Can’t figure out where you know his name? This might jog your memory:
He produced The Apprentice, Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?, The Voice, On the Lot (just in case I wasn’t the only one that watched this little gem), Combat Missions, My Dad is Better Than Your Dad, and more. When The Celebrity Apprentice was still on the air, he dominated television 5 out of the 7 nights of the week. I got to sit in on an episode of Strombo filming (George Stroumbouloupolous’ talk show), and George interviewed Mark Burnett and Roma Downey (in addition to a hilarious panel of comedians discussing news, I’d highly recommend the show). He’s currently producing a ten-hour epic Bible miniseries to air on the History Channel, and he’s just great. So here goes:
1. His relationship is awesome. His wife (Roma Downey, of Touched By An Angel fame) is a cute little wisp of a woman, and they interviewed separately, but it’s what they had to say about each other that made me take note. “She whispers, and [I] kick down the door,” he said. Her ideas and skill combined with his initiative and expertise; it’s a perfect balance. They talk about working together in the sweetest way. Their recent project, a ten-hour epic Bible miniseries (quite the undertaking) to air on the History Channel, was entirely collaborative, working “shoulder to shoulder” with each other. Totally admirable, and they made it through!
2. He’s cool under pressure. George bluntly asked him, “Why do Christians hate gay marriage?” and Burnett handled it with dignity. I shifted in my seat, a little thrown off at how straight-up he was, but Burnett barely blinked. I guess after creating some of the biggest reality shows on television, you learn a few things.
3. He’s a dreamer. Never give up! He proudly announced to the studio audience: “No doesn’t always mean no…” and then, to clarify a little misconception, finished with “…in pitching a show!” He pitched Survivor to CBS, and they said no. He pitched Survivor to ABC, and they said yes. Then, they said no, and said yes to Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. Then, he pitched Survivor to CBS a second time. They said yes, and the rest is twenty-six seasons of history.
4. He’s ballsy and honest. He’s not afraid to boast his confidence, and he’s pretty justified in that.
Mark: “Shark Tank, number one on Fridays. Survivor, number one on Wednesdays. Number one, and we’re going on, what, season twenty six now? Last season, number one up against the millions of dollars invested in The X Factor.”
George: “Is that one of your favourite parts?”
Mark:”Oh, of course!”
5. He’s religious, without throwing it in your face. He calls his Bible series “epic” and “Lord of the Rings-y.” Then, when asked about what he thinks of the number of Hollywood celebs planning biblical epics for the big screen, he just smiled to himself and said, “Well, I guess I’m just happy mine is great, and coming out a year before.” Confidence, confidence, confidence. Even the clip he showed at the shoot was entertaining and movie-like… it really didn’t feel like watching the Bible, and that’s what’ll bring them success.