“Survivor” impresario Mark Burnett continues his march into scripted production, inking an exclusive two-year overall development deal with Warner Bros. Television.
Pact calls for Burnett to create, develop and exec produce both comedy and drama projects for the studio via the producer’s Mark Burnett Prods. shingle. Burnett’s production partner, Conrad Riggs, will work with Burnett to develop programming for the studio.
Following his success with “Survivor” — and, most recently, NBC’s “The Restaurant”– Burnett has made clear his desire to expand into scripted programming.
He teamed with Carsey-Werner-Mandabach last spring for the WB Network pilot “Are We There Yet?,” which wasn’t picked up for fall. Burnett also recently signed with CAA to aid in the transition to scripted TV skeins and feature films.
WBTV prexy Peter Roth said he’s expecting big things from Burnett and his team.
“Mark’s success and storytelling ability in the reality television genre is unparalleled,” Roth said. “We believe he will create equally compelling and innovative scripted programming.”
For Burnett, inking his first-ever overall TV deal at a major studio marks another step towards his goal of duplicating his unscripted success in the world of comedies and dramas.
“My next evolution is supervising the production of scripted storytelling,” he told Daily Variety, just back from shooting the seventh installment of “Survivor.”
“I love the adventure of ‘Survivor’ and being out in the jungle with the guys, but there’s nothing like the thrill of telling big, living stories,” Burnett said.
Even before his first meeting with Roth, Burnett said setting up shop at WBTV was “an obvious choice. They’re the cream of the crop when it comes to studios.”
Burnett said he and WBTV have “already identified a four-camera comedy” for Burnett to work on, though dramas will be the first priority due to the timing of develoment season.
As with his reality projects, Burnett said his scripted skeins will strive to stand out from the pack.
“My job is to be totally different and unique, and continue to come up with shows that create buzz,” he said.
Added Riggs: “Our goal is to develop rich characters, find their compelling circumstances and place them in dynamic settings.”
In addition to “The Restaurant,” which is also produced by Ben Silverman and Riesenberg, Burnett is currently casting for “The Apprentice” and the all-star edition of “Survivor.”
Burnett and Riggs are both repped by CAA.