Jon Murray stepping down at Bunim/Murray

The co-founder of the Real World prodco is segueing into the role of executive consultant, with president Gil Goldschein being upped to chairman and CEO.
April 7, 2015

Jonathan Murray, co-founder of reality powerhouse Bunim/Murray Productions, is stepping down as chairman of the company, with current president Gil Goldschein being upped to chairman and CEO.

Murray co-founded the prodco with Mary-Ellis Bunim in 1987. It’s behind MTV’s long-running The Real World, often cited as the series that kicked the reality genre into high gear, as well as Keeping Up With the Kardashians (with Ryan Seacrest Productions), Project Runway (with TWC and Full Picture Entertainment) and several other unscripted hits. Bunim/Murray Productions was acquired by the Paris-based Banijay Group in 2010.

Goldschein will report to Banijay Group CEO Marco Bassetti, while Murray will segue into the role of executive consultant.

“Innovation is what has made this company strong,” said Murray in a statement. “I am confident that Gil is the one person who can ensure the company that Mary-Ellis Bunim and I founded 28 years ago continues to grow and thrive.

“As for myself, I want to focus more on making television and documentaries and less on managing the company,” he added. “So I’m thrilled to have worked out a deal that allows me to continue doing this with my talented colleagues at Bunim/Murray and Banijay.”

The company restructuring will see Jeff Jenkins, currently EVP of entertainment and programming, adding development to his portfolio, while Julie Pizzi, co-founder of PB&J Television and a former creative VP and showrunner at Bunim/Murray, will return to the company as EVP of development and programming, overseeing formats. PB&J will now enter into a production pod deal with Bunim/Murray Productions. Current EVP of original programming and development Scott Freeman will take on the new role of EVP, international.

“It is a testament to Jon and Mary-Ellis that we have such a strong pool of executives here to carry on their creative vision,” said Goldschein. “I am excited to keep up the BMP energy and pace as we continue to enter new areas of programming and accelerate further growth. Jeff Jenkins and Julie Pizzi, who are well known to the television community, will now lead our creative and development team while Scott Freeman will help us grow our production of foreign formats here in the U.S.”

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.