HRTS Unscripted: Back to the Future (2/15/2023) – Speakers

2/15/23 EVENT PAGE


Sharon Levy
CEO, Endemol Shine North America

Sharon Levy serves as Chief Executive Officer for Endemol Shine North America, the Banijay-owned independent production studio behind the Emmy Award-nominated LEGO Masters, MasterChef, and the highly-anticipated scripted drama Ripley. Named as one of the “Most Powerful Producers in Unscripted TV” by The Hollywood Reporter, Levy leads all aspects of the business and its growth.

Since joining Endemol Shine North America in 2017 as President, Unscripted and Scripted TV, Levy, an award-winning producer and executive, successfully reconfigured the studio’s Los Angeles-based programming team to work more closely with Banijay’s myriad global production companies. Her development slate includes new originals as well as projects with co-owned labels worldwide featuring marquis talent such as Will Arnett, John Cena, Nicole Byer, Keke Palmer, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, John Cusack, Steve Zaillian, Gillian Flynn, and more. In 2021, Levy was promoted to Chief Content Officer.

During her tenure with Endemol Shine North America, Levy has launched and overseen hits such as FOX’s wildly-successful and Emmy Award-nominated LEGO Masters , TBS’ revamped Wipeout, Foodtastic on Disney+, The Courtship (USA/Peacock), a new version of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition for HGTV, and the highly-anticipated original series, Ripley. Levy also leads Endemol Shine’s top-rated food competition franchises, MasterChef and MasterChef Junior.

Prior to joining Endemol Shine, Levy served as Executive Vice President of Original Series for Spike TV where she oversaw the acquisition, creation, and production of unscripted series, scripted series, and documentaries, successfully transforming the network’s brand identity with hits such as Ink Master, Bar Rescue, Auction Hunters, and Deadliest Warrior.

In 2022, Levy helped orchestrate a partnership between Endemol Shine North America and EveryWoman Studios to expand the Propelle Program, an initiative designed to give up-and-coming female creators more opportunities in unscripted TV. As part of this initiative, Endemol Shine North America underwrote a new format category within the Propelle Program, pairing female creators with industry mentors to help develop the next batch of unscripted hit series.


Ben Samek
CEO, Banijay Americas

Ben Samek serves as Chief Executive Officer for Banijay Americas, where he oversees the company’s award-winning independentproduction studios across two continents.    Samek joined Endemol USA in 2014 as Chief Operating Officer and transitioned to COO of Endemol Shine North America in 2015. Promoted to President and COO for Endemol Shine North America in January 2018, Samek expanded his areas of oversight to include the Banijay companies in the U.S. and Latin America when Banijay acquired Endemol Shine Group in 2020.   Previously, he held the role of COO at 51 Minds Entertainment, where he worked closely with Cris Abrego, its co-founder, to help grow the unscripted studio from its boutique beginnings into an industry heavyweight that produced more than $100 million a year in content and eventually sold to Endemol in 2008.





Sarba Das
Head of Nonfiction, Media Res Studio

Sarba Das is a seasoned film and television producer and executive who is currently Head of Nonfiction at Media Res Studio. She most recently served as Head of Creative for documentaries at A24 where she was Co-Executive Producer on Critic’s Choice Award winner VAL. She was also Executive Producer on the series HOME for AppleTV+ and oversaw the development slate of both features and series for A24 docs including the upcoming UNDERRATED, with Ryan Coogler producing alongside A24 about the coming of age of NBA star Stephen Curry.

Das was formerly Vice President/Head of Documentaries at Pilgrim Media Group, a Lionsgate Company, where she is Executive Producer on the breakout Peabody Award winner High on the Hog for Netflix which is currently in production on season 2. Her feature credits while at Pilgrim also include Executive Producer on The Boy Band Con: The Lou Pearlman Story (YouTubeOriginals) and The Greatest Bond (PBS), and Co-Producer on Soufra (Hulu), and Tre Maison Dasan (Independent Lens).

Prior, as an unscripted development and production executive at Sony Pictures Television, Sarba was the studio’s point executive on two Emmy-award seasons of Shark Tank (ABC). Before joining Sony, Das spent three years at ABC Television as Manager, Alternative Series, Late Night and Specials. Before joining ABC, she worked as a producer on such broadcast series as the Emmy-award winning Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and Secret Millionaire. A Film Independent Fellow, Das co-wrote, produced and directed independent feature film Karma Calling which is currently streaming everywhere. Das holds a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Film Studies from Yale University and a Masters in Fine Arts in Writing and Directing from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Kerry Kennedy
Executive Vice President, Business Affairs, ABC Entertainment and Walt Disney Television Unscripted

In her role, Kennedy leads Business Affairs for scripted, unscripted, daytime, syndicated series, late-night programming and specials for ABC Entertainment, as well as Walt Disney Television Alternative, a production unit for unscripted programming. Kennedy’s responsibilities include day-to-day management of the Business Affairs team and their deal-making and negotiations for development and production of pilots, series and specials in all day parts. Additionally, she designs and oversees implementation of deal strategies, structures and policies/parameters for all ABC and WDTA properties and also helps manage the budgets and inventories of various departments at the network and studio. Furthermore, Kennedy works with leaders across the company on business strategy and financial planning.

Kennedy joined ABC in 2002 as program attorney and quickly rose through the ranks within the department. During her tenure, Kennedy has been responsible for some of the most important deals for the network, from launching “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” to bringing “American Idol” back to network television.


