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‘Empire,’ ‘L Word’ Producer Ilene Chaiken to Be Feted at MipTV

U.S. writer, showrunner and producer Ilene Chaiken, best known for “The L Word,” “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Empire,” will be among the recipients of the Médailles d’Honneur, a career achievement award bestowed by Cannes-based TV conference and market MipTV.

The honor, handed to TV executives who have “through their talent, leadership and passion made a significant contribution to the world of television and the development of the international TV community,” will also go to Stéphane Courbit, chairman of France’s Banijay Group, Mosunmola “Mo” Abudu, CEO of Nigeria’s EbonyLife Media, and Jane Millichip, managing director of the U.K.’s Sky Vision.

The four will receive their awards at a cocktail and awards ceremony taking place at Cannes’ InterContinental Carlton Hotel on April 8.

Best known for creating the Showtime series “The L Word,” Chaiken received an Emmy for Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale.” She was the showrunner for the first four seasons of the Golden Globe-nominated Fox series “Empire,” and serves as executive producer of “The L Word” reboot, which was recently picked up by Showtime.

Chaiken recently renewed her multi-year producing deal with 20th Century Fox Television, where she is developing several new projects. Prior to that, she produced the docu-dramas “The Real L Word” and “The Real L Word Mississippi” for Showtime. She also executive produced pilots for Jerry Bruckheimer, McG and Joel Silver, and served as showrunner of the ABC drama series “Black Box.”

Courbit started his career as a producer for Coyote, and in 1994 formed a partnership with TV producer and host Arthur to create Case Productions, later called ASP Productions. In 1998, Endemol merged with ASP Productions to form Endemol France and Courbit was appointed CEO. In 2006, he sold his shares before leaving the group in 2007 to create LOV Group, which would concentrate investment in growing markets such as audiovisual production, luxury hotels, and the internet and energy sectors.

In 2008, Courbit created Banijay Group, and in 2016, he triggered the merger between Banijay Group and Zodiak Media, creating the world’s largest independent production and distribution company, responsible for global hit brands including “Temptation Island,” “Survivor,” “Wife Swap” and “Versailles.”

Abudu, described by Forbes as “Africa’s most successful woman,” is one of the most prolific producers in Africa. She launched Nigerian broadcaster and producer EbonyLife TV in 2013, producing over 1,000 hours of original programming each year.

Abudu entered moviemaking with the creation of EbonyLife Films, and is the executive producer of three of Nigeria’s most successful films ever: “The Wedding Party” (2016), “The Wedding Party 2: Destination Dubai” (2017), and “Chief Daddy” (2018).

Last year 2018, Sony Pictures Television announced a three-project deal with EbonyLifeTV, the first of its kind between SPT and a Nigerian television company.

Since 2013, Millichip has spearheaded Sky’s investment in nine U.K. and U.S. production companies, and expanded the distribution business into high-end dramas and primetime factual, delivering 2,000% growth through smart development, deficit-funding and co-production.

Previously, she was M.D. of Zodiak Rights, COO of RDF Rights, senior commissioning editor at Living TV; and M.D. of South Pacific Pictures in New Zealand, where she was also executive producer for entertainment and factual.

“It is a great honor to recognize these four exceptional industry figures, who have each, in their own way, made and continue to make major contributions to the international entertainment content sector, and whose vision and leadership set the standards in their respective fields,” said Laurine Garaude, director, TV division, Reed Midem, which organizes MipTV.

The market runs in Cannes, France from April 8-11.

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