The co-founders, Susan Cohen-Dickler and Jan Dickler, are noted executive producers who helped pioneer ‘authentic reality’ series television through their legendary company, Banyan Productions. They produced over 5,000 episodes of television including leading programs in the genre such as A Wedding Story, breakout cooking series Epicurious, Birth Day, Ambush Makeover and Trading Spaces.
Their company’s many series aired across television networks including Discovery,TLC, NBC, Lifetime, and Fox Television. Among numerous awards, they were nominated in the inaugural Reality category of the Primetime Emmys for the original, hit TV series Trading Spaces.
With the explosive evolution of online media, the founders saw a way to utilize highly trained, professional producers within first-person video communication to add authentic storytelling that elevates and transforms the corporate video genre.
Excerpted from Philadelphia Inquirer Front Page Business on 3.9.2016
[along with two other co-founders]… the Dicklers then set up Philly-based Banyan Productions in 1993, making some of the first infomercials (one, for the Medicus dual-hinge golf club, is still running).
And they helped then-fledgling cable channels such as Discovery, the Food Network, HGTV, and Travel Channel get off the ground with “transformative” personal growth storytellers like Home Matters, Trading Spaces, The Wedding Story, and Ambush Makeover, working in a style they called “authentic reality.”
“We were so ahead of the curve we sometimes had difficulty getting people to participate as subjects, until the term ‘reality TV’ was explained in a high-profile article in the New York Times in 1998,” Jan recalled. “After that, the floodgates opened. We started getting pitched by a new breed of ‘professional’ reality show regulars who happily jumped from show to show.”
At one point, Banyan Productions had “10 or 11” series running simultaneously on cable and broadcast channels, including PBS and FOX, and employed as many as 347 staffers.
But after a staggering 5,000 episodes, the Dicklers capped their run in 2013 with Natural Reboot – a makeover show for women who feel crazed and “need to take it down a notch and simplify,” Susan said.