Five years after he helped usher in the reality revolution with “Survivor,” Mark Burnett is taking another swing at a summertime unscripted skein.
The producer’s latest effort is the CBS talent competition “Rock Star,” in which a group of would-be Bonos battle for the chance to replace the late Michael Hutchence as lead singer of the Aussie band INXS.
Unlike his original desert-island drama, which burst onto the pop culture scene unannounced, Burnett’s latest creation arrives amid a flurry of expectations.
CBS beat out several nets for rights to “Rock Star” and is turning over a big chunk of its summer sked to the show: It’ll air three times a week through September.
Burnett, meanwhile, would love another hit to join “Survivor” and “The Apprentice” — particularly after the disappointing ratings for his critically admired NBC boxing skein “The Contender.”
The good news: Buzz around “Rock Star” has been positive, particularly when it comes to the quality of the singers — most of whom could go head-to-head with the any of the final two “American Idols.”
As for “Contender,” Burnett says the skein was “very profitable”; there are also indications that ESPN may be close to picking up a second season of the show.
The producer also says “Contender” taught him a valuable lesson as he awaits the public’s verdict on “Rock Star.”
“A failure is when you’re not proud of the work you did,” he says. “Being less successful than other shows is a fact of life.”
Because he’s happy with how “Rock Star” has turned out, Burnett says there’s actually “way less pressure” on him for this show than with the original “Survivor.”
“Do you want to win? Yeah. (But) all you can do is make great content,” he says.