Format giant Banijay chooses Australian unscripted format to develop after global search


Freelancer Amber Kane will now develop Double Act after winning pitch in London

After attracting 500+ applications from 30+ territories, Australian Amber Kane has been named joint winner of the Banijay Launch program.

She shared first place with Emily Wilson from the UK.

Kane’s winning program concept was a high-octane variety talent concept, Double Act. Wilson’s was an original psychological dating format, Can’t Buy My Love.

The Banijay judges commended both entries as “fantastic ideas with significant international appeal.”

Designed to exclusively support women creators with promising unscripted formats, Banijay Launch was unveiled at MIPCOM 2023.

The four Banijay Launch finalists in London last week

Four finalists pitch projects in London

The four finalists were from Australia (Amber Kane), UK (Emily Wilson), France (Yasmina Salmandjee), and Denmark (Lisbet Winther).

All four were taken to London last week for the grand finale, where they pitched their ideas to a jury comprising Endemol Shine North America CEO, Sharon Levy; Banijay chief content officer, development, James Townley; Banijay chief business officer, Fred Balmary; Banijay Iberia CEO, Pilar Blasco; and founder and CEO of Everywoman Studios, Abby Greensfelder.

Kane’s idea was credited by the judges for its brilliant reality elements, highly-clipable offering, and the way in which it taps into the zeitgeist of the “mash-up” in a spectacular way to create a new competition show.

Wilson’s concept was selected by judges for its twists and turns, strong format pillars, brandable moments, and original “gifting” concept everyone can identify with.

Sharon Levy, CEO, Endemol Shine North America said: “Banijay Launch was envisioned as a bridge for women to gain access to our industry, and based on the sheer volume and quality of pitches we received, its time was long overdue. Mirroring the global reach of Banijay, we heard from applicants far and wide, and I hope the result illustrates just how strong the four finalists were.

“The two fantastic women who share the ‘winner’ title had unbelievably competitive ideas that were well- pitched, original, and highly sellable. The ambassadors and Banijay at-large feel fortunate to continue collaborating with them to bring their amazing concepts to life. We are all so proud to have played a role in opening the door to the next generation of talent, and with the study results from the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media imminent, we hope to keep doing more to foster a wider community of women in non-scripted.”

Amber Kane (left) and Emily Wilson

Endemol Shine Australia’s Amelia Fisk mentored Aussie entry

Amber Kane said: “I still can’t quite believe it. I had been working on Double Act for six years and it always felt taking it to screen may be impossible given the continued challenges for women in the content industry.

“Banijay Launch truly opened the door for me. Working with the talented Amelia Fisk, I have not only strengthened my idea but also my confidence in pitching, and I look forward to continuing to partner with her, and Banijay’s Creative Networks, in hopefully landing my idea on-screen. I am hugely thankful for the opportunity and feel inspired to keep going with creating great formats for the world to enjoy.”

Fisk is an Endemol Shine Australia director of content.

Emily Wilson said: “As a huge reality TV fan, it was always my dream to create my very own unscripted format that could transcend audiences across the globe. In Can’t Buy My Love I feel I have crafted an original show that I truly believe has all the elements for success, and with the help of Banijay, and my brilliant mentor Claire O’Donohoe, could tap into the buyer demand for social experiments everywhere. I’m hugely grateful for this life-changing experience and look forward to seeing where this opportunity can take me in a career capacity.”

Both Kane and Wilson will now work with their ambassadors and Banijay’s Creative Networks to develop their ideas further, and the group hopes to unveil both ideas fully at launch.

Top image: Sharon Levy, CEO, Endemol Shine North America  with Emily Wilson and Anber Kane

See also: NSW Government supports Endemol Shine Australia’s training program expansion

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