You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Mark Burnett’s Tired Take on TV Critics

Mark Burnett — hardly a wallflower in the best of times — no doubt feels like the king of the world right now. Aside from his reality TV success on multiple fronts — with “The Voice” and “Shark Tank” emerging as “Survivor” and “The Apprentice” somewhat fade — he and wife Roma Downey produced “The Bible,” which, predictably, has become a mega-hit for History.

Still, Burnett’s victory lap included an interview to be televised this weekend on “CBS Sunday Morning,” in which the producer offered this response to the mostly negative reviews that “The Bible” received:

“Listen, if the critics were so good, they’d be making TV themselves, wouldn’t they?” Burnett said. “So, I mean, listen, the numbers speak. I don’t even pay attention to anything like that.”

Burnett is absolutely right in saying the numbers speak, and it’s perfectly fair to downplay the importance of critics in terms of commercial success. Plenty of TV shows and movies that critics pan are embraced by the public, and critics tend to have an appetite for prestige fare that often doesn’t do particularly well from a boxoffice or ratings standpoint.

The “if the critics were so good, they’d be making TV themselves” argument, however, is simply beneath him — a tired, simple-minded response to a legitimate difference of opinion. Just as not every sportswriter wants to be point guard or quarterback, not every TV or movie critic wants to be Steven Spielberg.

I suspect Burnett knows as much, but his ego apparently won’t let him believe somebody doesn’t like his work. So he has to seek to drag out the whole “Those who can’t do, teach” line of attack. To say I’ve heard it before would be the height of understatement, and usually when someone insists they “don’t pay attention,” you’re well advised to believe the opposite.

Burnett deserves all the credit for helping reinvent the modern TV business and now branching out beyond reality by making this passion project a reality of its own.

Even so, in his attempt to invoke schoolyard taunts to slap back at critics, the guy who produced “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” simply winds up sounding like one.

More TV

  • Jo Ann Ross CBS Eye Speak

    CBS Launches 'Eye Speak' Empowerment Initiative for Women

    Mark Burnett — hardly a wallflower in the best of times — no doubt feels like the king of the world right now. Aside from his reality TV success on multiple fronts — with “The Voice” and “Shark Tank” emerging as “Survivor” and “The Apprentice” somewhat fade — he and wife Roma Downey produced “The […]

  • The Looming Tower

    Behind Hulu's Next Big Bet: 9/11 Espionage Drama 'The Looming Tower'

    Mark Burnett — hardly a wallflower in the best of times — no doubt feels like the king of the world right now. Aside from his reality TV success on multiple fronts — with “The Voice” and “Shark Tank” emerging as “Survivor” and “The Apprentice” somewhat fade — he and wife Roma Downey produced “The […]

  • 9-1-1: Angela Bassett in the series

    Fox Plans Media-Industry Summit to Fix Advertising Challenges (EXCLUSIVE)

    Mark Burnett — hardly a wallflower in the best of times — no doubt feels like the king of the world right now. Aside from his reality TV success on multiple fronts — with “The Voice” and “Shark Tank” emerging as “Survivor” and “The Apprentice” somewhat fade — he and wife Roma Downey produced “The […]

  • TV Ratings: 2018 Winter Olympics Second

    TV Ratings: 2018 Winter Olympics Second Tuesday Falls From Last Week, Tops Sochi

    Mark Burnett — hardly a wallflower in the best of times — no doubt feels like the king of the world right now. Aside from his reality TV success on multiple fronts — with “The Voice” and “Shark Tank” emerging as “Survivor” and “The Apprentice” somewhat fade — he and wife Roma Downey produced “The […]

  • Rob Hardy to Direct CW's April

    Rob Hardy to Direct CW's April Blair-Spencer Paysinger Pilot (EXCLUSIVE)

    Mark Burnett — hardly a wallflower in the best of times — no doubt feels like the king of the world right now. Aside from his reality TV success on multiple fronts — with “The Voice” and “Shark Tank” emerging as “Survivor” and “The Apprentice” somewhat fade — he and wife Roma Downey produced “The […]

  • Room 104 HBO Duplass

    Netflix Lands Worldwide Rights to Next Four Duplass Brothers Films (EXCLUSIVE)

    Mark Burnett — hardly a wallflower in the best of times — no doubt feels like the king of the world right now. Aside from his reality TV success on multiple fronts — with “The Voice” and “Shark Tank” emerging as “Survivor” and “The Apprentice” somewhat fade — he and wife Roma Downey produced “The […]

  • Germany's ProSiebenSat.1 Names Ex-Head of Tech

    Germany's ProSiebenSat.1 Names Former Head of British Tech Group Dyson as New CEO

    Mark Burnett — hardly a wallflower in the best of times — no doubt feels like the king of the world right now. Aside from his reality TV success on multiple fronts — with “The Voice” and “Shark Tank” emerging as “Survivor” and “The Apprentice” somewhat fade — he and wife Roma Downey produced “The […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content