Endemol Australia
FormerlyHanna-Barbera Australia (1972–1983)
Taft-Hardie Group Pty. Ltd. (1983–1988)
Southern Star Group Pty, Ltd. (1988–2013)
Television production
Founded1972 (1972)
FounderKevin Weldon (as Hanna-Barbera Australia)
Neil Balnaves (as Southern Star Group Pty, Ltd.)
FateMerged with Shine Australia
SuccessorEndemol Shine Australia
HeadquartersSydney, New South Wales
Key people
Mark and Carl Fennessy (2016)
OwnerTaft Broadcasting (1972–1988)
Hamlyn Group (50%) (1974–1978)
James Hardie Industries (50%) (1978–1988)
Independent (1988–2004)
Southern Cross Broadcasting (2004–2007)
Fairfax Media (2007–2009)
Endemol (2009–2015)
ParentHanna-Barbera (1972-1988)
SubsidiariesEndemol Southern Star (2000-2009)

Endemol Australia, formerly known as Southern Star Group, Southern Star Productions, Southern Star/Hanna-Barbera Australia and Taft-Hardie Group Pty Ltd, was Australia's largest independent television production and distribution group. On 26 July 2015, the company was merged with Shine Australia to form Endemol Shine Australia.


Southern Star logo used from 1989 to 2013

The company began in 1972 as Hanna-Barbera Pty Ltd (Australia), an Australian division of Hanna-Barbera (which was founded by Kevin Weldon). In 1974, the Hamlyn Group's Australian division managed by Kevin Weldon acquired 50% of Hanna-Barbera Australia and appointed Neil Balnaves as managing director. In 1978, James Hardie Industries acquired the Hamlyn Group, and in 1979, Balnaves was promoted to managing director of the entire Hamlyn Group.[1]

In 1983, James Hardie Industries and Hanna-Barbera corporate parent Taft Broadcasting reorganised the division as Taft-Hardie Group Pty Ltd. In 1984, the company established a division in Los Angeles known as Southern Star Productions, founded and headed by Buzz Potamkin. Programs produced by this division would be animated at Hanna-Barbera's studios in Sydney, and carried the name Southern Star/Hanna-Barbera Australia. It co-owned CIC Video's Australian video unit called CIC-Taft Video and launched a video label, THG Video, in 1984, then renamed to Taft Video in 1987. In 1987, it made a $42 million bid for Communications and Entertainment Limited, but it never realised.[2]

In 1988, Neil Balnaves led an A$11 million management buyout of Taft-Hardie, reorganising the company as Southern Star Group. The home video division was renamed to Southern Star Video in 1989. The Sydney animation facilities were also sold, while the Los Angeles division continued to operate until 1991 when it was sold to Turner Broadcasting System.

In January 2000, Endemol formed a joined venture with Southern Star Group called Endemol Southern Star.

In April 2004, the company was acquired by Southern Cross Broadcasting and in 2007 by Fairfax Media.

In January 2009, Endemol acquired Southern Star Factual from Fairfax Media in a transaction worth A$75 million,[3][4] effective shuttering Endemol Southern Star.

Southern Star Productions's founder Buzz Potamkin died from pancreatic cancer on 22 April 2012.[5]

On 11 December 2013, Southern Star announced it would rebrand as Endemol Australia, completing the rollout by February 2014. The change was brought about by Chief Executive Officer, Janeen Faithfull.[6][7]

On 15 November 2016, Mark and Carl Fennessy were appointed joint CEOs of Endemol Australia as well as its parent company, Endemol Shine Australia.[8]

Southern Star Group's founder Neil Balnaves died in a boating accident on 21 February 2022.[9][10]


Prime-time drama

As Hanna-Barbera Pty Ltd / Taft-Hardie Group Pty Ltd

As Southern Star[edit]


Kids & family[edit]

As Hanna-Barbera Pty Ltd / Taft-Hardie Group Pty Ltd[edit]

As Southern Star[edit]


See also


  1. ^ "Endemol Shine Australia".
  2. ^ "Taft Hardie Venture Makes Big Bid For CEL; Oz Giant Looms". Variety. 1 July 1987. p. 35.
  3. ^ Prior, Alex (21 January 2009). "Southern Star: sold to Endemol (apart from some bits)". Screen Hub. Archived from the original on 1 January 2014. Retrieved 31 December 2013.
  4. ^ Tabakoff, Nick (21 January 2009). "Berlusconi to own Fairfax's TV producer". The Australian. Retrieved 31 December 2013.
  5. ^ Variety Staff (8 May 2012). "Marshall 'Buzz' Potamkin Dies at 66". Variety.com. Reed Elsevier. Archived from the original on 12 June 2015. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
  6. ^ "Southern Star Entertainment to become Endemol Australia". Endemol Distribution. 27 December 2013. Archived from the original on 27 December 2013. Retrieved 27 April 2022.
  7. ^ Tartaglione, Nancy (22 February 2012). "Australia's Southern Star Names TV Industry Vet Janeen Faithfull To CEO Post". Deadline. Retrieved 31 December 2013.
  8. ^ Bulbeck, Pip (28 May 2015). "Endemol Shine Names Fennessy Brothers as Joint Heads of Australian Unit". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 8 July 2023.
  9. ^ Litson, Jo (23 February 2022). "Neil Balnaves has died". Limelight. Retrieved 27 April 2022.
  10. ^ Ciccarelli, Raffaella (22 February 2022). "Former television executive Neil Balnaves dies in boating accident". 9News. Retrieved 27 April 2022.
  11. ^ "Fred's little league". The Sydney Morning Herald. Sydney NSW. 15 May 1978. p. 25.