Reality TV king Mark Burnett has joined with Hearst Corporation in a long-term media, production and events-based joint venture. The deal announced Monday (4/11) also has Hearst acquiring a substantial interest in Burnett’s existing production business as part of the new venture.
“Survivor is to nonfiction what I Love Lucy is to sitcoms; it is the starting point for all of today’s storyline-based unscripted shows,” Scott Sassa, president, Hearst Entertainment & Syndication. “This venture provides Mark a platform and freedom to continue and grow his unique type of innovation. Together, we have a vision to create shows that have 360-degree businesses built around them. We will create businesses around every screen that are both in- and out-of-home experiences, and linear and interactive in nature.”
Sassa and Burnett will lead the new venture’s board of directors. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“I’m extremely grateful to be partnering with Hearst. ‘Content is King,’ and with more screens needing entertaining content now than at any time in history, that statement is truer than ever. Hearst’s iconic brands will be an incredible creative addition for me and will translate perfectly into the vision for the future that Frank, Scott and I all share. In fact, we already have great projects in the works,” said Burnett.
“The most successful companies are those that can surround the consumer with world-class content based on their brands. We see the media production business as a great opportunity to leverage Hearst’s brands across platforms and continue our move into new businesses. We see this as a growth opportunity for us that diversifies our revenue streams and we are happy to have Mark — a visionary in the reality genre — as a partner,” said Hearst Corporation CEO Frank Bennack.
Burnett’s unscripted television shows to date have ranged from Survivor, The Apprentice and Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? to The People’s Choice Awards, The MTV Movie Awards, Shark Tank. His upcoming series include The Voice (NBC), Expedition Impossible (ABC) and the Audrina Patridge Show (VH-1).