While MasterChef Australia is produced by FremantleMedia Australia, Junior Masterchef will be produced this year by Shine Australia for Network TEN.
The newly-established production company retains the rights for the MasterChef spin-off from its parent Shine Group, which licensed the rights to the original show to FremantleMedia. The deal did not include FremantleMedia having all spin-off rights.
Shine Group CEO Elisabeth Murdoch launched the new production company in Melbourne today at George Calombaris’, Press Club restaurant. She was joined by her joint Australian CEOs, Mark and Carl Fennessy, formerly of FremantleMedia Australia.
Junior MasterChef which is hinting at a 10 x 60 series for 8-12 year olds, will access the MasterChef kitchen for filming following the upcoming series by FremantleMedia. While production and programming deals are still being discussed with TEN, the show is tipped for a post-Commonwealth Games launch.
Mark Fennessy said The Biggest Loser franchise is also in its final contract to FremantleMedia and Shine would resume controlling the rights at the end of 2010.
He indicated both Seven and Nine had put up their hand with interest. Shine Australia was in discussions with all three commercial Free to Air broadcasters over its titles.
“We’ll be making a multi-year deal,” he said.
Fennessy also said the new SBS quiz show, based on France’s Letters and Numbers has plans for 200 episodes. 100 have been approved by the broadcaster under a title yet to be determined.
Shine Australia also has an exclusive output deal with RDF Media in Australia which has titles including Wife Swap, Ladette to Lady, The Secret Millionaire, How to Look Good Naked, Relocation Relocation and How the Other Half Live, -currently in production for Seven.
The Shine Group, which is established in 10 territories, is the parent group of production companies Dragonfly, Kudos, Princess Productions, Reveille, Shine TV and Shine Germany; international sales company Shine Reveille International and film production arm Shine Pictures.
Today, CEO Elisabeth Murdoch acknowledged the media launch of the company at a lunch in the building which was formerly home to News Limited’s Herald Sun building.
“This is a market I would never take lightly,” she said. “Carl and Mark are the only two people for the job. I couldn’t have done it without them.”