About our company
Panenka is a young tv production company that has been producing television programs since the summer of 2014. Tom Lenaerts and Kato Maes founded the company after having gained years of experience through popular productions in the fields of television, movie and advertising.
Tom made television shows such as Schalkse Ruiters, De Mol and De Pappenheimers that became legendary in the history of Belgian television. Moreover, he wrote and directed two drama series: De Parelvissers and Met Man en Macht. Kato was co-founder and managing partner of Caviar, renowned for its international activities as an advertising and fiction series producer. Kato was responsible for the international development of the company and as an executive producer she created several fiction series such as De Smaak van De Keyser, and Dirty Mind.
Panenka’s team has two other deep line playmakers: Bart Cannaerts and Tom Baetens. In 2007 Bart won Humo’s Comedy Cup, a prestigious Flemish comedy contest, and ever since he has been conquering the country as a stand-up comedian. In 2009, Bart and Tom Baetens joined a starting production company called Shelter. In the years that followed, they were awarded several prizes with their shows Benidorm Bastards (Off Their Rockers) and Wat Als? (What If?). Both shows were granted an International Emmy for Best Comedy as well as a Rose d'Or.
On top of these captains the team is made up with other strong team players. A small group of writers, editors, producers and freelancers pull out all the stops to create tv shows that we hope will seduce the whole of Flanders, and have the potential to grab the attention of spectators abroad as well. Quality should always go before quantity. Television as if it were a Panenka: a cunning penalty, kicked with boldness and subtlety.
The fruit of this passionate work has aired since september 2015, continuously and through different formats. Tom Lenaerts led the way by making spectators’ and candidates’ heart skip a beat with his quiz show Keep Calm! every Sunday evening. Next in line were Wim Helsen’s daily literary goodnight wishes in his show called Winteruur, a tribute to the written word.
In February 2016 we released our ten episode documentary series A Matter of Luck, A Matter of Happiness about Borgerhout and Antwerpen-Noord, two quarters within the city of Antwerp. The series was widely acclaimed by the press and the audience. In its slipstream we shared our fourth television format with the world: CLINCH, a six episode tragicomedy series by Herwig Ilegems and Roy Arnouts. Three archetypal characters (Nico Sturm, Wim Helsen en Roy Arnouts) brutally intrude on each others’ lives.
The summer of 2016 turned out to be a hot one. Luckily Adriaan Van den Hoof brought in a refreshing gust of wind with his new refreshing daily game show: SWITCH. The quiz show came to stay: in the summer of 2019 the fourth season aired on één. Meanwhile a second and third season of Keep Calm! was aired and the fifth season of Winteruur recently aired on Canvas. From now on you can also read all texts of Winteruur in the Winteruuralmanac, a tear-off calendar.
In 2017 the team within Panenka has been working hard to produce and create more quality-driven television programs. Over Water, a ten episode fiction series by Tom Lenaerts and Paul Baeten Gronda, kicked off this new wave in the beginning of 2019. Season 2 is now available. Meanwhile, we've had a great laugh making Taboo with Flemish comedy darling Philippe Geubels. Season 2 is coming up at the begin of 2021 and a remake is already running in Australia, Switzerland and Canada. Our latest darling, Therapy, an eight-part series that peeks into the intimate space of therapists and their clients, premiered in the beginning of 2019 and the second season will run in the autumn of 2020.
Right now we are having a blast creating new ideas. But for now they remain our little secret.
The name Panenka is a tribute to the legendary football player Antonín Panenka. During the 1976 final of the European Championships between West Germany and Czechoslovakia Panenka got ready for the decisive penalty kick. Panenka scooped the ball gently to the middle of the goal, while the German goalkeeper Sepp Maier was already down to one of the corners.
Ever since a similar penalty kick is called a ‘Panenka’.