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Shine Promotes ‘MasterChef’ Steward Paula Warwick To Head Of Int’l Productions

By | Monday February 27, 2012 @ 6:28am PST

LONDON, FEBRUARY 27 2012: Shine Network, the Shine Group division responsible for the international development, acceleration and editorial stewardship of formats that include MasterChef, The Biggest Loser, One Born Every Minute, Got To Dance and The Magicians, has promoted Paula Warwick to Head of International Productions, it was announced today.

Warwick is currently Creative Director at Shine Network. Her promotion, which takes place with immediate effect, will see her continue to work with all of the Shine Group companies and international production partners, producing formats for different markets and acting as a consultant executive producer on formats licensed to third-party producers.

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Global Showbiz Briefs: Hong Kong, Europe, UK, Australia

Run Run Shaw To Retire – At 104
At 104-years-old, legendary producer and TV mogul Run Run Shaw is to retire as chairman of Hong Kong’s Television Broadcasts Ltd. Shaw is lately known for co-founding TVB which is one of the world’s biggest producers of Chinese-language programming, but he started his career in the film business dating back to 1920s China and has produced hundreds of films. He is also known for having been one of the backers of Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. TVB has been something of a proving ground with such talent as Chow Yun-fat and Andy Lau getting a start there. Bloomberg reports that Shaw will step down at the end of the year to be replaced by the quarter-century younger Norman Leung.

EFP Names Shooting Stars
Ten European actors have been selected as Shooting Stars 2012. European Film Promotion will showcase the newcomers at the Berlin Film Festival in February. In all, 23 candidates were nominated by a jury of internationally established film industry pros. Shooting Stars is supported by the EU’s MEDIA Programme and EFP’s member orgs. The chosen group has had breakout perfs in their home territories and are those considered most ripe to make the jump to international work. Previous talent selected as Shooting Stars includes Carey Mulligan and Melanie Laurent. The Shooting Stars 2012 (pictured above) are as follows: Adele … Read More »

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Endemol Puts Time Warner’s $1.4B Offer On Hold Pending Debt-For-Equity Swap

By | Monday November 21, 2011 @ 12:16pm PST

The creditors of Endemol — the Dutch reality TV company whose series include Big Brother – are hoping that they can elicit a higher bid following a restructuring. They’ve set a December 13 deadline for a planned debt-for-equity swap designed to reduce the company’s debt to $670M from $3.7B, Italy’s La Repubblica says. Apollo Management, Centerbridge, and Providence Equity Partners and banks including Barclays and RBS are among Endemol’s biggest creditors.  Company officials made no secret of their disdain for the Time Warner offer, which one insider referred to as “rock bottom.” It values the company at seven times its expected $192M earnings this year before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) — far less than the 12 times EBITDA multiple that Rupert Murdoch paid for his daughter Elisabeth’s Shine Group. Endemol founder John De Mol’s investment vehicle Cyrte is said to have wooed Ronald Goes, head of international TV production at Warner Bros, into making the bid; the Dutch Time Warner executive used to be COO of Endemol. Cyrte and the other leading shareholders — former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Mediaset and Goldman Sachs’ Capital Partners — are exploring several options for the company. For example, Mediaset has tried to persuade UK broadcaster ITV to buy it.

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MIPCOM Briefs: ITV Sells NBC’s ‘Prime Suspect’ To 30 Territories; Overseas Buyers Get ‘Happily Divorced’

The international TV market got underway in Cannes this morning with a flurry of announcements. Here are a few titbits:

– ITV Studios Global Entertainment, the TV distribution arm of the Brit broadcaster, has sold the new NBC version of Prime Suspect to over 30 territories worldwide. This is despite the show teetering on the verge of cancellation in the U.S. ITV, which co-produced the remake with Universal Media Studios, has licensed the Maria Bello vehicle to broadcasters including Nine (Australia), TVNZ (New Zealand) and TV3 (Ireland). Prime Suspect drew an underwhelming 1.5 18-49 rating in its second week on NBC. My colleague Nellie Andreeva reports that NBC’s chief Bob Greenblatt is willing to give the struggling show, which got mostly positive reviews, a bit more time.

