Perfect. The UK-based independent content distributor will launch the series to the international market following its initial run in the U.S. on Pop, which premiered the series last week to coincide with the film release of Pitch Perfect 2.
Set in the fiercely competitive world of collegiate a cappella, the 8 x 1 hour series Sing It On is executive produced by Academy Award® winner and nine-time Grammy Award®-winning singer-songwriter John Legend - who performed in an a cappella group at his alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania – together with his partners at Get Lifted Film Co., and is produced by CORE Media Group, the co-producers of American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance.
Sing It On captures the real-life stories, high stakes and personal triumphs of top collegiate a cappella teams as they compete to win the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA) Finals in New York. Cameras capture the behind-the-scenes journey of five top-ranked a cappella teams as they battle it out to earn a spot at and win the ICCA Finals.
Emmanuelle Namiech, Managing Director at Banijay International comments, “We’re delighted to bring this fantastic new series to our global clients – with the second Pitch Perfect premiering in movie theatres around the world throughout May and the summer, the time couldn’t be better to pick up this fascinating insight into the real-life Pitch Perfect for broadcast. Sing It On showcases the outstanding talent of the collegiate a cappella groups featured, alongside capturing the friendships, rivalries and personal stories from within this unique world that emerge throughout the series.”
“A cappella is exploding in entertainment and fan culture as evidenced by the global success of Pitch Perfect and music sensations like Pentatonix,” said Brad Schwartz, President of Pop. “Sing It On is the first television docu-series that takes viewers behind the scenes of this exciting and highly competitive world with engaging stories and show-stopping performances.”
Sing It On is produced by CORE Media Group, with Jennifer O’Connell, Teri Wagner Flynn, and Kallissa Miller serving as executive producers. Jenny Ramirez, Amanda Newman, and J McMahon serve as co-executive producers. John Legend, Ty Stiklorius and Mike Jackson of Get Lifted Film Co. also serve as executive producers.
The acquisition of Sing It On is the latest move in Banijay International’s expansion into finished programme distribution, as the company extends its relationships with producers worldwide to build a library of English-language, finished tape programming in the non-scripted genres. Titles recently launched include new US factual entertainment series The Pioneers, from award-winning producers Hot Snakes Media, US reality series Love Thy Sister from Emmy Award-winners Bunim Murray for WEtv, as well as reality series The Flying Miners, produced by Screentime for ABC Australia, and Village Vets for Australia’s LifeStyle.
Leading distributor Banijay International has appointed international distribution specialist Michael Jackson as Head of Global Sales. Formerly Senior Sales and Acquisitions Executive at DCD Rights, Jackson will take on the new role of Head of Global Sales selling to UK, Asia and pan-regional broadcasters, as well as covering Germany, Benelux, CEE in Siobhan Herriott’s absence (currently on maternity leave). Based in Banijay International’s London headquarters, Jackson will report to Managing Director Emmanuelle Namiech.
Namiech comments, “I am extremely pleased to have Michael join us in a pivotal role as we continue to take Banijay International to the next stage of its development. Our successful move into programme sales in addition to formats representation means Michael’s depth of experience and knowledge and his broad international contacts will be invaluable to us going forward. Michael is extremely well regarded within the content distribution community, having worked across multiple genres within both sales and acquisitions and we look forward to having him on board in the coming weeks.”
Jackson has previously worked with UK-based distributors Zodiak Rights and DRG’s Zeal Television as well as the Endemol-backed multi-platform digital distribution company Mo Media.
Mike Jackson’s first international market representing Banijay International will be in Shanghai in June. He will also attend NATPE Europe in Prague in June.
In addition, Banijay International’s VP, Sales & Acquisitions Jimmy Humphrey is expanding his role and is now responsible for selling content into Canada, US, Scandinavia and in Australia and New Zealand. Humphrey is also contributing to the continued development of Banijay International’s wide programming with his acquisitions remit. Humphrey’s most notable recent acquisitions include the factual series Horsetown: Inside Newmarket from the UK and the medical ob-doc Outback ER from Australia, as well as securing the global rights to the Icelandic hit entertainment format Treasured Tunes, which was recently launched at MIPTV.
Banijay International recently launched a strong content line up at MIP-TV including the uplifting and life-affirming format Something Special; Homes At Risk sees families on the brink of financial disaster helped by experts; King of Chess where a young champion takes on the whole country in an interactive multiplatform battle of strategy and landmark reality telenovela format Breaking Love. Studio-based entertainment formats include Ultimate Star Quiz and Treasured Tunes in a search to find a nation’s favourite tune. It’s Only TV sees a witty host and a panel of opinionated guests make fun of the latest shows and news in the TV world.
