Super-producer Mark Burnett has no problem with the nine-figure paydays being pulled down by his fellow super-producers."It makes me feel great," Burnett said Wednesday at Variety's Tune In! TV Summit. The MGM television and digital group president joined Variety managing editor Cynthia Littleton for a keynote conversation about the six-figure deals signed in recent months by TV producers such as Shonda Rhimes, Ryan Murphy, and Greg Berlanti."That's appropriate for the Ryan Murphys of the world," Burnett said. "They're brilliant. In the...
Burnett didn’t create just one hit, he breathed life into a genre that has transformed television, beginning with CBS’ desert island competition series in 2000 and continuing through multiple other reality series, including NBC’s “The Voice” and “The Apprentice,” ABC’s “Shark Tank” and Fox’s “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?”
In December 2015, he was named president of MGM Television and Digital Group under a five-year contract. As part of the deal, MGM acquired the remaining 45% interest in Burnett’s United Artists Media Group production venture with Hearst Corp. MGM’s total purchase price for Burnett’s banner was around $600 million.
A London native who served in the British Army during the Falklands War, Burnett came to America in the early 1980s, first working as a nanny – a career move he made into the short-lived 2004 TV comedy “Commando Nanny” on The WB — before breaking into television production in the 1990s with “Eco-Challenge,” which aired on multiple cable outlets before he struck gold with “Survivor.”
Since then it’s been hit after reality hit with occasional dips into scripted content including 2013 History hit “The Bible” and the 2016 “Ben Hur” remake with wife Roma Downey. Under his aegis, MGM has fielded two promising unscripted series — Fox’s “Beat Shazam,” hosted by Jamie Foxx, and ABC’s “Steve Harvey’s Funderdome.”