Exclusive: Endemol Shine USA firms up unscripted team

Endemol Shine USA has finalized its alternative programming team, with Linda Giambrone (pictured, right) named as executive VP and head of unscripted production, and Georgie Hurford-Jones (center) coming on board as senior VP of unscripted programming. (Pictured, left: Eden Gaha)
June 1, 2015

Endemol Shine USA has finalized its unscripted programming team, with former BBC Worldwide exec Linda Giambrone (pictured, right) joining as executive VP and head of unscripted production, and former America’s Got Talent producer Georgie Hurford-Jones (center) coming on board as senior VP of unscripted programming.

The restructuring of the company – which is the unscripted U.S. division of Endemol Shine North America, the global producer and distributor of such franchises as Big Brother, MasterChef and The Biggest Loser - brings together unscripted teams from Endemol USA and Shine America, and comes just months after Endemol Shine Group unveiled the divisional executive structure of its North American arm, with Eden Gaha (pictured, left) helming unscripted. The company most recently inked an overall producing deal with former American Idol judge and producer Randy Jackson.

On the production side at Endemol Shine USA, Giambrone – who was formerly executive VP and head of production for Shine America – will now oversee all unscripted production. Prior to joining Shine, the exec served as senior VP of BBC Worldwide Productions, where she was responsible for unscripted programming as well as overseeing the launch of Dancing With the Stars on ABC.

Over in programming, Georgie Hurford-Jones has been named senior VP of unscripted programming. The exec previously oversaw NBC’s America’s Got Talent after working on ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent while she was senior VP of the Simon Cowell-helmed indie Syco TV. She was also formerly in charge of the ITV series Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway.

Endemol Shine USA has also made a number of additional executive promotions that see Michael Weinberg being upped to senior VP of development; Rachel Dax getting promoted to senior VP of unscripted production; and Robin Feinberg taking on the senior VP of unscripted programming position.

Elsewhere, Laura Gibson and Christopher Potts have both joined the company as VPs of unscripted development, reporting to senior VP of the division Chris Culvenor.

Gibson was formerly at AOC Productions, where she was head of development overseeing entertainment formats and scripted programming, while Potts comes to Endemol Shine from Lionsgate’s Banca Studio, where he served as VP of development, managing such shows as Celebrity Liar (CW) and Christina Milian: Turned Up (E!).

Speaking to realscreen about his direction for unscripted, Gaha says the company is conscious of what buyers expect and will continue to place a “major focus” on game shows, competition series and big formats.

“The beauty of merging two great companies like Endemol and Shine is they already have an identity, a brand, a track record,” says Gaha. “So we’re very conscious of the kinds of shows we want to develop, but also the kinds of shows our buyers expect to see us develop and want to see from us. So we’re heavily focused on the things we’ve always done well.”

Commenting on the appointments of producers such as Hurford-Jones – whose producing credits include The X FactorAmerica’s Got Talent and Sing Your Face Off - as well as Dancing with the Stars producer Giambrone, Gaha says they come as Endemol Shine North America looks to build formats with international reach.

“What we have to develop for the sake of this company and our international partners is formats that will travel,” says the exec, adding the company will continue eyeing big-scale entertainment formats.

Gaha – who has served in his role at Endemol Shine USA since March – also calls the company’s latest offering, the self-shot survival series The Island, a “turn of the dial” and says viewers can expect more programming using the same technique.

“What we like about it is that there’s an authenticity to it,” says Gaha. “I think that the genre of unscripted television has matured to the point that in 10 or so years, people have seen what we do, they’ve seen all the tricks, and they want to see something fresh, new and authentic. We’re really hopeful this new style of shooting – where participants themselves aren’t playing for anything other than the story they need to tell – will take off into a new direction.”


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