– Meanwhile Shine International, the TV distribution arm of News Corp’s Shine Group, has licensed more than 200 hours of programming to Discovery Networks Latin America/US Hispanic. It’s the biggest commission Shine has brokered with DLA/USH to date, and includes cooking competition show MasterChef, game show The Biggest Loser, and unscripted format One Born Every Minute. Read More »

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Reveille Launches First-Run Syndication Division, Taps Eric Pankowski To Head It

By | Thursday September 29, 2011 @ 2:18pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Reveille is entering the first-run syndication arena. The production company owned by News Corp’s Shine Group has tapped syndication executive Eric Pankowski for the newly created position of SVP Creative Affairs. In that role, he will oversee the development of syndicated programming for Reveille, a new area for the company known primarily for scripted and unscripted network shows such as The Office, The Biggest Loser and MasterChef as well as online series. Pankowski most recently served as SVP of Jim Paratore’s company, paraMedia inc., and previously worked at Telepictures. Additionally, Reveille president Eden Gaha, who joined the company in May after a long stint at Mark Burnett Prods, has brought in another veteran MBP executive, Chris Campbell, to serve as Executive in Charge of Post Production. Campbell had served in the same capacity at MBP since 2002. Also joining Reveille’s executive team is Jake Smith as Executive Director, Branded Entertainment, Digital. He was a partner and senior producer at Mindshare Entertainment North America.

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Shine Group Buys Into Social Games Biz

By | Friday September 16, 2011 @ 12:40pm PDT

Shine Group is looking to give its TV properties a new platform with the acquisition of Bossa Studios, a London-based social gaming company. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. Bossa is a new player in the space and just launched its first title today on Facebook; the plan going forward is to create games for Shine’s TV properties, which include everything from The Tudors to MasterChef and The Biggest Loser. “As a global content company, we are committed to producing exceptional experiences across multiple platforms,” Shine boss Elisabeth Murdoch said in a statement unveiling the deal today. “We have long identified social gaming as a critical component to this strategy.” The buy into the digital space is first for Murdoch’s Shine, which in February was purchased by Elisabeth’s father Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp for $680 million, a deal that critics — including some shareholder groups — argue was too rich and smacked of nepotism when it was revealed Elisabeth received $214 million in the sale. The backlash resulted in a shareholder lawsuit challenging the tie-up and Elisabeth opting to not take a seat on her father’s board of directors as planned.

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Elisabeth Murdoch Out Of Edinburgh Fest; Google’s Schmidt To Give Keynote Speech

Elisabeth Murdoch has backed out on a planned talk at this weekend’s Edinburgh International TV Festival. The Shine Group founder became convinced questions about phone hacking at Shine parent News Corp would dominate any appearance, a spokesman said Monday. Shine was purchased earlier this year by her father Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp for $680M. Her planned ascension to the News Corp board was put on hold in the wake of the phone hacking scandal and a shareholder lawsuit over the inside nature of the sale which sent a whopping $212M her way.

The Edinburgh International TV Festival is the UK industry’s most prestigious gathering. That’s why Google chairman Eric Schmidt is giving the keynote MacTaggart lecture Friday. He’s the first person outside the broadcasting arena to do so. News reports say he’s expected to offer an olive branch after years of fighting lawsuits from broadcasters and film studios over copyright infringement. Though his speech is still secret, he’s expected to tell content-providers, “Google needs you”.

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Shine Sale Nets Elisabeth Murdoch $214M

By | Wednesday August 17, 2011 @ 8:21am PDT

News Corp shareholders thought Rupert Murdoch’s $675 million acquisition of daughter Elisabeth’s indie production company Shine Group back in April was enough of a sweetheart deal that they have filed lawsuits to challenge it. But it wasn’t revealed how much Elisabeth made — $214 million — until News Corp made its annual SEC filing Monday. Most of the purchase went to Shine’s equity partners, the filing said. Elisabeth Murdoch was the majority shareholder in Shine, which she has grown by purchasing local production companies; she bought The Office producer Reveille in 2008. After the News Corp-Shine deal was announced, Rupert Murdoch said his daughter would join News Corp’s board of directors alongside he and sons James and Lachlan. But those plans were scrapped for the time being earlier this month as part of the fallout from the growing News of the World scandal in the UK and questions about the conglomerate’s corporate governance.

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WHAT CRISIS? Defiant Sky Focuses On Ambitious Slate In Face Of News Corp Mess

Sky in late July announced its fall original TV line-up. New comedy shows include Gates, script-edited by Jennifer Saunders (Absolutely Fabulous); Starlings, executive produced by Steve Coogan; and Spy, starring Brit TV mainstay Robert Lindsay about a father and son who are both secret agents. Fall dramas include the return of Strike Back, the first co-production between Sky and HBO/Cinemax, and a new version of Treasure Island, starring Elijah Wood, Eddie Izzard and Donald Sutherland. Mad Dogs, Sky’s psychological thriller, returns for a second season in January. And Naveen Andrews (Lost) stars in Sinbad, Sky’s biggest original drama commission yet, due to air fall 2012.

