Mark Burnett has re-upped with MGM until 2022 and with that has been given the title of chairman of the studio’s Worldwide Television Group. The prolific, 12-time, Emmy winning producer was brought into the company in 2015 by former chairman Gary Barber when MGM bought the remaining 45% stake it didn’t own in its United Artists Media Group joint venture from its partners Burnett, Roma Downey, and Hearst, and then put Burnett in charge of the MGM Television and Digital Group.
Mark Burnett established himself as a prolific producer with his production company One Three Media. This announcement from MGM comes as the division set the boxing competition The Contender (which he is producing) to bow on Epix in August, and just after the studio completed the acquisition of television concern Big Fish Entertainment (LIVE PD, Black Ink Crew, Hustle & Soul and Bomb Patrol: Afghanistan).
MGM Television has expanded the scope of its unscripted content development and production while Burnett has been running operations also by, last year, acquiring Evolution Media (The Real Housewives of Orange County, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Vanderpump Rules and Botched).
Right now, MGM Television can boast almost 800 hours of television a year. “In the past four years at MGM, we have renewed all our television franchises and have added a lot of new hits. This is the most fun I have had in my career and I know we will continue to build on these successes,” said Burnett. “I believe so strongly in the future of MGM and the team that surrounds me and it was important for me to extend my involvement well into the future. “
Burnett himself is a television powerhouse and his name is synonymous with Reality TV. He started his television career in 1992 with Eco-Challenge, earning his first Emmy in 1998. That program, which Burnett partnered on with Bear Grylls, is coming back to television, courtesy of the new Chairman and the television group. The division is eyeing a 2019 production start once they select a TV partner and location. The original ran for eight years.
From there, he produced number of Emmy award winning series, including Survivor (currently filming its 38th season), The Voice (in season 15), and Shark Tank (in season 10). And those three are strong, primetime ratings darlings, often holding No. 1 spots four nights a week.
During the time he has been at MGM, Burnett solidified a relationship with Kevin Ulrich, CEO of Anchorage Capital Group and MGM’s Chairman of the Board of directors and they strongly support each other both behind the scenes and publicly. “Mark is a one-of-a-kind creative individual with an incredible eye for talent and content and a long track record of success,” said Ulrich. “After more than 25 years in the business, he remains at the top of his game. We are confident that under Mark’s leadership, MGM Television’s best days are ahead.”
Gotta also give props to Steve Stark, President, Television Production and Development and his team which developed scripted series that produced Vikings on A&E, Fargo on FX and The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu — all highly successful and critically acclaimed. Shout out also to Barry Poznick, President of unscripted television who was hired in two years ago and has led that very successful division as well.