First joint project announced within weeks
“An Evening with Survivors”? “Apprentice: The Musical”? It could happen under a new pact between reality guru Mark Burnett and AEG to develop live events and TV shows based on each other’s properties.Under the pact, AEG will get first crack at producing stage events developed from Burnett’s catalog of shows. Conversely, Mark Burnett Prods. has a first-look option to create nonscripted programming derived from AEG’s various properties, which range from soccer and hockey teams to the Coachella music festival. In addition, Burnett and AEG will jointly develop projects from scratch that integrate TV and live event components. First project from the partnership is expected to be announced within the next few weeks. Burnett, who teamed with AEG previously to stage live boxing matches tied to his “Contender” franchise, said expanding into live events was a necessary step for his company. “With the TV audience increasingly fractured, the one thing that’s stronger than ever is live entertainment,” Burnett told Daily Variety. “And I’ve already had really great experiences with AEG. It’s a well-organized, efficient company that’s very good for my business.” Eric Stevens, prexy of AEG Live Events and Media, said his company has been getting very aggressive in setting up content, and it therefore made a lot of sense to develop a relationship with a producer such as Burnett. Stevens said the two camps were putting all their respective properties on the table and discussing ideas. “We’re looking at the catalog (of Burnett shows), but we’re also looking forward,” he said. In addition to a specific project that’s said to be in the final stage of development, Burnett and Stevens both confirmed they’ve already had early talks about mounting a live take on Burnett’s Fox quizzer “Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?” “It’s a fantastic family property that would work in many venues,” Burnett said. Not all AEG properties will be available to Burnett. AEG, for example, doesn’t have explicit rights to develop programming for some of the artists whose tours it produces. “But we can set up a conversation,” Stevens said. Similarly, Burnett has the right to exploit most of his properties, though in the case of “Survivor,” those rights are shared with CBS. Burnett has been adding live event production to his resume in recent years. In addition to exec producing the live finales for recent installments of “Survivor,” he’s getting ready to produce his second MTV Movie Awards show in June.