- Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016
- LOS ANGELES
Banijay Group’s reality house Bunim/Murray Productions (BMP), producers of longstanding franchises Real World, Project Runway and Keeping Up with the Kardashians, is expanding its management ranks to address the growth enjoyed by the company over the last year. BMP chairman and CEO Gil Goldschein announced the elevation of EVPs of development and programming Jeff Jenkins and Julie Pizzi to co-presidents of entertainment and development as well as the promotion of EP and showrunner Farnaz Farjam to VP of current programming. Producers Erica Ross and Dave Sambuchi join the company as VPs of development. They will report to Jenkins and Pizzi who will continue to report to Goldschein.
By the end of 2016, BMP will have had 18 shows on air across 11 networks. This year the company’s series received a total of six Emmy nominations, the most it has received in any given year. Project Runway (Lifetime) is up for three nominations including the “Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program” and the “Outstanding Reality-Competition Program” categories, and the premier season of Born This Way (A&E) also garnered three nominations including for “Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program,”
BMP’s highly anticipated series include Mariah’s World, a docu-series premiering December 4, that grants VIP access to singer, songwriter and producer Mariah Carey as she begins her “Sweet Sweet Fantasy” tour; Total Divas spinoff, Total Bellas, premiering October 5 with WWE superstars Nikki and Brie Bella; and Cosmo Life, set in one of the most glamorous epicenters of pop culture, Cosmopolitan Magazine and chronicling the work-hard, play-hard lifestyles of a group of young tastemakers at the cutting edge of what’s hot in music, fashion, style, beauty, sex and celebrities, all of which will air on E!. BET’s The Gary Owen Show, an unscripted series chronicling the life of America’s favorite honorary black comedian Gary Owen and his hilariously offbeat multiracial family, will premiere October 11, and National Geographic Channel’s one-night groundbreaking live broadcast event, Earth Live! , which it is producing in association with Berman Productions, will premiere in 2017.
Newly promoted Jenkins has creative and development responsibility for all docu-series and celeb-reality series. He oversees and serves as an EP on E!’s most successful franchise, Keeping Up with the Kardashians and all of its spinoffs, as well as the groundbreaking series, I Am Cait, which completed its second season this spring. Under his development leadership this year alone, Total Bellas was sold to series, as were Mariah’s World, Cosmo Life and Rob & Chyna (E!) and The Gary Owen Show (BET). Jenkins serves as EP on these upcoming series.
Pizzi is responsible for creating, developing and producing formatted series at BMP. Since re-joining the company a year ago, Pizzi has sold six projects to six different buyers, all of which are in various stages of development and production. Having begun her career at BMP spearheading development and executive producing high-rated seasons of MTV’s Road Rules and Real World/Road Rules Challenge as well as VH1’s Born to Diva, she returned to the company in April 2015 to focus on increasing the development of original BMP formats and the production of existing BMP and Banijay formats in the U.S. She was previously co-president at PB&J Television, which now has a production deal with BMP.
Farjam is one of BMP’s most talented producers and has helped popularize some of the company’s most watched and revolutionary docu-series, including the very first reality sitcom, The Simple Life (E!) as well as all of the series in the Keeping Up with the Kardashians (E!) franchise, which she has helped lead since its launch in 2007. Farjam has helped develop five successful spinoffs and a number of specials, including Kourtney & Khloe Take the Hamptons, Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami, Khloe & Lamar, Kourtney and Kim Take New York and Dash Dolls. She also serves as an EP of I Am Cait.
New hire Ross has been a longtime producer on several seasons of BMP’s The Challenge (MTV) as well as Dress My Nest (Style Network) and Pageant School: Becoming Miss America (CMT) for Pizzi’s PB&J Television. She also produced numerous seasons of popular Bravo series Top Chef, quickly moving up the ranks from segment producer to supervising producer, to co-executive producer in the most recent season.
A veteran reality television producer and developer, Sambuchi made a name for himself at the beginning of his career at MTV, contributing to shows such as Singled Out, the MTV Movie Awards, MTV Beach House and Spring Break specials, to name a few. In addition to producing hundreds of original challenges on major reality series including Project Runway (Lifetime), The Challenge and Road Rules (MTV) for BMP, Sambuchi has contributed to the development and sales of several successful series, worked with premier production companies including Magical Elves, GRB, Zodiak USA, Ping Pong Productions, eOne, Embassy Row and Shine America.