Mark Burnett

Mark Burnett (Courtesy Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Mark Burnett (born 17 July 1960) is a British-born American television producer, based in Los Angeles. Burnett is currently the executive producer of five network television series with seven hours of network programming. His current series are Survivor, Celebrity Apprentice, The Voice, Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?, Shark Tank, and The People's Choice Awards. Burnett has won four Emmy Awards and four People's Choice Awards. Burnett and his reality series have been spoofed on Family Guy, American Dad, and MADtv, as well as parodied on YouTube.

Burnett has worked with Jeffrey Katzenberg, Steven Spielberg, Tom Cruise, Oprah Winfrey, Dr. Phil, Christina Aguilera, Usher, Shakira, Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Cee Lo Green, Martha Stewart, Sarah Palin, Jeff Foxworthy, Samuel L. Jackson, and Donald Trump, among others. In 2011, Burnett sold 50% of his company to the Hearst Corporation.

Early life

Mark Burnett was born on 17 July 1960 in London, England, the only child of Archie and Jean Burnett, both Scottish Ford Motors factory workers, and was raised in Dagenham, Essex. At age seventeen, he enlisted in the British Army, and became a Section Commander in the Parachute Regiment. From 1978"82 he served with the 3rd Battalion, the Parachute Regiment (3 PARA) and saw action during the Falklands War. He is a naturalized United States citizen.

Early career

In October 1982, Burnett decided to emigrate to the United States, where he met up with a friend, Nick Hill, who had also emigrated from Britain a few years earlier and was working as a nanny and chauffeur. Hill knew of an open position for a live-in nanny position with the Jaeger family in Beverly Hills, the interview for which was that night. Although he had no experience in that field, Burnett took the opportunity, and because of his military background, the Jaegers, realizing the advantage of having a nanny and security at the same time, hired him. After a year of working for the Jaegers, he moved on to another family in Malibu, taking care of two boys for $250 a week. He was eventually given a position in the insurance office owned by Burt, the father of the two boys.Two years later, he decided to rent a portion of a fence at Venice Beach and sell T-shirts for $18 each during weekends. Realizing he made more money selling t-shirts, Burnett left his insurance job.

In 1991, Burnett, along with four others, joined a French adventure competition called the Raid Gauloises. After competing, Burnett saw a business opportunity in holding similar competitions. He purchased the format rights and brought a similar competition, Eco Challenge, to America. Eco Challenge launched Burnett's career as a television producer.


Mark Burnett is best known for producing the hit reality show, Survivor, which premiered in the summer of 2000 and was the most watched summer series since Sonny and Cher. Survivor was named the Number 1 reality series of all time by Entertainment Weekly in 2009.

Burnett has produced several other television franchises in addition to Survivor, including The Apprentice. He serves as the executive producer of The Voice. Other series produced by Burnett include: Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?, Shark Tank, Martha Stewart, Sarah Palin's Alaska, The Contender, On the Lot (a collaboration with Steven Spielberg), The Restaurant, Rock Star, Combat Missions, My Dad Is Better Than Your Dad, Bully Beatdown, Starmaker, Expedition Africa, Toughest Cowboy, Wedding Day, How'd You Get So Rich?, and Expedition Impossible. Burnett has completed the milestone of having a renewed series on each of the four major broadcast networks.

Since 2007, Burnett has served as the executive producer for the MTV Movie Awards and has also executive produced the 2010, 2011, and 2012 People's Choice Awards. In September 2011, Burnett produced the Emmy Awards for Fox .

Currently, Burnett's shows are winning in ratings for their time slots 4 out of 7 nights a week (5 nights a week when Celebrity Apprentice was airing in the early half of 2012).

In addition to his ongoing productions, Mark Burnett and his wife, actress Roma Downey, are producing The Bible, a 10 hour History Channel drama based upon stories of the Bible

Personal life

In January 2004, Mark began dating Downey, In November 2006, while the two were vacationing with their children in Zihuatanejo, Mexico, he proposed to her. They wed on 28 April 2007 in their Malibu home. The ceremony was officiated by Downey's former costar, Della Reese. They currently live in Malibu, California with their three children.

Awards, honours and affiliations

Time called Burnett one of the Most Influential People in the World Today. Burnett was also named "Philanthropist of the Year" by the Reality Cares Foundation. Furthermore, Burnett has won both Brandweeks's Marketer of the Year Award, the prestigious Rose d'Or Frapa Format Award, the Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Award, and the Norman Lear Award from the Producers Guild of America. He served for two years on the Board of Directors for the British Film and Television Academy.

