Bunim/Murray Productions ups Julie Pizzi to president

Longtime Bunim/Murray executive Julie Pizzi, most recently president of entertainment and development at the Banijay-owned prodco, has been elevated to the position of company president. The announcement was made by Cris ...
February 24, 2021

Longtime Bunim/Murray executive Julie Pizzi, most recently president of entertainment and development at the Banijay-owned prodco, has been elevated to the position of company president.

The announcement was made by Cris Abrego, chairman of the Americas, Banijay, and president and CEO, Endemol Shine Holdings.

Last November, Bunim/Murray Productions was put under the purview of Abrego, who now oversees nine different Banijay-owned studios across North America and Latin America, including Endemol Shine North America. It is understood that Pizzi will now report to Abrego.

Most recently, Pizzi developed and served as executive producer on Bill Nye Saves the World for Netflix and was part of the team behind the Ball in the Family series on Facebook Watch. Pizzi also developed and led production on the three versions of The Real World that aired on Facebook in 2019 — Thailand, Mexico and Atlanta; Snapchat’s first docuseries Endless, Kim Kardashian West—The Justice Project for Oxygen and Family or Fiancé for OWN.

Previously, ​Pizzi served as creative vice president and showrunner at Bunim/Murray for six years, where she spearheaded development and executive produced high-rated seasons of Road Rules and Real World/Road Rules Challenge (MTV), as well as Born to Diva (VH1). She has continued to oversee the hit Challenge franchise for MTV, which is going into its 37th season.

In 2004, Pizzi left Bunim/Murray to launch award-winning reality and documentary company, PB&J Television. As co-president of PB&J, Pizzi executive produced Sports Illustrated: Swimsuit Model Search (NBC), Reversal of Fortune (Showtime), America’s Prom Queen (ABC Family) and Bad Sex (Logo), as well as four seasons of Dress My Nest for Style.

Pizzi returned to head up development at Bunim/Murray in 2015.

The news comes months after the announcement that another longtime Bunim/Murray executive, CEO Gil Goldschein, was leaving the company. While his departure was revealed in November, he remained with the company until February 15 to help with the transition.

“Julie brings a wealth of unscripted production experience to her new role and has been a part of the Bunim/Murray family for more than 20 years, making her the ideal candidate to lead the studio into the next decade,” said Abrego in a statement. “Bunim/Murray is one of the true pioneers in the unscripted industry and thanks to Julie and many others, it has a tremendous amount of momentum with numerous new ground-breaking series on the way.”

“I started my career at Bunim/Murray and was mentored by its founders, the late Mary-Ellis Bunim and Jonathan Murray,” offered Pizzi. “I have incredible admiration for the company they created and it’s important for me to continue to build on what they built in both nurturing creativity and developing content that is both innovative and entertaining.

“At the same time, I look forward to working with Cris Abrego, his team and Banijay globally as we shepherd Bunim/Murray into its next successful chapter,” she added. “Cris is an industry leader, who also worked at BMP during the company’s early years. He understands the uniqueness of the company, the brand and its culture.”

The company was formed in 1987 by Jonathan Murray and Mary-Ellis Bunim, and is behind several prominent unscripted franchises and series, including The Real World, Road Rules, Keeping Up With the Kardashians, Born This Way and The Challenge.

Earlier this month, ViacomCBS streaming service Paramount+ unveiled plans for another season of The Real World, slated to include members of the original cast that first appeared on the original MTV series.

About The Author
Andrew Tracy joined Realscreen as associate editor in 2021, following 17 years as managing editor of the award-winning international film magazine Cinema Scope. From 2010 to 2020 he also held the position of senior editor at the Toronto International Film Festival, where he oversaw the flagship publication for the organization’s year-round Cinematheque programming and edited its first original monograph in a decade, Steve Gravestock’s A History of Icelandic Film. He was a scriptwriter and consultant on the first season of the Vice TV series The Vice Guide to Film, and his writing and reporting have been featured in such outlets as Cinema Scope, Reverse Shot, Sight & Sound, Cineaste, Film Comment, MUBI Notebook, POV, and Montage.