Leading independent production company Banijay has launched a global accelerator program designed to support women creators in the non-scripted television business.
Sharon Levy, CEO of Endemol Shine North America, announced the new program together with Banijay Chief Content Officer James Townley, at the international television conference MIPCOM Cannes on Tuesday.
The program, Banijay Launch, will accept pitches from female creators for non-scripted formats. Banijay will select the top three to five most promising pitches and pair the creatives up with selected women from Banijay’s global collective of established talents for mentorships to aid them in turning their pitches from concept to pitch to sale. The competition will culminate with a live pitch presentation before a judging panel led by Levy and Townley. Fellow judges include Marco Bassetti, CEO of Banijay; Pilar Blasco, CEO of Banijay Iberia; and Abby Greensfelder, founder and CEO of Everywoman Studios. A winner will be crowned during London Screenings 2024.
Entries are now open at www.banijaylaunch.com.
Banijay Launch was inspired by the Propelle program, a female-focused accelerator initiative created and developed in 2020 by Everywoman Studios’ CEO, Abby Greensfelder, who appeared on stage with Banijay executives in Cannes on Tuesday. To support the program, Banijay Americas has commissioned a first-of-its-kind study with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, in partnership with Everywoman Studios, to collect concrete data on women’s inclusion in creative leadership roles in unscripted production across four distinct territories: Brazil, the U.K. and U.S., and one EU territory to be determined. Greensfelder noted that all gender representation studies so far have been focused solely on the scripted TV business.
“We are proud at Banijay to have over 50 percent of our managerial positions globally filled by women,” said Banijay CEO Marco Bassetti. “However, we recognize the landscape has not always supported this demographic of creators in breaking through. With Banijay Launch, we are vested in spearheading a raft of new unscripted format ideas, ideated by women, and in doing so, we hope to bring new voices and talent to the market, with the potential of creating the next Survivor, MasterChef, or Big Brother.”
The initiative will capitalize on the infrastructure and expertise of Creative Networks, Banijay’s central unscripted content department co-led by Townley and chief content officer, Operations Lucas Green.