Mark Burnett stepped down from MGM’s leadership role following the Amazon sale

By | November 29, 2022

Mark Burnett has stepped down from a top management role at MGM. The move comes 10 months after Amazon closed its $8.5 billion purchase of the studio.

Burnett’s departure from MGM Fall is no surprise. The producer, known for enduring unwritten credits including CBS’s “Survivor,” NBC’s “The Voice” and ABC’s “Shark Tank,” didn’t serve as a regular TV executive during his nine years with MGM and wasn’t expected to stick around post-apocalypse. sale.

Additionally, as a significant equity holder in MGM, Burnett profited handsomely from the Amazon deal. In the nine years since he first sold his Three Media production banner to MGM, Burnett has amassed an estimated $900 million in production.

In a memo to MGM staff, Burnett said he intends to pursue new ventures as a producer. He emphasized that MGMTV is working hard to ensure that approximately 150 employees find employment after the Amazon sale. MGM now operates as an independent film and TV production arm under the umbrella of Amazon Studios, headed by Jennifer Salke. Christopher Breton, chief operating officer of MMM, will work with Salke and Mike Hopkins, senior vice president of Amazon Prime Video and Amazon Studios.

“After months of collaborative transition efforts, we’ve reorganized our teams to ensure everyone has the opportunity to thrive under the leadership of Mike Hopkins, Jennifer Salke and Christopher Brereton. I’m proud to say that in this media layoff, everyone in the television department has been given a way to contribute. No one is left behind,” he wrote.

Burnett maintained a trio of broadcast television hits during his tenure at MGM, but he wasn’t as prolific as he had been a decade earlier. MGMTV shows that came under Burnett’s watch include the Fox game show “Beat Shazam” hosted by Jamie Foxx and the revival of Jeff Foxworthy’s quiz show “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” There were short-lived efforts to add big-budget reality competition series to the roster, along with CBS’s “World’s Best” and “TKO: Total Knockout.”

Burnett’s time at MGM coincided with an examination of his personal and professional relationship with Donald Trump, Burnett’s longtime former NBC star hit “The Apprentice.” Burnett in 2010 In 2017 – after Trump was elected US president – he tried to reboot “Celebrity Apprentice” with former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. But that was short-lived amid the low ratings and ongoing controversies about Trump and his behavior during the “Apprentice” days.

During Trump’s turbulent first year in office, Burnett and MGM were called by many in politics and entertainment to drop from “The Apprentice” any depictions of the president using racial slurs and other salacious characterizations. MGM has stated more than once that nothing can be released without Trump’s approval because the legal and practical hurdles of combining 14 seasons of raw footage are insurmountable, but that hasn’t silenced calls for Burnett to “release the tapes.” MMM acquired all rights to “The Apprentice” franchise by purchasing Burnett’s firm. Now Amazon is the custodian of the collection.

Burnett, not surprisingly, remains attached to the existing shows that he produces under the MGM banner.

More details about MGM’s operating structure will come soon, Hopkins told Amazon employees. They credited Burnett for his “countless contributions to our success and his personal partnership and advice throughout the merger,” and Hopkins hailed the maverick producer as “one of the most creative, innovative and professional television producers we have.” industry”

Here are Burnett and Hopkins’ full notes:

dear colleagues,

We have worked together for a long time, decades in some cases. We have created new shows and maintained our legacy with one of the highest renewal rates in international television. I get a lot of credit for that. But we all know it’s not about me. It’s about all of you.

It takes a talented team of people to produce more than 3,200 television shows, including long-running hits like Survivor, The Voice and Shark Tank, and The Bible.

In the year In 2014, I sold most of my holdings to MGM and came to this storied, 100-year-old studio as president of television. I later sold the rest of my holdings to MGM stock and became chairman of MGM Global Television because I believed in the value of MGM.

I had a clear strategic vision to build and grow MGM’s television division with my dynamic team, including acquiring major companies like Evolution and Big Fish, adding international scripted and unscripted teams, and launching a documentary division. We took moderate risks and hired great people – and the business grew.

That growth was critical to MGM’s future because MGM needed to increase its value to attract a global streaming partner and be ready for the next 100 years. In the year I am proud to be part of the team that achieved historic sales for Amazon in 2022.

Now, after months of collaborative transition efforts, we’ve reorganized our teams so everyone has the opportunity to thrive under the leadership of Mac Hopkins, Jennifer Salke, and Christopher Brereton. I’m proud to say that in this media layoff, everyone in the television department has been given a way to contribute. No one was left behind.

As I step away from day-to-day management and return to personal creativity and innovation, I will continue to oversee my legacy series and be available for guidance and support to all of you and Amazon.

Thank You Team – I literally could not have done this without each and every one of you.

Mark Burnett

Here is Hopkins’ note:

hi team –

As you may have read, Mark Burnett has decided to leave Amazon and MGM to pursue a career as an independent creator and producer. I would like to follow up by thanking him for his countless contributions to our success and, on a personal level, for his partnership and advice throughout the merger. I know you will all agree that he is one of the most creative, innovative and talented television producers in our industry and we are very lucky to have him on our team.

Mark’s stepping aside raises both possibilities and questions about how we will organize ourselves in the future. You will hear more about this soon.

As a fully integrated team, I am incredibly proud of the television and film content we will produce as we continue to build on this legacy, and I look forward to 2023 and beyond. Thank you for all your commitment and dedication as we move forward together into a dynamic and successful future.


(Image: Mark Burnett and Christopher Breton)

Category: tv

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