As well as taking delivery of the critically acclaimed Australian reality series Outback ER and long-running hits including Booze Patrol and Descent from Disaster; Banijay International has hand-picked hot new shows such as The Pioneers a factual entertainment series from leading US producer Hot Snakes Media; Rock This Boat: New Kids on the Block and The Story Behind…, hit shows from the company’s exclusive deal with POP in the US; alongside second seasons of the reality makeover with a twist Pound Pups to Dog Stars and heart-warming reality series Village Vets, produced by Screentime New Zealand and Screentime Australia respectively.
King of Chess wins the Innovation of the Year award at Norway’s Gullrutens Fagpris on April 22nd, 2015. Vegard Svingen and Stig Olav Kasin who are the creators and producers of King of Chess accepted the prestigious TV award. King of Chess is an entertaining studio-based TV show where viewers join forces for an epic chess fight against the world’s number one chess player. Find out more about the awards here: http://gullruten.no/fagprisen/fagprisen-2015/#vinnere-nominerte
Banijay International’s line up for MIP-TV 2015 is a varied mix of entertainment and exciting formats in addition to captivating, high-stakes reality programming. Launching for the first time in Cannes is the uplifting and life-affirming format Something Special where disabled athletes get to compete in the Special Olympics in Los Angeles. Homes At Risk sees families on the brink of financial disaster – can they be helped by experts before they lose everything? In King of Chess a young champion takes on the whole country in an interactive multiplatform battle of strategy. Not forgetting the landmark reality telenovela format Breaking Love – where beautiful celebrity couples must avoid the lure of other partners during a luxurious sun-kissed holiday. Studio-based entertainment formats include Ultimate Star Quiz an exciting quiz show where 14 celebrities fight to win answering questions on the 80’s, 90’s, reality TV… each episode is built around a specific topic. While primetime Treasured Tunes engages an entire country in a unique search: to elect the nation’s favourite tune. Each week today’s hot talent perform classic songs from a selected decade with viewers at home voting for the ultimate winner. It’s Only TV sees a witty host put a panel of opinionated guests - TV commentators, comedians and stars - through their paces in a series of fast-paced segments that discuss and make fun of the latest shows and news in the TV world. It is an entertainment show where nothing is sacred, and anything can, and will, happen! In addition Banijay International’s MIP-TV 2015 slates also includes ‘high stakes’ programming which is gripping, surprising and delivers new twists that can fascinate and engage viewers around the world. As well as taking delivery of the critically acclaimed Australian reality series Outback ER and long-running hits including Booze Patrol and Descent from Disaster from producers within the Banijay Group, Banijay International has hand-picked a wide range of fresh content from around the globe, such as The Pioneers a factual entertainment series from leading US producer Hot Snakes Media, producers of the highly successful Breaking Amish. The Story Behind…, produced by POP TV, takes us behind the scenes of TV’s greatest hits and most iconic shows including Everybody Loves Raymond, Full House, Will and Grace, ER, Beverly Hills 90210 and Friends. Another new series for MIP-TV which looks at the incredible world of fandom from all angles is Rock This Boat: New Kids on the Block one of the hit shows which has come from the company’s exclusive deal with POP in the US. Returning series from Banijay International at MIP-TV include second seasons of the reality makeover with a twist Pound Pups to Dog Stars and heart-warming reality series Village Vets, produced by Screentime New Zealand and Screentime Australia respectively. MIP-TV Stand Number: Banijay Tent opposite the entrance to the Palais For additional show details please visit the website: www.banijayinternational.com
Jonathan Murray to continue with BMP as Executive Consultant. Company restructures for the future, adds production pods. Banijay Group’s reality powerhouse Bunim/Murray Productions (BMP), producers of longstanding franchises Real World, Project Runway and Keeping Up with the Kardashians, is repositioning for the future with the elevation of President Gil Goldschein to Chairman and CEO and a reorganization that will spur further growth, it was jointly announced today by Marco Bassetti, CEO Banijay Group and current BMP Chairman and Founder Jonathan Murray. Murray remains on board in a creative capacity and will be segueing to a new role as Executive Consultant that will allow him more time to develop series and documentary passion projects, and oversee some of the company’s longest running series. Goldschein, who played an integral role in the company’s fiscal and production growth over the last 14 years, will lead the company as it moves forward. He has consistently expanded the breadth and scope of BMP’s offering, having launched BMP Digital, BMP Latin, BMP’s documentary division and most recently its New York office. Goldschein, who previously