Bunim/Murray ups Jenkins, Pizzi to co-president role

Jeff Jenkins (left) will have oversight of the prodco's celeb-reality projects and docuseries, while Julie Pizzi (right) will be responsible for its formatted shows.
August 31, 2016

Banijay Group-owned Bunim/Murray Productions (BMP) has upped both Jeff Jenkins  and Julie Pizzi from EVPs of development and programming to the shared title of co-president of entertainment and development.

Also getting a promotion is EP and showrunner Farnaz Farjam, who now assumes the role of VP of current programming.

Producers Erica Ross and Dave Sambuchi join the company as vice presidents of development. They will report to Jenkins and Pizzi, who will continue to report to Gil Goldschein, chair and CEO of the prodco behind the longstanding reality franchises The Real World, Project Runway and Keeping Up with the Kardashians.

In his new role, Jenkins will have creative and development responsibility for BMP’s celeb-reality series and docuseries. Jenkins currently serves as executive producer on the Kardashians franchise.

Pizzi began her career at BMP by spearheading development and exec producing various seasons of MTV’s Road Rules and Real World/Road Rules Challenge and then served as co-president at PB&J Television, returning to BMP in April of 2015. She is tasked with creating, developing and producing formatted series for the prodco.

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, including three for Project Runway (Lifetime), and three for the premier season of Born This Way (A&E).

Coming up, BMP’s docuseries Mariah’s World, is slated to premiere Dec. 4, giving viewers access to the singer, songwriter and producer as she begins her “Sweet Sweet Fantasy” tour. Also coming soon are the Total Divas spinoff, Total Bellas, premiering Oct. 5 and featuring WWE stars Nikki and Brie Bella; and Cosmo Life, chronicling the lifestyles of a group of young tastemakers at Cosmopolitan magazine. All will will air on E!, and will be exec produced by Jenkins.

Meanwhile, BET’s The Gary Owen Show, an unscripted series chronicling the life of American comedian Gary Owen and his offbeat multiracial family, will premiere Oct. 11, and National Geographic Channel’s one-night live broadcast event, Earth Live! (working title), which it is producing in association with Berman Productions, will premiere in 2017.

“A year ago, we announced a renewed focus on developing new shows for a wide range of networks and audiences. With the help of Jeff and Julie, we’ve had our best year yet, and now with the two of them as Co-Presidents of Entertainment and Development, we are positioning BMP for continued growth moving forward,” said Goldschein in a statement. “We are also building our next level of management, and we’re thrilled to promote Farnaz, one of the best producers in the business as well as add Erica and Dave to bolster our current programming and development departments.”

(With files from Barry Walsh)

About The Author
Managing editor with realscreen publication, an international print and online magazine that covers the non-fiction film and television industries. Darah is an award-winning journalist who has spent over two decades covering a wide range of issues from real estate and urban development to immigration, politics and human rights, primarily with The Vancouver Sun. Prior to joining realscreen, she was editor of Stream Daily, realscreen's sister publication covering the dynamic global digital video industry. She also served a stint as a war reporter in Afghanistan for television and print, and was a national business blogger with Yahoo Canada.