These new Sky shows are part of the $951 million annual push into original TV production announced by Jeremy Darroch, CEO of BSkyB. In a TV economy in which cash from other broadcasters is drying up, Sky’s move into home-grown programming is a welcome UK boost. Until now, Sky has mainly relied on movies and sports to drive subscribers. and it has relied on U.S. shows such as The Simpsons, Lost and 24 to attract customers. This is about to change. Original drama hours will more than triple to 60 hours a week by 2014. Sky currently spends $619 million a year on original content. BSkyB has huge financial resources to support its programming ambitions. The company reported a 10% rise in revenue in the year-end to June 2011 to $10.7 billion. Enders Analysis, the London-based research house, predicts BSkyB’s revenues will rise to $13.2 billion in 2015, exceeding the combined revenues of rivals the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Five. Sophie Turner-Laing, managing director of entertainment and news, tells me that Sky Studios will be at the heart of this programming push. “We so wanted to have entertainment produced on site,” she says.

BSkyB is not just making new shows for its Sky1 general entertainment channel. It is also developing bigger projects for its Sky Atlantic channel to sit alongside U.S. imports Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones and Blue Bloods. Three U.S. networks, including at least one cable channel, are vying to buy Hit and Miss, Sky’s first original program for Sky Atlantic. Chloe Sevigny stars as a transsexual hit-woman in Hit and Miss, which is currently filming in Manchester. The show is executive produced by Paul Abbott, who wrote BBC drama State of Play.

Sky is pushing hard into original TV partly because it is becoming increasingly difficult to attract new subscribers. Sky has spent heavily on Hollywood movies and sports to reach its current 10.1 million customers. It wants to add entertainment to attract those who have resisted Sky so far. The move will allow Sky to appear better value to new and existing customers. And, in particular, attract more women, who aren’t so keen on premium sports and movies. Sam Chisholm, a previous Sky CEO, has described BSkyB’s lack of women customers as the “female handbrake” holding it back. Backed up by the $1.8 billion Sky spends on marketing each year – which includes subsidising all its set-top boxes — the broadcaster hopes to release the female handbrake.

David Elstein, former BSkyB director of programmes, says the broadcaster has reached the point where it has to show not just more but better programs as well. “It took HBO 20 years to reach that stage so BSkyB is on track,” he said. “There is a limit to what return you get from spending on sport, there is nothing more to be done on movies, there are no new channels to induce into the Sky package, technology investment has peaked. But Elstein remains bullish on its long-term prospects. ”BSkyB will see itself competing with HBO, AMC and Showtime in terms of drama and perhaps comedy, rather than the BBC and ITV.”

Meanwhile just completed is Sky Studios, the pay-TV behemoth’s new $379 million TV facility that opened in July. What a difference from two decades ago when Rupert Murdoch said his whole Sky TV enterprise was being launched on “a wing and a prayer. His News Corp would eventually craft a $14 billion bid for complete control that is now a very public failed deal. Read More »

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Scandal Ruins Plan For Elisabeth Murdoch To Join News Corp Board For Now

With independent board members privately rebelling and institutional investors publicly complaining about inadequate corporate governance in the wake of the UK phone-hacking scandal, News Corp’s board of directors is scheduled to meet Tuesday in Los Angeles ahead of the company’s fiscal year-end earnings release the next day. Now the media giant’s Wall Street Journal is reporting that Elisabeth Murdoch and the media giant have shelved plans for her to join the board for now. The 42-year-old daughter of News Corp Chairman/CEO Rupert Murdoch was expected to join the board as part of her return to the company through News Corp’s acquisition of the Shine Group, the television-production company she runs. Rupert had even said in a news release in February that he expected her to join the board when the £415 million ($680 million) Shine acquisition was completed in April. News Corp independent director Viet Dinh said in a statement Friday that Elisabeth ”felt it would be inappropriate” to join the company board at its annual meeting later this year and the company’s independent directors agreed. Read More »

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Shine Group Continues Exec Restructuring With Top Shine USA & Shine Network Hires

By | Tuesday June 14, 2011 @ 5:08pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Shine Australia and New Zealand joint CEOs, brothers Carl and Mark Fennessy, have been given additional responsibilities within Shine Group. Carl Fennessy has been named CEO Shine USA. He will relocate to Los Angeles later this year and will be “responsible for driving the ongoing commercial strategy of the company,” reporting to CEO Shine Group Americas Emiliano Calemzuk. Mark Fennessy has been named President, Shine Network. He will oversee the exploitation of Shine formats such as MasterChef, The Biggest Loser and One Born Every Minute, focusing on creating co-productions in countries with no Shine Group presence. He will continue to operate from Sydney.