served as General Counsel, has negotiated an unprecedented number of development and production deals, including the deal to produce Emmy Award-winning Project Runway and partner with Ryan Seacrest Productions to produce Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Over the past seven years, he has been instrumental in maintaining the company’s focus and guiding the internal greenlight process together with Murray, leading to the sale and production of more than 30 new shows across 14 networks and driving a 300 percent increase in revenue. Goldschein played a key role in expanding BMP’s global footprint by negotiating Banijay Group’s acquisition of the company in 2010. Goldschein will report to Bassetti. “Innovation is what has made this company strong,” said Murray. “I am confident that Gil is the one person who can ensure the company that Mary-Ellis Bunim and I founded 28 years ago continues to grow and thrive. As for myself, I want to focus more on making television and documentaries and less on managing the company. So I’m thrilled to have worked out a deal that allows me to continue doing this with my talented colleagues at Bunim/Murray and Banijay.” “An icon in this industry, Jon Murray is not only one of its leading creative forces, but someone who has always understood the importance of building a strong team. We are confident that under Gil’s new leadership BMP is extremely well positioned for the future,” added Bassetti. Restructuring for the Future Under Goldschein’s leadership, Jeff Jenkins, currently EVP of Entertainment and Programming, adds development to his title, becoming EVP of Development and Programming. Jenkins assumes creative and development responsibility for all docu-series and celeb-reality series. Julie Pizzi, who began her career at BMP, returns as EVP of Development and Programming, assuming creative and development responsibility for all format series. She will focus on increasing the development of original BMP formats and the production of existing BMP and Banijay formats in the U.S. She is currently Co-President at PB&J Television, which will now enter into a production pod deal with BMP. Current EVP of Original Programming and Development Scott Freeman will be transitioning to the newly created role of EVP of International, responsible for maintaining BMP’s relationship with Banijay’s international affiliates as well as international third-party producers and buyers. Freeman will focus on developing formats from those Banijay affiliates and others for the U.S. market. In addition, Freeman will continue as Executive Producer on The Challenge for MTV and the upcoming Valerie Bertinelli Food Network series. All three executives will report to Goldschein. “It is a testament to Jon and Mary-Ellis that we have such a strong pool of executives here to carry on their creative vision,” said Goldschein. “I am excited to keep up the BMP energy and pace as we continue to enter new areas of programming and accelerate further growth. Jeff Jenkins and Julie Pizzi, who are well known to the television community, will now lead our creative and development team while Scott Freeman will help us grow our production of foreign formats here in the U.S.” A 15-year BMP employee who began at the company in the story department, Jenkins is no stranger to docu-series and celeb-reality, having cut his teeth on The Simple Life with Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie. In his capacity as Executive Producer, he oversees E!’s most successful franchise, Keeping Up with the Kardashians (KUWTK) and all of its spinoffs. For KUWTK, he has served as showrunner and has helped identify new showrunners for each new series in the franchise. He also executive produces and oversees the series Total Divas, Love Thy Sister, Stewarts & Hamiltons and Dash Dolls. Before co-founding PB&J Television in 2004, Pizzi was a Creative Vice President and Showrunner at BMP for six years where she spearheaded development and executive produced several high-rated seasons of MTV’s Road Rules and Real World/Road Rules Challenge as well as VH1’s Born to Diva. Also a long-time BMP employee, having worked at the company for 20 years, Freeman has overseen a large slate of original and acquired projects developed, pitched and sold to broadcast and cable networks. He has also served as an Executive Producer on 13 seasons of The Challenge and its Aftershows for MTV, and the Disney TRYathlon specials for Disney XD. PB&J First Pod Deal PB&J Television is first in a line of pod deals for BMP and will be run by Pizzi’s Emmy Award-winning partner at PB&J Television, Patty Ivins. Under the PB&J Television banner, Pizzi and Ivins executive produced NBC’s Sports Illustrated: Swimsuit Model Search, Showtime’s Reversal of Fortune, ABC Family’s America’s Prom Queen, LOGO’s Bad Sex as well as four seasons of hit Style Network show Dress My Nest. Pizzi and Ivins have also produced many hours of programming for HGTV, Food Network, Syfy, Travel Channel, A&E, AMC, CMT, Lifetime, The CW, TLC and Discovery. Goldschein explains, “We are using pod deals to increase BMP’s volume of production and to expand into new areas of programming while also ‘doubling down’ on key areas of strength.”
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