This British-born entrepreneur is a pioneer of American reality television, producing the unscripted mega-hits Survivor
and The Apprentice
, among many others. Before getting into entertainment, Burnett saw combat as a member of the British Army Parachute Regiment and was a self-declared thrill seeker. While participating in an extreme race called Raid Gauloises in the early 1990s, he decided to film the event, then presented the footage to ESPN, who aired it; thus began Burnett's showbiz career. Within a few years, he had rocketed to fame and fortune as the producer of Survivor
, which was based on a Swedish reality show. Despite some subsequent high-profile disappointments (The Contender
, Pirate Master
), Burnett continues to dominate the genre and was elected into the Broadcast and Cable Hall of Fame in 2008.Mark Burnett Fast Facts:
- Joined the British Army Parachute Regiment at 17 and served from 1977 to 1982.
- Was awarded active service medals in both the Northern Island and Falklands conflicts.
- Moved to Los Angeles in 1982 and worked as a nanny, at an insurance company and selling T-shirts on Venice Beach.
- Became a U.S. citizen in 1990.
- Created his first TV series, Eco-Challenge, in 1995 after participating in the Raid Gauloises, an annual endurance race that began in 1989.
- Developed the concept for Survivor---based on a Swedish reality series---which was immediately successful upon its debut in May 2000.
- Teamed up with business tycoon Donald Trump to launch reality competition The Apprentice in 2004.
- Married his second wife, Roma Downey, in a 2007 Malibu beach ceremony officiated by actor Della Reese.
- Received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2009.
- Mark Burnett Relationships:
- Diane Burnett - Ex-wife
- Cameron - Son
- James - Son
- Roma Downey - Wife
- Reilly Anspaugh - Stepdaughter
- Archie Burnett - Father
- Mark Burnett Awards:
- 2003 Emmy: Outstanding Reality/Competition Program - Nominee
- 2004 Emmy: Outstanding Reality/Competition Program - Nominee
- 2005 Emmy: Outstanding Reality/Competition Program - Nominee
- 2006 Emmy: Outstanding Reality/Competition Program - Nominee
- 2002 Emmy: Outstanding Special Class Program - Nominee
- 2001 Emmy: Outstanding Non-Fiction Program (Special Class) - Nominee
- 2001 Emmy: Outstanding Non-Fiction Program (Special Class) - Winner
- 2012 Emmy: Outstanding Reality Program - Nominee
- 2012 Emmy: Outstanding Reality/Competition Program - Nominee