In November 2007, Mark Burnett was elected into the Broadcast and Cable Hall of Fame and in 2008, it was announced that he would be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. On 8 July 2009 Burnett received a star at 6664 Hollywood Blvd. In June 2011, Burnett was elected into the Producer's Guild of America Council Board of Delegates and currently serves on the Producers Council. He is also an ambassador for Operation Smile.


  • 2004: Reality Cares Foundation 'Philanthropist of the Year'
  • 2004: Time Magazine: 'Time 100: 100 Most Influential People in the World Today'
  • 2009: Producers Guild of America 'Norman Lear Award'
  • 2009: Hollywood Walk of Fame Star: 'Excellence in Television'
  • 2010: Producers Guild of America 'Lifetime Achievement Award in Television'

Project recognition

Since 2001, projects with which Burnett is associated have been nominated for 71 shared Emmy Awards and have won 4. They have also won 4 shared People's Choice Awards, a Banff Rocky, 2 British Academy Television Awards, and the prestigious Rose D'Or Frapa Format Award.

Primetime Emmy Awards 
  • 2001, won 'Outstanding Non-Fiction Programming', Special Class, for Survivor: The Australian Outback;
  • 2001, won 'Outstanding Sound Mixing for Non-Fiction Programming, for Survivor: The Australian Outback
  • 2002, 4 nominations, Survivor: Africa and Survivor: Marquesas (judged as one show)
  • 2003, 4 nominations, Survivor: Thailand and Survivor: Amazon (judged as one show)
  • 2004, 4 nominations, The Apprentice
  • 2005, nomination for 'Outstanding Reality Competition Show' for Survivor
  • 2005, 5 nominations, The Apprentice
  • 2006, nomination for 'Outstanding Reality Competition Show' for Survivor
Young Artist Award 
  • 2008, won 'Best Family Television Reality Show, Game Show or Documentary for Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?
British Academy Television Awards
  • 2005, won 'Best Feature' for The Apprentice
  • 2012, won 'Best Reality & Constructed Factual Show' for Young Apprentice
Teen Choice Awards 
  • 2004, nomination 'Breakout TV Show' for The Apprentice
  • 2008, nominated 'Choice TV Game Show' for Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?
Peoples Choice Awards 
  • 2001, won 'Favorite Reality Based Television Program' for Survivor
  • 2002, won 'Favorite Realty Based Television Program' for Survivor: The Australian Outback
  • 2003, won 'Favorite Reality Based Television Program' for Survivor: Thailand
  • 2004, won 'Favorite Reality Based Television Program' for Survivor
  • 2008, nomination 'Favorite Game Show' for Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?
Kids Choice Awards 
  • 2008, nomination 'Favorite Reality Show' for Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?
Daytime Emmy Awards 
  • 2006, nomination 'Outstanding Service Show' for Martha
  • 2007, nomination 'Outstanding Lifestyle Program' for Martha
  • 2011, won 'Outstanding Lifestyle Program' for Martha
Family Television Awards 
(given by the Family Friendly Programming Forum):
  • 2001, won 'Reality/Alternative Programming' for Survivor: The Australian Outback
Producer's Guild of America
  • 2004, won 'Television Producer of the Year in Reality/Game/Informational Series' for Survivor
TV Critic's Association Awards
  • 2004, won 'Program of the Year' for The Apprentice
TV Week's Annual Critics Poll
  • 2003, won 'Number 1 Reality Show' for Survivor
  • 2003, won 'Number 7 Favorite Show' for Survivor
Diversity Awards
  • 2001, won 'Most Diverse Television Ensemble Cast' for Survivor: The Australian Outback
  • 2001, won 'Recognition Award' for Survivor
Reggie Awards
  • 2001, won 'Super Reggie' for 'Multi-Channel Integrated Promotion Involving Consumer and Trade Special' for Survivor
Publicists Guild of America
  • 2001, won 'Maxwell Weinberg Publicists Showmanship Award for Television' for Survivor
Sports Emmy Awards
  • 2000, won 'Best Program Achievement' for Eco-Challenge: Morocco
Cheeky Bastard Award
  • 2012, won 'Cheekiest of Cheeky Bastards Alive' from Ricky Gervais

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