Banijay Unveils Global Accelerator Program Banijay Launch To Support Emerging Women Unscripted Creators

Press Release

October 17, 2023

Media and entertainment powerhouse, Banijay, today launches a brand-new global accelerator program, designed to exclusively support women creators with promising unscripted formats. Unveiled at a prestigious breakfast in Cannes for MIPCOM 2023, Banijay Launch is geared towards discovering and incubating untapped talent, to support the next generation of global franchise makers.

Initiated by Sharon Levy, Chief Executive Officer, Endemol Shine North America, and co-led by James Townley, Chief Content Officer, Development at Banijay, Banijay Launch will provide a selected women mentorship by Banijay’s global collective of creatives to aid them in developing bold new formats from concept to pitch to sale, thereby supercharging the group’s burgeoning pipeline.

Conceived as an enterprise-level strategy to address gender inequity and fuel creativity, Banijay Launch will seek out undiscovered formats with international appeal, from an incredible pool of undiscovered women across the globe, providing a new opportunity for Banijay to further diversify both its talent and IP worldwide.

Banijay Launch was inspired by the Propelle program, a female-focused accelerator initiative created and developed in 2020 by Everywoman Studios’ CEO, Abby Greensfelder. With Levy and Endemol Shine North America partnering for two consecutive years with Everywoman Studios and Realscreen on the program, the pair have established a long-standing working relationship. Greensfelder consulted on the creation of Banijay Launch and will join the judging panel for the initiative’s inaugural year.

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. The institute is the only global data-driven, non-profit that researches diversity, equity, and inclusion onscreen in media and entertainment to mitigate unconscious bias, while fostering inclusion, and systematically reducing negative stereotyping. The ground-breaking study will investigate 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.

Entries are now OPEN at

How it works? Banijay will first select the top three to five finalists who will be mentored by a local creative (names disclosed in notes to editors) to develop their formats, with the aim of nurturing them to screen. The competition will culminate with a live pitch presentation before a judging panel led by Levy and Townley. Fellow judges include Marco Bassetti, Chief Executive Officer, Banijay; Pilar Blasco, Chief Executive Officer, Banijay Iberia; and Abby Greensfelder, Founder and CEO of Everywoman Studios. A winner will be crowned during London Screenings 2024.

Sharon Levy, CEO, Endemol Shine North America comments: “As a group, Banijay is constantly exploring new ways to support the broader content community, diversify its pipeline and ultimately, sharpen its creative edge. With an undisputed track record of travelling IP, expansive cross-territory network of first-class producers, and industry-leading unscripted infrastructure led by Creative Networks, the business is primed to open its doors to yet-to-be-discovered creative minds. Through Banijay Launch, and the partnership with the Geena Davis Institute, we hope to welcome women creators who may be struggling to have their voices heard, setting a new narrative for the industry, and fostering the next generation of break-out unscripted formats.”

Marco Bassetti, CEO, Banijay comments: “We are proud at Banijay to have over 50% of our managerial positions globally filled by women. However, we recognise 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 capitalise on the infrastructure and expertise of Creative Networks, Banijay’s central unscripted content department co-led by Townley and Lucas Green, Chief Content Officer, Operations.


Notes to editors:
Below are the local Banijay Launch ambassadors, all with a passion for empowering women creators and getting great new ideas into the Banijay creative pipeline. They will work locally to mentor their respective candidates through development to screen:

• Australia: Amelia Fisk, Endemol Shine Australia
• Brazil: Natasha Szaniecki, Endemol Shine Brasil
• Denmark: Line Westi, Metronome
• Finland: Vera Olsson, Banijay Finland
• France: Leslie Blumberg, Air Productions
• Germany: Shona Fraser, Good Times
• Iberia: Sonia Perez, Cuarzo Producciones
• India: Mrinalini Jain, Banijay Asia
• Israel: Lee Gaon, Endemol Shine Israel
• Italy: Francesco Lauber, Banijay Italia
• Mexico: Marie Leguizamo, Banijay Mexico and US Hispanic (Mexico & Latin America)
• Norway: Hege Hansen, Mastiff Norway
• Sweden: Miranda Kroge, Mastiff Sweden
• UK: Claire O’Donohoe, Remarkable, Initial, and ZnakTV
• USA: Chachi Senior, Truly Original


Hollywood Reporter: MIPCOM: Banijay Launches Program to Support Women Creatives in the Non-Scripted TV Business