Exclusive: Shine America expands unscripted team via BBC exec

MasterChef firm Shine America - the U.S. arm of global production and distribution firm Shine Group - has appointed former BBC Worldwide exec Michael Brooks (pictured) as its senior VP of unscripted programming.
June 3, 2014

MasterChef firm Shine America – the U.S. arm of global production and distribution firm Shine Group – has appointed former BBC Worldwide Productions exec Michael Brooks (pictured) as its senior VP of unscripted programming.

Brooks, who previously served as senior VP of entertainment programming and development at BBC Worldwide Productions and Adjacent Productions, will oversee the current production of many of the company’s unscripted series, and report to Paul Franklin, Shine’s exec VP of current unscripted.

Brooks joined the BBC in 2010 and worked with the pubcaster’s producers and rights holders, the UK’s independent production community and U.S. talent to develop new programming and re-format titles for American cable and broadcast networks. His credits include Top Gear (History), Breaking Pointe (The CW) and Ladies of London (Bravo). 

The hire marks Shine’s continued expansion into unscripted and its efforts to break into the docuseries and games sphere.

CEO Rich Ross, who joined the company in 2012, told realscreen that Shine has worked on diversifying its portfolio to match buyers’ desires.

“We have a very strong business in our current business of competitive reality with Biggest Loser and MasterChef and we figured we needed to broaden that out,” said Ross.

This strategy has meant launching game development group Ardaban, and bringing in senior VP of factual entertainment Mike Aho to oversee docuseries.

The exec says that the addition of Brooks to the team will help Franklin better manage the company’s growing slate of productions.

“We have a level of commitment to the quality themes we have, and we’re building on the strength of our team,” said Ross. “Franklin is but one man with a tremendous capability and we needed to bring on a senior exec who can focus on production and also have those kinds of relationships with our buyers.”

The company’s upcoming series include competitive reality series Restaurant Start-up, which will launch in July on CNBC, and feature a face-off between MasterChef’s Joe Bastianich and celebrity chef Tim Love, and variety show format Fake-Off for TruTV, where teams of performers recreate iconic moments in pop culture.

The CEO noted the current demand for social experiments and location-based programming, and said Shine is “aggressively pursuing” the trends, with further announcements to be made in the future.

However, Ross would not comment on the proposed merger between Shine Group and the Apollo Global Management-controlled producers Endemol and Core Media Group, but said that at this point, Shine America is “running business as usual.”

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.