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Shine International President Chris Grant To Exit As Company Relocates To London

By | Tuesday May 10, 2011 @ 1:49pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

The last of Ben Silverman’s three musketeers who launched Reveille with him is leaving parent company Shine Group. Chris Grant, who has served as president of sales and distribution arm Shine International since Shine’s 2008 acquisition of Reveille, will depart later this year, along with his top lieutenant, EVP John Pollak. The move is a result of News Corp-owned Shine Group’s decision to relocate the headquarters of its sales and distribution unit to London, where Shine’s main offices are, from Los Angeles. Grant, who has chosen not to relocate, will work through a six-month transitional period and help in the search for a London-based successor. Shine Group President Alex Mahon will be taking oversight of Shine International in the interim. ”At this stage of the company’s growth, Shine International needs its headquarters alongside our teams that manage and exploit group formats, brands and digital rights, with local sales experts in our global production centres of excellence,” Mahon said.

Shine International will keep a presence in LA with a small office. Pollak will continue in his role as Head of Sales until the end of the year, remaining in the US. SVP Business and Operations Martin Rakusen will relocate to the London office. “I am incredibly proud of the substantial growth that Shine International has achieved since we started the company, and particularly in the last few years since joining the Shine Group,” Grant said. “These changes are absolutely right for the business at this point in its development, however, LA is my home, and rather than relocate, it is also a good time for me to allow my colleagues to build on the success we have, together, created.” Read More »

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Eden Gaha Named Reveille President

By | Friday May 6, 2011 @ 10:41am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

In light of the pending exit of Reveille managing director Howard T. Owens, Eden Gaha, a longtime Mark Burnett collaborator and showrunner of NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice, has been named Reveille president. Reveille’s parent company Shine Group had been looking to tap creative and producer types in the top management positions for the next phase of the company, and Gaha fits the bill. This has become an industry-wide trend over the past year, with several production companies appointing top producers for management posts, especially on the reality side, including  Zodiak USA. Gaha is not directly replacing Owens as Owens had been overseeing the entire Reveille slate: unscripted, scripted, digital and brand integration. Gaha will run the reality/digital/brand operations, while Shine Group Americas CEO Emiliano Calemzuk will oversee scripted development and production. Here is the release, which includes several other recent executive appointments at Reveille:

LOS ANGELES, CA (May 6, 2011) – It was announced today that Eden Gaha has been appointed to the position of President, Reveille, LLC. Show runner of the successful Celebrity Apprentice franchise since 2006, Gaha will head Reveille’s unscripted, creative, development, digital and brand integration departments. Starting in June, he joins a series of recent production hires at the Shine Group-owned company, and reports to Shine Group Americas CEO Emiliano Calemzuk, who will continue to oversee the company’s scripted output.

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Liz Murdoch’s Shine Staff Given Windfall

By | Wednesday April 20, 2011 @ 10:01am PDT

How’s this for a nice windfall? Shine has paid staff a flat bonus of £10,000 ($16,380), having finalized the £415 million takeover deal by News Corp. This is according to TV trade Television Business International. The flat bonus was paid last week to all permanent staff who had been at the TV production and distribution group for a year or longer irrespective of job title, though some senior managers would have had larger payouts because of shares and options held. Shine declined to comment but confirmed to TBI the bonus was paid to employees last Wednesday/Thursday by way of thanks for building the company before its sale to the Murdoch empire. It is not clear how many Shine employees have qualified for the bonus, though the group’s headcount can run to 1,000, depending on what is in production. Shine’s portfolio includes Reveille’s The Biggest Loser and The Office. The News Corp deal for Shine was announced in late February. It closed earlier this month. Remember that Liz Murdoch first set up Shine in 2001 bolstered by an output deal at Sky TV, the UK pay-TV giant controlled by her father Rupert.

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News Corp Completes Deal To Buy Shine Group

By | Tuesday April 5, 2011 @ 8:12am PDT

At one point there was a lawsuit in the U.S. that claimed the proposed deal made little sense and that Rupert Murdoch was “paying for nepotism” by buying his daughter Elisabeth’s TV production company. News Corp said the suit was “without merit”

New York, NY (April 5, 2011) — News Corporation today announced it has completed the acquisition of 100 percent of Shine Group, for which the Shine Group shareholders received approximately £290 million in aggregate proceeds

The transaction was approved by the Audit Committee of the News Corporation Board of Directors. The Audit Committee, which is composed entirely of independent directors, received advice and a fairness opinion from Centerview Partners, an independent investment bank, and legal advice from Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. News Corporation was advised by Hogan Lovells. J.P. Morgan acted as exclusive financial advisor to Shine Group, with legal advice from Olswang LLP in the U.K. and O’Melveny & Myers LLP in the U.S.