Jonathan Murray
Founder/Executive Consultant, Bunim Murray Productions

Meet the man who started it all. Widely credited with inventing the reality television genre with his late partner Mary-Ellis Bunim, Jonathan Murray continues to inspire and entertain television audiences worldwide. Since creating The Real World in 1992, Jonathan has executive produced some of the industry’s most innovative, unscripted, and raw storytelling entertainment, including the Emmy®️ award winning Born This Way, Starting Over, and Autism: The Musical, as well as fan favorites, The Challenge, Project Runway, The Simple Life, and Keeping Up With The Kardashians. In 2012, Murray was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame. Today, Jonathan serves as Founder and Executive Consultant, remaining at BMP in a creative capacity to develop series and documentary passion projects. He currently lives in Los Angeles area where he serves on the boards of The Television Academy Foundation and The Producers Guild. He also serves on the board of The Local Journalism Project based in Provincetown, MA. In 2012 Murray was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame.



SallyAnn Salsano
President/Executive Producer, 495 Productions

SallyAnn Salsano is the Founder, CEO, Executive Producer and creative force behind the Daytime and Primetime Emmy nominated 495 Productions team. Boasting the highest-rated shows for both MTV and CMT with “Jersey Shore” and “Party Down South,” multiple seasons of record-breaking “Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party” on VH1, and the showrunner of Fox’s reboot of “Paradise Hotel,” and the Daytime Emmy nominated “Peace of Mind with Taraji” (Facebook Watch), 495 Productions has cemented their place in pop-culture history. As one of the most recognized and successful leaders in the entertainment industry, Salsano has been honored for her exemplary work by The Hollywood Reporter, who featured her on their “Reality TV: Most Powerful” list for three years in a row, and included her in their “Women in Entertainment Power 100” list, as well. Variety also included Salsano on their “Reality Impact Report” for the last 5 consecutive years. Additionally, Ms. Salsano was one of the first women inducted into Realscreen’s Hall of Fame. Some additional shows from 495 Productions versatile roster include: “Jersey Shore: Family Vacation” (MTV), “Buckhead Shore” (MTV), “All Star Shore” (MTV), “Double Shot at Love with DJ Pauly D and Vinny” (MTV), “Floribama Shore” (MTV), “Joe Millionaire: For Richer or Poorer” (FOX), “Semi Pro” (Tru TV), “Deep Fried Dynasty” (A&E), “The Big Holiday Food Fight” (OWN), “Pushing The Line” (Discovery+),“Bachelorette Weekend” (CMT),”The Untitled Action Bronson Show” (Viceland), “The Real” daytime talk show (syndicated), “Blue Collar Millionaires” (CNBC), “Winter Break: Hunter Mountain” (MTV), “Invitation Only” (Bravo), “Nashville Star” (NBC), “More To Love” (FOX), “Tattoo Nightmares” (Spike), “Mother/Daughter Experiment: Celebrity Edition” (Lifetime), “Snooki & JWOWW” (MTV), “Disaster Date” (MTV), “Tattoos After Dark” (Oxygen), “Repo Games” (Spike), “Wedding Wars” (VH1), “Taboo USA” (National Geographic Channel), several seasons of HGTV’s #1 rated show “Design Star,” Oxygen’s #1 rated show “Dance Your Ass Off,” “A Shot At Love” (MTV), “Tool Academy” (VH1), and many others.

Allison Wallach
President, Unscripted Programming, FOX Entertainment

Allison Wallach was named President, Unscripted Programming, for FOX Entertainment in December 2022. In her role, she is responsible for overseeing FOX’s unscripted programming, specials and alternative development slate; Studio Ramsay Global, the production entity from award-winning chef, restaurateur and presenter Gordon Ramsay; the entertainment brand TMZ; and FOX Entertainment’s in-house unscripted studio, FOX Alternative Entertainment (FAE).

Wallach joined FOX Entertainment in 2020 as Executive Vice President, Head of FAE, responsible for producing The Masked Singer, television’s #1 unscripted program; Next Level Chef (in partnership with Studio Ramsay Global), the 2021-22 season’s #1 new entertainment program; I Can See Your Voice, 2020-2021’s #1 new unscripted program; Crime Scene Kitchen (with Fly on the Wall Entertainment), Summer 2021’s #1 new series; Alter Ego, Fall 2021’s #1 new unscripted series; Joe Millionaire: For Richer or Poorer; Domino Masters; Name that Tune; and FOX’s New Year’s Eve Toast & Roast 2021, which was hosted by Ken Jeong and Joel McHale. During the early days of the pandemic, FAE also produced After the Mask to air with The Masked Singer.

Other FOX series under Wallach’s purview in her current role include the recently launched Special Forces: World’s Toughest Test, the 2022-23 season’s #1 new unscripted program, MasterChef, MasterChef Junior, Hell’s Kitchen, LEGO Masters, Domino Masters, and the upcoming program Gordon Ramsay’s Food Stars, among others.

Wallach also helped launch FOX’s International Unscripted Format Fund to identify intellectual property for the global market that is produced and owned by FAE, including the variety series The Big Deal for Ireland’s Virgin Media Television in partnership with Dublin-based BiggerStage and the celebrity performance competition The Masterpiece for Thailand’s WorkPoint. Most recently, FAE also produced the dating competition Love Trip: Paris for Freeform in the U.S. Prior to joining FOX Entertainment, Wallach was President of Jupiter Entertainment, which she joined in 2015 to lead its content portfolio expansion into new genres and distribution platforms. From 2010 to 2015, she was an agent in United Talent Agency’s alternative television department, where she helped grow the agency’s international and cable television business. Previously, Wallach was Senior Vice President, Programming, at BBC Worldwide Productions from 2008 to 2010. Prior to BBC, Wallach was Vice President, Programming, at Lifetime Television.