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Ollie Madden Replaces Paul Webster As Kudos/Shine Head Of Film

By | Thursday March 10, 2011 @ 5:46am PST

EXCLUSIVE: Kudos Pictures, the Brit TV and film company owned by Liz Murdoch’s Shine Group, has hired Oliver Madden from Warner Bros. to be its new film boss. Current Head of Film Paul Webster, now in post on Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, is returning to independent producing. He will exit Shine at the end of April but will continue to work with the company on upcoming film projects. Madden, current VP of production at Warner Bros. Entertainment UK, will join a slightly reconfigured Shine Pictures — Kudos’ joint venture with New Regency — in May, reporting to Kudos executive chairman Stephen Garrett. Shine’s current slate includes The Gray Man, an adaptation of Mark Greaney’s thriller; Eastern Promises 2; and an adaptation of Swedish bestselling thriller 3 Seconds, with writer Matt Cook attached. Recent Kudos productions include Brighton Rock.

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News Corp Buys Shine For $673M; Liz Murdoch To Join Board; Will Endemol Be Next On Rupe’s Shopping List?

The £415 million price tag is on the low end of what analysts had expected News Corporation to pay for the Brit independent TV company. The deal had been valued at anything up to £700 million ($1.1 billion). News Corp has bought Liz Murdoch’s company on a multiple of 8 times its estimated 2011 profits of £50 million. Liz Murdoch, who owns 53% of the company, is poised to make a personal fortune from the deal, worth up to £220 million. Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and CEO of News Corp, says he expects his daughter to join the News Corp board once the deal goes through. The Shine deal will now intensify the palace intrigue behind Rupert’s Big Media giant. Bringing Liz back inside the tent puts her back at the heart of decision making in News Corp. Though James Murdoch is the heir apparent, Rupe controls the company through a 37% voting interest and keeps saying he wants a family member, or even more than one, to run it when he’s gone. It’s not thought that Liz wants to replace James as her father’s heir apparent though.

Analysts say News Corp wanted to buy Shine — the 6th-largest independent TV production company in Britain, according to Televisual magazine — to boost its pipeline of programming for cable TV stations such as Sky in Europe and Fox in America. Shine produces hit shows such as The Tudors and Life On Mars. However … Read More »

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Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp In Talks To Buy Daughter Liz’s Shine Group

UPDATE: That’s the word from UK news media. It’s just one of a number of options being considered by Shine, one of the UK’s and America’s biggest independent production companies — it bought Ben Silverman’s Reveille — and thought to be worth between $980 million and $1.3 billion. Elizabeth Murdoch has appointed JP Morgan to advise on strategic options for her company, which is being courted by other TV companies as well as her Dad’s News Corp, according to The Guardian. JP Morgan is also advising Shine on potential acquisitions. It is understood that talks with News Corp have been “progressing well” but any deal is “not yet inevitable.” BSkyB, Murdoch’s pay-TV platform in the UK, already owns 13% of Shine. Liz owns 63% of Shine and another big backer is Sony Pictures Entertainment, which has 21% and announced back in 2009 that it wanted to sell its stake but nothing has happened since. As to why News Corp would want to buy Shine, I’m told it’s part of BSkyB’s ongoing push into upmarket original programming and that this would be the next logical step. Shine earned £265 million ($420 million) last year. And BSkyB has just built an enormous space-age TV building out in West London’s Isleworth – nicknamed “Skyberia” – to centralise operations. Shine’s sales tag does sound on the high side, given that it made EBITDA of $45 million in 2009.

But the question is: why has Liz Murdoch decided now might be the right time to … Read More »

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All3Media/Warner Deal ‘Not Happening’

There’s nothing to UK newspaper reports over the weekend that Time Warner is eyeing the independent TV producer as its next acquisition, I’m told. “There’s nothing to it and nobody’s aware of any offer to come,” one insider tells me. Time Warner is completing its £100 million ($159 million) takeover of Brit TV production company Shed Media. All3Media produces teen soap Hollyoaks for Channel 4 and ITV crime drama Midsummer Murders, which has sold to 204 countries. If Time Warner was to buy All3Media, then the combined Shed/All3Media would become the UK’s biggest independent production company with combined revenues of £316.7 million ($502 million), according to trade mag Broadcast. Shine Group, the UK’s biggest independent producer with turnover of £265 million, would be pushed into second place. Both All3Media and Time Warner declined to comment.

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